Samuel Johnson Quotes

"My dear Sir, you don't call Rousseau bad company. Do you really think him a bad man?..." JOHNSON. "... I think him one of the worst of men; a rascal who ought to be hunted out of society, as he has been...." BOSWELL. "I don't deny, Sir, but that his novel may, perhaps, do harm; but I cannot think his intention was bad." JOHNSON. "Sir, that will not do. We cannot prove any man's intention to be bad. You may shoot a man through the head, and say you intended to miss him; but the Judge will order you to be hanged."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, February 15, 1766, p. 359, Oxford University Press (1980).
(0) (0)
I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, Nov. 1784 (1791).
(0) (0)
Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in William Cooke, Life of Samuel Foote, vol. 2, repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, vol. 2, p. 393, ed. George Birkbeck Hill (1897).
(0) (0)
He had long before indulged most unfavourable sentiments of our fellow-subjects in America. For, as early as 1769,... he had said of them, "Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for any thing we allow them short of hanging."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, 1775, p. 590, Oxford University Press (1980).
(0) (0)
Norway, too, has noble prospects; and Lapland is remarkable for prodigious noble wild prospects. But, Sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England!
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, July 6, 1763 (1791).
(0) (0)
Every other enjoyment malice may destroy; every other panegyric envy may withhold; but no human power can deprive the boaster of his own encomiums.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 5, eds. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969). Rambler, no. 193 (Jan. 21, 1752).
(0) (0)
Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expense. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, July 21, 1763, p. 314, Oxford University Press (1980). Samuel Johnson criticizing the radical thinkers of his day.
(0) (0)
Life admits not of delays; when pleasure can be had, it is fit to catch it: every hour takes away part of the things that please us, and perhaps part of our disposition to be pleased.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. letter, Sept. 1, 1777, to Boswell. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson (1791).
(0) (0)
The highest panegyric, therefore, that private virtue can receive, is the praise of servants.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Rambler, no. 68 (London, Nov. 10, 1750). repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3, eds. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969).
(0) (0)
On his favourite subject of subordination, Johnson said, "So far is it from being true that men are naturally equal, that no two people can be half an hour together, but one shall acquire an evident superiority over the other."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, February 15, 1766, p. 360, Oxford University Press (1980).
(0) (0)