Samuel Johnson Quotes

If I have said something to hurt a man once, I shall not get the better of this by saying many things to please him.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, Sept. 15, 1777 (1791).
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Turn on the prudent ant thy heedful eyes, Observe her labours, sluggard, and be wise.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. The Ant, opening lines. Based on a passage in the Hebrew Bible: Proverbs 6:6: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."
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I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Dictionary of the English Language, preface (1755).
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Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 10, 1776 (1791).
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Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. The astronomer, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 41 (1759).
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Forgetfulness is necessary to remembrance. Ideas are retained by renovation of that impression which time is always wearing away, and which new images are striving to obliterate. If useless thoughts could be expelled from the mind, all the valuable parts of our knowledge would more frequently recur, and every recurrence would reinstate them in their former place.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Idler, no. 72 (September 1, 1759).
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Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 11, 1784 (1791).
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I am not able to instruct you. I can only tell that I have chosen wrong. I have passed my time in study without experience; in the attainment of sciences which can, for the most part, be but remotely useful to mankind. I have purchased knowledge at the expense of all the common comforts of life: I have missed the endearing elegance of female friendship, and the happy commerce of domestic tenderness.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. The astronomer, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 46 (1759).
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To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches, and therefore every man endeavours with his utmost care to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself.
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). Idler (London, Aug. 5, 1758), no. 17.
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A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1 (1934). Note to entry for March 20, 1776.
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