Samuel Johnson

English writer and lexicographer (1709-1784)

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We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.
Being in a ship is like being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
Men are wise in proportion not to their experience but to their capacity for experience.
Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.
The true, strong, and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small.
If you are idle, be not solitary if you are solitary be not idle.
There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
An intellectual improvement arises from leisure.
A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out.
A cucumber whould be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and viniger, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.
A fishing rod is a stick with a hook at one end and a fool at the other.
A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.
A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.
A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.
A man ought to read just as inclination leads him for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
Abstinence is as easy to me, as temperance would be difficult.
Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Always set high value on spontaneous kindness. He whose inclination prompts him to cultivate your friendship of his own accord will love you more than one whom you have been at pains to attach to you.
Americans are a race of convicts and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.
An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
As gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
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.
Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality they discourse like angels, but they live like men.
Books that you carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are most useful after all.
Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world.
Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
Do not ... hope wholly to reason away your troubles do not feed them with attention, and they will die imperceptibly away. Fix your thoughts upon your business, fill your intervals with company, and sunshine will again break in upon your mind.
Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.
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 to the present moment.
Don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire. 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.
ESSAY -- A loose sally of the mind an irregular indigested piece not a regular and orderly composition.
Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.
Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are almost always cunning.
Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.
Few things are impossible to diligence and skill.
Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
Golf is a game in which you claim the privileges of age, and retain the playthings of childhood.
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
Grief is a species of idleness.
He is a benefactor of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and so recur habitually to the mind.
He that fails in his endeavors after wealth or power will not long retain either honesty or courage.
He who praises everybody, praises nobody.
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.
Hope is necessary in every condition.
Hope itself is a species of happiness, and perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.
I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations.
I hate mankind, for I think myself to be one of them, and I know how bad I am.
I hate mankind, for I think of myself as one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.
I have found you an argument: but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
I live in the crowds of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.
I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.
I would rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.
If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.
If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone.
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.
If you are idle, be not solitary. If you are solitary, be not idle.
If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.
If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.
It is better to live rich than to die rich.
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.
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.
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.
Language is the dress of thought.
Learn that the present hour alone is man's.
Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions.
Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.
Nature makes us poor only when we want necessaries, but custom gives the name of poverty to the want of superfluities.
No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
No man is a hypocrite in his pleasures.
No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, nor more wise when he had.
No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.
No mind is much employed upon the present recollection and anticipation fill up almost all our moments.
No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.
Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable.
Of all the griefs that harass the distrest, Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest.
Of all the griefs that harass the distrest,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest.
Old age is not a disease- it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.
Our aspirations are our possibilities.
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Players, Sir! I look on them as no better than creatures set upon tables and joint stools to make faces and produce laughter, like dancing dogs.
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.
Round numbers are always false.
Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say.
Sir, he throws away his money without thought and without merit. I do not call a tree generous that sheds its fruit at every breeze.
Such is the common process of marriage. A youth and maiden exchange meeting by chance, or brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home, and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention, or diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty.
That fellow seems to posses but one idea and that is the wrong one.
The Irish are a fair people - they never speak well of one another
The Irish are a fair people - they never speak well of one another.
The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things--the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
The world is not yet exhaused let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.
The world is not yet exhaused; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.
There are few minds to which tyranny is not delightful.
There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified and new prejudices to be opposed.
There is no observation more frequently made by such as employ themselves in surveying the conduct of mankind, than that marriage, though the dictate of nature, and the institution of Providence, is yet very often the cause of misery, and that those who enter into that state can seldom forbear to express their repentance, and their envy of those whom either chance or caution hath withheld from it.
There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.
To get a name can happen but to few; it is one of the few things that cannot be brought. It is the free gift of mankind, which must be deserved before it will be granted, and is at last unwillingly bestowed.
To hear complaints with patience, even when complaints are vain, is one of the duties of friendship.
To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity.
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
What we hope ever to do with ease we may learn first to do with diligence.
When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
When I was as you are now, towering in the confidence of twenty-one, little did I suspect that I should be at forty-nine, what I now am.
When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live.
When once a man has made celebrity necessary to his happiness, he has put it in the power of the weakest and most timorous malignity, if not to take away his satisfaction, at least to withhold it. His enemies may indulge their pride by airy negligence and gratify their malice by quiet neutrality.
When once a man has made celebrity necessary to his happiness, he has put it in the power of the weakest and most timourous malignity, if not to take away his satisfaction, at least to withhold it. His enemies may indulge their pride by airy negligence a
While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.
Wine makes a man more pleased with himself I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
You must have taken great pains, sir; you could not naturally been so very stupid.
You raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument.
You teach your daugthers the diameters of the planets and wonder when you are done that they do not delight in your company.
Your aspirations are your possibilities.
Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.

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