Samuel Johnson Quotes

Attention and respect give pleasure, however late, or however useless. But they are not useless, when they are late, it is reasonable to rejoice, as the day declines, to find that it has been spent with the approbation of mankind.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. letter, Dec. 31, 1783, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3, no. 922, ed. R.W. Chapman (1952).
There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, July 14, 1763 (1791). Johnson was replying to Boswell's fear that, should he keep a journal (as Johnson proposed), he would put into it too many little incidents.
The return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. letter, Sept. 21, 1773, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1, no. 326, ed. R.W. Chapman (1952). Johnson added, "I can now look back upon threescore and four years, in which little has been done, and little has been enjoyed, a life diversified by misery, spent part in the sluggishness of penury, and part under the violence of pain, in gloomy discontent, or importunate distress."
Subordination tends greatly to human happiness. Were we all upon an equality, we should have no other enjoyment than mere animal pleasure.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
The wretched have no compassion, they can do good only from strong principles of duty.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, April 14, 1781, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, no. 724, ed. R.W. Chapman (1952).
Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, March 21, 1776 (1791).
His scorn of the great is repeated too often to be real; no man thinks much of that which he despises.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. "Pope," Lives of the English Poets (1779-1781). Referring to Alexander Pope.
There are some sluggish men who are improved by drinking; as there are fruits that are not good until they are rotten.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 12, 1776, entry (1791).
Slow rises worth, by poverty depressed:
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British writer. Poverty in London (l. 177). . . Oxford Book of English Verse. Sir Arthur Quille, ed. (1948) Oxford University Press.
Politics are now nothing more than means of rising in the world. With this sole view do men engage in politics, and their whole conduct proceeds upon it.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 17, 1775 entry (1791).