Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784 / Lichfield / England)

Samuel Johnson Quotes

  • ''Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, July 21, 1763 (1791). Said of the philosopher David Hume "and other sceptical innovators."
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  • ''Fly fishing may be a very pleasant amusement; but angling or float fishing I can only compare to a stick and a string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Attributed in Instructions to Young Sportsmen, Hawker (1859). Never found in Johnson's works, the remark is also attributed to Jonathan Swift.
  • ''Sir, that all who are happy, are equally happy, is not true. A peasant and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not equally happy. Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, Feb. 1766 (1791). Johnson was arguing against the proposition by David Hume (in the essay The Sceptic) that "a little miss, dressed in a new gown for a dancing-school ball, receives as complete enjoyment as the greatest orator, who triumphs in the splendor of his eloquence."
  • ''A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, July 14, 1763 (1791). Johnson continued, however, by prescribing that, "A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge."
  • ''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 expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, June 8, 1762. Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
  • ''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 (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, March 16, 1759 (1791). On another occasion, when told, "We find people fond of being sailors," Johnson replied, "I cannot account for that, any more than I can account for other strange perversions of imagination." (April 10, 1778).
  • ''As the Spanish proverb says, "He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him." So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 17, 1778 (1791).
  • ''Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. letter, Dec. 7, 1782, to Boswell. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson (1791).
  • ''Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 2, 1775 (1791).
  • ''I am sorry I have not learnt to play at cards. It is very useful in life: it generates kindness, and consolidates society.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Tour of the Hebrides, Nov. 21, 1773 entry (1785). Boswell noted that Johnson's remark would be "a valuable text for many decent old dowagers, and other good company, in various circles, to descant upon."

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Best Poem of Samuel Johnson

On The Death Of Mr. Robert Levet, A Practiser In Physic

CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline
Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind;
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.

When fainting nature call'd for aid,
And hov'ring death prepared the blow,
His vig'rous remedy display'd
The power of art without the ...

Read the full of On The Death Of Mr. Robert Levet, A Practiser In Physic

One And Twenty

LONG-EXPECTED one and twenty
Ling'ring year at last has flown,
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty
Great Sir John, are all your own.

Loosen'd from the minor's tether,
Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather
Bid the slaves of thrift farewell.

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