James Boswell

[9th Laird of Auchinleck] (1740-1795 / Edinburgh)

James Boswell Quotes

  • ''You played a party with a prince and Miss de Zuylen. You was shocked, or rather offended, with her unlimited vivacity.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell in Holland, November 28, 1763, p. 74, McGraw-Hill Book Co. (1952). Boswell's early impression of his "Zélide," a possible marriage prospect, at cards; she later became a novelist under her married name, Isabelle de Charrière.
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  • ''You did charmingly yesterday. You attended well to everything.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell in Holland, October 28, 1763, p. 55, McGraw-Hill Book Co. (1952). Boswell's self-examination, repeated periodically in his diary.
  • ''Here now do I find myself in the very sphere of magnificence. I live with princes, and a court is my home.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland, journal, June 28, 1764, p. 16, McGraw-Hill (1953). Written at the ducal court of Brunswick.
  • ''I then went to the Parade. I saw the King. It was a glorious sight.... As a loadstone moves needles, or a storm bows the lofty oaks, did Frederick the Great make the Prussian officers submissive bend as he walked majestic in the midst of them.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland, journal, July 13, 1764, p. 24, McGraw-Hill (1953).
  • ''Yesterday morning had gone to bed very early, and had done it once: thirteen in all. Was really affectionate to her.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell on the Grand Tour: Italy, Corsica, and France, journal, February 12, 1766, p. 279, McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, Inc. (1955). Sole evidence that Boswell had an affair with Thérèse Levasseur, Rousseau's mistress, on his return journey from France.
  • ''We must take our friends as they are.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell The Great Biographer, journal, February 25, 1791, p. 18, McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, Inc. (1989).
  • ''[I] delivered the Introduction of it to Baldwin, that I might say my book was at if not in the press on New Year's Day.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Boswell The Great Biographer, January 1, 1790, Oxford University Press (1980). Comment on bringing part of his Life of Johnson to his printer.
  • ''O charitable philosopher, I beg you to help me. My mind is weak but my soul is strong. Kindle that soul, and the sacred fire shall never be extinguished.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Trans. from French. James Boswell: The Earlier Years, "Sketch of the Early Life of James Boswell," p. 6, Frederick A. Pottle, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. (1966). end of his appeal to Rousseau, written Dec. 5, 1764.
  • ''Hume, and other skeptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expense. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, Sir, is a cow that will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish writer. Johnson, in Life of Johnson.
  • ''I make it a kind of pious rule to go to every funeral to which I am invited, both as I wish to pay a proper respect to the dead, unless their characters have been bad, and as I would wish to have the funeral of my own near relations or of myself well attended.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Laird of Auchinleck, journal, February 1, 1779, p. 46, McGraw-Hill (1977).

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