Samuel Johnson Quotes

Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, February 7, 1755, to his patron Lord Chesterfield. James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
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No government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it.... There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, Mar. 31, 1772 (1791).
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He that travels in theory has no inconveniences; he has shade and sunshine at his disposal, and wherever he alights finds tables of plenty and looks of gaiety. These ideas are indulged till the day of departure arrives, the chaise is called, and the progress of happiness begins. A few miles teach him the fallacies of imagination. The road is dusty, the air is sultry, the horses are sluggish, and the postilion brutal. He longs for the time of dinner that he may eat and rest. The inn is crowded, his orders are neglected, and nothing remains but that he devour in haste what the cook has spoiled, and drive on in quest of better entertainment. He finds at night a more commodious house, but the best is always worse than he expected.
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). The Idler, no. 58, Universal Chronicle (London, May 26, 1759).
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At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 9, ed. Mary Lascelles (1971). Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, "Col," (1775).
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The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 6, 1775 (1791).
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In a time of war the nation is always of one mind, eager to hear something good of themselves and ill of the enemy. At this time the task of news-writers is easy, they have nothing to do but to tell that a battle is expected, and afterwards that a battle has been fought, in which we and our friends, whether conquering or conquered, did all, and our enemies did nothing.
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). The Idler, no. 30, Universal Chronicle (London, Nov. 11, 1758).
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Life of Ages, richly poured, Love of God unspent and free, Flowing in the Prophet's word And the People's liberty! Never was to chosen race That unstinted tide confined; Thine is every time and place, Fountain sweet of heart and mind!
Samuel Johnson (1822-1882), U.S. hymn writer, pastor. Life of Ages, Richly Poured (l. 1-8). . . World's Great Religious Poetry, The. Caroline Miles Hill, ed. (1954) The Macmillan Company.
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Wine makes a man better pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.... This is one of the disadvantages of wine, it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 28, 1778 (1791).
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As peace is the end of war, so to be idle is the ultimate purpose of the busy.
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). The Idler, no. 1, Universal Chronicle (London, April 15, 1758). "Perhaps man," Johnson wrote, "is the only being that can properly be called idle."
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This mournful truth is ev'rywhere confessed, Slow rises worth by poverty depressed.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 6, eds. E.L. McAdam, Jr. and G. Milne (1964). London, l. 176-7 (1738).
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