Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784 / Lichfield / England)

Samuel Johnson Quotes

  • ''Sir, there is more knowledge in a letter of Richardson's, than in all Tom Jones.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, April 6, 1772, p. 480, Oxford University Press (1980).
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  • ''Mrs. Montagu has dropped me. Now, Sir, there are people whom one should like very well to drop, but would not wish to be dropped by.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, March 1781 (1791). Referring to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
  • ''A woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, July 31, 1763 (1791).
  • ''Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 4, ed. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969). Rambler (London, Aug. 24, 1751), no. 150.
  • ''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.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, October [?] 1775 (1791).
  • ''Sorrow is a kind of rust of the soul, which every new idea contributes in its passage to scour away. It is the putrefaction of stagnant life, and is remedied by exercise and motion.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3, eds. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969). Rambler (London, Aug. 28, 1750), no. 47.
  • ''Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprized to find it done at all.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, July 30, 1763, Oxford University Press (1980). Comment on a woman preaching at a Quaker meeting.
  • ''Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, 1780 (1791). As quoted by Mr. Langton.
  • ''Hunger is never delicate; they who are seldom gorged to the full with praise may be safely fed with gross compliments, for the appetite must be satisfied before it is disgusted.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 5, ed. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969). Rambler (London, Jan. 21, 1752), no. 193.
  • ''Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 7, 1775 (1791). Ambrose Bierce, in his entry under Patriotism in his Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906), wrote: "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."

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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

Anacreon: Ode 9

Lovely courier of the sky,
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scattering, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way:
Is it business? is it love?
Tell me, tell me, gentle dove.
'Soft Anacreon's vows I bear,
Vows to Myrtale the fair;
Graced with all that charms the heart,

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