Samuel Johnson Quotes

Samuel Johnson, 1709 – 1784

Born: 18 September 1709, Lichfield, England
Died: 14 December 1784, London, England

Johnson was given over to a wet nurse with tuberculosis shortly after birth and was infected through her milk, losing most of his eyesight and the hearing in one ear as a result. In fact, he was rarely physically healthy and suffered with depression throughout his life. He used his time at home to read volumes from his father’s book store. As parlor entertainment his mother had him memorize and recite passages from the Book of Common Prayer at three years. He attended Litchfield Grammar School, where he excelled in Latin but first exhibited the tics that some now believe to have been Tourette syndrome. At several times during his youth, Johnson boarded with teachers, he not only regularly attended school but was routinely tutored outside his school work. A small inheritance allowed the family to send him to Pembroke College, Oxford, but only for one year. He taught school briefly, but opportunities were limited without a degree. At age 25 Johnson married a wealthy widow, 21 years his senior. Unable to be employed as a teacher, he used a good portion of his wife’s assets to start a school of his own, when it failed he devoted himself to writing. In 1756 a group of publishers engaged Johnson to create an authoritative English dictionary which took him a decade. It was the best regarded, and most copied, dictionary of 150 years, until the Oxford dictionary was released in 1928. It also inspired Oxford to give him an honorary Masters degree. (He later received honorary doctoral degrees from Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin.) He wrote many essays and published magazines, his next major project was editing the complete works of Shakespeare. He finally was relieved of constant financial problems (he was arrested for debts on three occasions) when King George III granted him a pension in recognition of the value of the dictionary. Due to his keen insight, great command of language, and the sheer bulk of his work, Johnson is believed to be the second most quoted author in the English language.

Samuel Johnson quotes:

A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden.

Samuel Johnson
A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.

Samuel Johnson
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.

Samuel Johnson
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

on critics and authors, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
A generous and elevated mind is distinguished by nothing more certainly than an eminent degree of curiosity.

Samuel Johnson
A hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.

Samuel Johnson

describing himself in The Literary Magazine, Vol. II, No. XIII (1757)
A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek.

Samuel Johnson
A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.

Samuel Johnson
A man may be so much of every thing, that he is nothing of any thing.

Samuel Johnson
A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.

Samuel Johnson
A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.

Samuel Johnson
A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.

Samuel Johnson
A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority.

Samuel Johnson
A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.

Samuel Johnson
A transition from an author’s book to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city, after distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence; but, when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions and clouded with smoke.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (5 May 1784)

A transition from an author’s book to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (5 May 1784)
A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.

Samuel Johnson
Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.

Samuel Johnson
Actions are visible, though motives are secret.

Samuel Johnson
Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.

Samuel Johnson
Adversity leads us to think properly of our state, and so is most beneficial to us.

Samuel Johnson
All censure of a man’s self is oblique praise. It is in order to shew how much he can spare.

Samuel Johnson
All the arguments which are brought to represent poverty as no evil show it evidently to be a great evil.

Samuel Johnson
All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals. If a man was to compare the effect of a single stroke of the pick-ax or of one impression of the spade with the general design and last result, he would be overwhelmed by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations, incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and mountains are levelled, and oceans bounded, by the slender force of human beings.

Samuel Johnson
All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance; it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals.

Samuel Johnson
All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.

Samuel Johnson
All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.

Samuel Johnson
Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?

Samuel Johnson
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.

Samuel Johnson
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.

Samuel Johnson

Among other pleasing errors of young minds is the opinion of their own importance. He that has not yet remarked, how little attention his contemporaries can spare from themselves, conceives all eyes turned upon himself, and imagines everyone that approaches him to be an enemy or a follower, an admirer or a spy.

Samuel Johnson
An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.

Samuel Johnson
An intellectual improvement arises from leisure.

Samuel Johnson
Any of us would kill a cow rather than not have beef.

Samuel Johnson
As gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.

Samuel Johnson
As I know more of mankind, I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man, upon easier terms than I was formerly.

Samuel Johnson
As it is necessary not to invite robbery by supineness, so it is our duty not to suppress tenderness by suspicion; it is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

Samuel Johnson
Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels but they live like men.

Samuel Johnson
Before dinner men meet with great inequality of understanding.

Samuel Johnson
Being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned.

Samuel Johnson

remark on 16 March 1759, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.

Samuel Johnson
But it is evident, that these bursts of universal distress are more dreaded than felt; thousands and ten thousands flourish in youth, and wither in age, without the knowledge of any other than domestic evils, and share the same pleasures and vexations, whether their kings are mild or cruel, whether the armies of their country pursue their enemies or retreat before them.

Samuel Johnson
But, perhaps, the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in few words.

Samuel Johnson
Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.

Samuel Johnson

quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Club: An assembly of good fellows, meeting under certain conditions.

Samuel Johnson

Come, let me know what it is that makes a Scotchman happy!

Samuel Johnson
Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.

Samuel Johnson

remark on 11 June 1784, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense.

Samuel Johnson
Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.

Samuel Johnson
Curiosity is the thirst of the soul; it inflames and torments us, and makes us taste every thing with joy, however otherwise insipid, by which it may be quenched.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (12 March 1751)
Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.

Samuel Johnson
Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

Samuel Johnson
Despair is criminal.

Samuel Johnson
Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.

Samuel Johnson

letter to Francesco Sastres (21 August 1784)
Discord generally operates in little things; it is inflamed … by contrariety of taste oftener than principles.

Samuel Johnson
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (1 September 1750)
Do not discourage your children from hoarding, if they have a taste to it; whoever lays up his penny rather than part with it for a cake, at least is not the slave of gross appetite; and shows besides a preference always to be esteemed, of the future.

Samuel Johnson
Ease, a neutral state between pain and pleasure … if it is not rising into pleasure will be falling towards pain.

Samuel Johnson
Essay: A loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular and orderly composition.

Samuel Johnson

A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

Samuel Johnson

Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments; any enlargement of wishes is therefore equally destructive to happiness with the diminution of possession, and he that teaches another to long for what he never shall obtain is no less an enemy to his quiet than if he had robbed him of part of his patrimony.

Samuel Johnson
Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.

Samuel Johnson
Every man who attacks my belief diminishes in some degree my confidence in it, and therefore makes me uneasy; and I am angry with him who makes me uneasy.

Samuel Johnson
Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are almost always cunning.

Samuel Johnson
Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.

Samuel Johnson
Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be. Men always take the best they can get.

Samuel Johnson
Everybody loves to have things which please the palate put in their way, without trouble or preparation.

Samuel Johnson

quoted by James Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Example is always more efficacious than precept.

Samuel Johnson
Excise: A hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.

Samuel Johnson

A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
Expectation improperly indulged in must end in disappointment.

Samuel Johnson

letter of 8 June 1762, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Extended empires are like expanded gold, exchanging solid strength for feeble splendor.

Samuel Johnson
Fear is implanted in us as a preservative from evil; but its duty, like that of other passions, is not to overbear reason, but to assist it. It should not be suffered to tyrannize in the imagination, to raise phantoms of horror, or to beset life with supernumerary distresses.

Samuel Johnson
Few things are impossible to diligence and skill.

Samuel Johnson
Friendship may well deserve the sacrifice of pleasure, though not of conscience.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (27 October 1750)
Frugality may be termed the daughter of Prudence, the sister of Temperance and the parent of Liberty.

Samuel Johnson

Gaming is a mode of transferring property without producing any intermediate good.

Samuel Johnson

remark on 6 April 1772, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.

Samuel Johnson

remark on 14 September 1773, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1785)
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance. Yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigor three hours a day will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe.

Samuel Johnson
He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.

Samuel Johnson
He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.

Samuel Johnson
He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity.

Samuel Johnson
He must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legislator of mankind, and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations.

Samuel Johnson

on poets in History of Rasselas (1759)
He that embarks in the voyage of life will always wish to advance rather by the impulse of the wind than the strokes of the oar; and many founder in their passage, while they lie waiting for the gale.

Samuel Johnson
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. 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
He that tries to recommend (Shakespeare) by select quotations, will succeed like the pedant in “Hierocles”, who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen.

Samuel Johnson
He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.

Samuel Johnson
He that would pass the latter part of life with honour and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old; and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.

Samuel Johnson
He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.

Samuel Johnson
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

Samuel Johnson
He who praises everybody, praises nobody.

Samuel Johnson

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything. Life is made up of little things. True greatness consists in being great in little things.

Samuel Johnson
High people, Sir, are the best: Take a hundred ladies of quality, you’ll find them better wives, better mothers, more willing to sacrifice their own pleasures to their children, than a hundred other women.

Samuel Johnson
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.

Samuel Johnson

letter of 8 June 1762, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords. But, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectation improperly indulged in must end in disappointment.

Samuel Johnson

letter of 8 June 1762, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, sickness, of captivity, would, without this comfort, be unsupportable.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (6 November 1750)
How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?

Samuel Johnson
How small of all that human hearts endure
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
Still to ourselves in every place ensigned
Our own felicity we make or find.

Samuel Johnson
Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed.

Samuel Johnson
Hunger is never delicate.

Samuel Johnson
I am a great friend of public amusements, they keep people from vice.

Samuel Johnson
I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations.

Samuel Johnson

1773 remark, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.

Samuel Johnson
I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made.

Samuel Johnson
I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drives into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl. Let him come out as I do, and bark.

Samuel Johnson
I have, all my life long, been lying till noon; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good.

Samuel Johnson

I live in the crowds of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.

Samuel Johnson
I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.

Samuel Johnson
I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.

Samuel Johnson
I remember very well, when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman said to me, “Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come upon you, you will find that poring upon books will be but an irksome task.”

Samuel Johnson
I would injure no man, and should provoke no resentment. I would relieve every distress, and should enjoy the benedictions of gratitude. I would choose my friends among the wise and my wife among the virtuous, and therefore should be in no danger from treachery or unkindness. My children should by my care be learned and pious, and would repay to my age what their childhood had received.

Samuel Johnson
I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.

Samuel Johnson
If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in a constant repair.

Samuel Johnson

April 1775 remark, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
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
If lawyers were to undertake no causes till they were sure they were just, a man might be precluded altogether from a trial of his claim, though, were it judicially examined, it might be found a very just claim.

Samuel Johnson
If the abuse be enormous, nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.

Samuel Johnson
If useless thoughts could be expelled from the mind, all the valuable parts of our knowledge would more frequently recur.

Samuel Johnson

The Idler (1 September 1759)
If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.

Samuel Johnson
Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal. And he may properly be charged with evil, who refused to learn how he might prevent it.

Samuel Johnson

The History of Rasselas (1759)
Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal.

Samuel Johnson

The History of Rasselas (1759)
In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness.

Samuel Johnson

“The Bravery of the English Common Soldier” in The British Magazine (1760)

In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.

Samuel Johnson
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

Samuel Johnson

The History of Rasselas (1759)
It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.

Samuel Johnson
It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck only at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.

Samuel Johnson

1773 remark, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
It is advantageous to an author, that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.

Samuel Johnson

1773 remark, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
It is always observable that silence propagates itself, and that the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find any thing to say.

Samuel Johnson
It is better to live rich, than to die rich.

Samuel Johnson
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (18 December 1750)
It is commonly observed, that when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather; they are in haste to tell each other, what each must already know, that it is hot or cold, bright or cloudy, windy or calm.

Samuel Johnson
It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.

Samuel Johnson
It is reasonable to have perfection in our eye that we may always advance toward it, though we know it can never be reached.

Samuel Johnson
It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have any thing else to amuse them.

Samuel Johnson
It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.

Samuel Johnson
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.

Samuel Johnson
It may be observed in general that the future is purchased by the present. It is not possible to secure distant or permanent happiness but by the forbearance of some immediate gratification. This is so evidently true with regard to the whole of our existence that all precepts of theology have no other tendency than to enforce a life of faith; a life regulated not by our senses but by our belief; a life in which pleasures are to be refused for fear of invisible punishments, and calamities sometimes to be sought, and always endured, in hope of rewards that shall be obtained in another state.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler #178 (30 November 1751)

It was the peculiar artifice of Habit not to suffer her power to be felt at first. She was continually doubling her chains upon her companions; which were so slender in themselves, and so silently fastened…they were not easily perceived. Each link grew tighter as it had been longer worn; and when, by continual additions, they became so heavy as to be felt, they were very frequently too strong to be broken.

Samuel Johnson

The Vision of Theodore: Hermit of Teneriffe (1748)
It would add much to human happiness, if an art could be taught of forgetting all of which the remembrance is at once useless and afflictive.

Samuel Johnson

The Idler (1 September 1759)
Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (10 September 1751)
Keeping accounts, Sir, is of no use when a man is spending his own money, and has nobody to whom he is to account. You won’t eat less beef today, because you have written down what it cost yesterday.

Samuel Johnson
Kindness, at least actual, is in our power, but fondness is not.

Samuel Johnson

letter to James Boswell (7 September 1782), quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Kindness, at least actual, is in our power, but fondness is not. If by negligence or imprudence you had extinguished his fondness, he could not at will rekindle it. Nothing then remained between you but mutual forgiveness of each other’s faults, and mutual desire of each other’s happiness.

Samuel Johnson

letter to James Boswell (7 September 1782), quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Knowledge is more than equivalent to force. The master of mechanicks laughs at strength.

Samuel Johnson

The History of Rasselas (1759)
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

Samuel Johnson
Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.

Samuel Johnson
Language is the dress of thought.

Samuel Johnson

“Cowley” in Lives of the English Poets (1779–81)
Learn that the present hour alone is man’s.

Samuel Johnson
Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge.

Samuel Johnson
Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified.

Samuel Johnson
Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding.

Samuel Johnson

quoted by Hester Lynch Piozzi in Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786)
Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.

Samuel Johnson

Luncheon: as much food as one’s hand can hold.

Samuel Johnson
Many need no other provocation to enmity than that they find themselves excelled.

Samuel Johnson
Many things difficult to design prove easy to perform.

Samuel Johnson
Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.

Samuel Johnson
Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.

Samuel Johnson
Merit rather enforces respect than attracts fondness.

Samuel Johnson
Merriment is always the effect of a sudden impression. The jest which is expected is already destroyed.

Samuel Johnson
Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice.

Samuel Johnson
Nay, Madam, when you are declaiming, declaim; and when you are calculating, calculate.

Samuel Johnson
Network: Any thing reticulated or decussated, at equal distances, with interstices between the intersections.

Samuel Johnson
No estimate is more in danger of erroneous calculations than those by which a man computes the force of his own genius.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (1750–52)
No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.

Samuel Johnson
No man is much pleased with a companion, who does not increase, in some respect, his fondness for himself.

Samuel Johnson
No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned … A man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.

Samuel Johnson
No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.

Samuel Johnson

No mind is much employed upon the present: Recollection and anticipation fill up almost all our moments.

Samuel Johnson
No one is much pleased with a companion who does not increase, in some respect, their fondness for themselves.

Samuel Johnson
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.

Samuel Johnson
No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.

Samuel Johnson

The Rambler (23 March 1751)
Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.

Samuel Johnson
Oats: A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.

Samuel Johnson
Old age is not a disease – it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.

Samuel Johnson
One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.

Samuel Johnson
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Samuel Johnson

remark on 7 April 1775, quoted by Boswell in Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1791)
Patron: One who countenances, supports or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is repaid in flattery.

Samuel Johnson
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.

Samuel Johnson
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. The flowers which scatter their odours from time to time in the paths of life, grow up without culture from seeds scattered by chance.

Samuel Johnson

The Idler (26 May 1759)
Pleasure of itself is not a vice.

Samuel Johnson
Poetry, indeed, cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve the languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language.

Samuel Johnson
Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.

Samuel Johnson

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