Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784 / Lichfield / England)

Samuel Johnson Quotes

  • ''To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches, and therefore every man endeavours with his utmost care to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in The Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L.F. Powell (1963). Idler (London, Aug. 5, 1758), no. 17.
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  • ''A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1 (1934). Note to entry for March 20, 1776.
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  • ''Perhaps man is the only being that can properly be called idle.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L.F. Powell (1963). The Idler, no. 1, Universal Chronicle (London, April 15, 1758). "As peace is the end of war," Johnson wrote, "so to be idle is the ultimate purpose of the busy."
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  • ''Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion, and he whose real wants are supplied must admit those of fancy.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Imlac, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 8 (1759).
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  • ''Every man who attacks my belief, diminishes in some degree my confidence in it, and therefore makes me uneasy; and I am angry with him who makes me uneasy.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, April 3, 1775 (1791).
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  • ''If pleasure was not followed by pain, who would forbear it?''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt, and L.F. Powell (1963). The Idler, no. 89, Universal Chronicle (London, December 29, 1759).
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  • ''Man is not weak; knowledge is more than equivalent to force.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Imlac, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 13 (1759).
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  • ''Sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, July 6, 1763 (1791).
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  • ''Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L.F. Powell (1963). The Idler, no. 40, Universal Chronicle (London, Jan. 20, 1759).
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  • ''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.''
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, January 9, 1758. James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
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Best Poem of Samuel Johnson

Autumn

Alas! with swift and silent pace,
Impatient time rolls on the year;
The Seasons change, and Nature's face
Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

'Twas Spring, 'twas Summer, all was gay,
Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;
The flowers of Spring are swept away,
And Summer fruits desert the bough.

The verdant leaves that play'd on high,
And wanton'd on the western breeze,
Now trod in dust neglected lie,
As Boreas strips the bending trees.

The fields that waved with golden grain,
As russet heaths are wild and bare;
Not moist with dew, but ...

Read the full of Autumn

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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