Samuel Johnson Quotes

Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull everywhere. He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him great.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Entry March 28, 1775. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). On poet Thomas Gray.
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Life must be filled up, and the man who is not capable of intellectual pleasures must content himself with such as his senses can afford.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, p. 251 (1897). Quoted in Hester Piozzi, Anecdotes of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1 (1786).
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While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 10, 1776 (1791).
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He that fails in his endeavours after wealth or power will not long retain either honesty or courage.
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). Adventurer, no. 99 (October 16, 1753).
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Do not discourage your children from hoarding, if they have a taste to it; whoever lays up his penny rather than part with it for a cake, at least is not the slave of gross appetite; and shows besides a preference always to be esteemed, of the future to the present moment.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, vol. 1, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, pp. 251-2 (1891). Quoted in Hester Piozzi, Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786).
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Painting consumes labour not disproportionate to its effect; but a fellow will hack half a year at a block of marble to make something in stone that hardly resembles a man. The value of statuary is owing to its difficulty. You would not value the finest head cut upon a carrot.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, March 19, 1776 (1791).
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Piety practised in solitude, like the flower that blooms in the desert, may give its fragrance to the winds of heaven, and delight those unbodied spirits that survey the works of God and the actions of men; but it bestows no assistance upon earthly beings, and however free from taints of impurity, yet wants the sacred splendour of beneficence.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in The Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt, and L.F. Powell (1963). Adventurer (London, January 19, 1754), no. 126.
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Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favourable to virtue.... Remember that the solitary mortal is certainly luxurious, probably superstitious, and possibly mad.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, vol. 1, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, p. 219 (1891). Quoted in Hester Piozzi, Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786).
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As to the rout that is made about people who are ruined by extravagance, it is no matter to the nation that some individuals suffer. When so much general productive exertion is the consequence of luxury, the nation does not care though there are debtors in gaol; nay, they would not care though their creditors were there too.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, May 1776 entry (1791).
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Composition is, for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in The Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L.F. Powell (1963). Adventurer (London, March 2, 1754), no. 138.
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