Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784 / Lichfield / England)

Samuel Johnson Quotes

  • ''Its proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Works, vol. 6 (1825). "Review of A Journal of Eight Days' Journey," vol. 2, no. 13, Literary Magazine (London, 1757). Nonetheless, Johnson confessed in the article to being "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." James Boswell vouched for this passion in his Life of Samuel Johnson: "I suppose no person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson" (entry for 1756).
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  • ''Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Dictionary of the English Language, preface (1755).
  • ''It is wonderful when a calculation is made, how little the mind is actually employed in the discharge of any profession.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 6, 1775 (1791).
  • ''It was his peculiar happiness that he scarcely ever found a stranger whom he did not leave a friend; but it must likewise be added, that he had not often a friend long without obliging him to become a stranger.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. "Savage," Lives of the English Poets (1779-1781). Of the poet Richard Savage.
  • ''Lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Dictionary of the English Language (1755). "Every other author may aspire to praise," wrote Johnson in his Preface, "the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few." Under the entry for Dull, Johnson gave the following illustration: "To make dictionaries is dull work."
  • ''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 (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, Sept. 15, 1777 (1791).
  • ''I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Dictionary of the English Language, preface (1755).
  • ''Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 10, 1776 (1791).
  • ''Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. The astronomer, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 41 (1759).
  • ''Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 11, 1784 (1791).

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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

Evening Ode

To Stella:

Evening now from purple wings
Sheds the grateful gifts she brings;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead,
Cooling breezes shake the reed;
Shake the reed, and curl the stream
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near the chequer'd, lonely grove,

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