Samuel Johnson Quotes

Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, June 8, 1762. Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
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No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.... A man in a jail has more room, better food and commonly better company.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, March 16, 1759 (1791). On another occasion, when told, "We find people fond of being sailors," Johnson replied, "I cannot account for that, any more than I can account for other strange perversions of imagination." (April 10, 1778).
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As the Spanish proverb says, "He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him." So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 17, 1778 (1791).
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Johnson did not answer ...; but talking for victory and determined to be master of the field, he had recourse to the device which Goldsmith imputed to him in the witty words of one of Cibber's comedies. "There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, Oct. 26, 1769, p. 421, Oxford University Press (1980).
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Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. letter, Dec. 7, 1782, to Boswell. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson (1791).
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Sir, he throws away his money without thought and without merit. I do not call a tree generous that sheds its fruit at every breeze.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Tour of the Hebrides (1785). Referring to English sailors.
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I suggested a doubt, that if I were to reside in London, the exquisite zest with which I relished it in occasional visits might go off, and I might grow tired of it. JOHNSON. " ... No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, September 20, 1777, p. 859, Oxford University Press (1980).
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Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 2, 1775 (1791).
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I am sorry I have not learnt to play at cards. It is very useful in life: it generates kindness, and consolidates society.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Tour of the Hebrides, Nov. 21, 1773 entry (1785). Boswell noted that Johnson's remark would be "a valuable text for many decent old dowagers, and other good company, in various circles, to descant upon."
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BOSWELL. But what do you think of supporting a cause which you know to be bad? JOHNSON. "Sir, you do not know it to be good or bad till the Judge determines it.... It is his business to judge; and you are not to be confident in your own opinion that the cause is bad, but to say all you can for your client, and then hear the Judge's opinion.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, Spring 1768, Oxford University Press (1980).
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