Samuel Johnson Quotes

I will be conquered; I will not capitulate.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, Nov. 1784 (1791). In his last illness.
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Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Rambler, no. 48 (London, Sept. 1, 1750).
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We talked of the education of children; and I asked him what he thought was best to teach them first. JOHNSON. "Sir, it is no matter what you teach them first, any more than what leg you shall put into your breeches first. Sir, you may stand disputing which is best to put in first, but in the mean time your breech is bare. Sir, while you are considering which of two things you should teach your child first, another boy has learnt them both.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, July 26, 1763, p. 319, Oxford University Press (1980).
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Worth seeing? Yes; but not worth going to see.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, Oct. 12, 1779 (1791). To Boswell's question, "Is not the Giant's Causeway worth seeing?"
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The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Rambler, no. 13.
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We stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I shall never forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, "I refute it thus."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, Aug. 6, 1763, p. 333, Oxford University Press (1980).
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Their learning is like bread in a besieged town: every man gets a little, but no man gets a full meal.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 18, 1775 (1791). Referring to the Scots.
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In science, which, being fixed and limited, admits of no other variety than such as arises from new methods of distribution, or new arts of illustration, the necessity of following the traces of our predecessors is indisputably evident; but there appears no reason why imagination should be subject to the same restraint.... The roads of science are narrow, so that they who travel them, must either follow or meet one another; but in the boundless regions of possibility, which fiction claims for her dominion, there are surely a thousand recesses unexplored, a thousand flowers unplucked, a thousand fountains unexhausted, combinations of imagery yet unobserved, and races of ideal inhabitants not hitherto described.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Rambler, no. 121 (1751).
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I told him that Goldsmith had said,... "As I take my shoes from the shoemaker, and my coat from the taylor, so I take my religion from the priest." I regretted this loose way of talking. JOHNSON. Sir, he knows nothing; he has made up his mind about nothing."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, April 11, 1773, p. 511, Oxford University Press (1980).
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This merriment of parsons is mighty offensive.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, March 1781 (1791).
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