Samuel Johnson Quotes

Parents and children seldom act in concert: each child endeavours to appropriate the esteem or fondness of the parents, and the parents, with yet less temptation, betray each other to their children.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Nekayah, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 26 (1759).
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There are innumerable questions to which the inquisitive mind can in this state receive no answer: Why do you and I exist? Why was this world created? Since it was to be created, why was it not created sooner?
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, May 9, 1778 entry (1791).
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The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly increased by causes too slender for complaint, and too numerous for removal.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L.F. Powell (1963). The Idler, no. 23, Universal Chronicle (London, Sept. 23, 1758).
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Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Nekayah, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 47 (1759).
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I would not give half a guinea to live under one form of government rather than another. It is of no moment to the happiness of an individual.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, March 31, 1772 (1791).
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It is easy to talk of sitting at home contented, when others are seeing or making shows. But not to have been where it is supposed, and seldom supposed falsely, that all would go if they could; to be able to say nothing when everyone is talking; to have no opinion when everyone is judging; to hear exclamations of rapture without power to depress; to listen to falsehoods without right to contradict, is, after all, a state of temporary inferiority, in which the mind is rather hardened by stubbornness, than supported by fortitude. If the world be worth winning let us enjoy it, if it is to be despised let us despise it by conviction. But the world is not to be despised but as it is compared with something better.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, June 21, 1775, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, no. 409, ed. R.W. Chapman (1952).
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In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., vol. 10, ed. Sir John Hawkins (1787) and Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 10. "On the Bravery of the English Common Soldier," The British Magazine (Jan. 1760).
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A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. He'll beat you all at piety.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 10, 1784 entry (1791).
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Disappointment, when it involves neither shame nor loss, is as good as success; for it supplies as many images to the mind, and as many topics to the tongue.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, June 26, 1775, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, no. 411, ed. R. W. Chapman (1952).
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Then with no fiery throbbing pain, No cold gradations of decay, Death broke at once the vital chain, And freed his soul the nearest way.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British writer. On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet, a Practiser in Physic (l. 33-36). . . The Complete English Poems [Samuel Johnson]. J. D. Fleeman, ed. (1971) Penguin Books.
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