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Samuel Johnson quotes page 1

Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. Coming from a family of modest means he went on to became one of the greatest literary figures of his day. He is well-known for his biographies, essay collections and a comprehensive dictionary, plus the fable adaptation of "The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia." Samuel was renowned for his enduring witticism. He was a great writer, leading critic and lexicographer. As a child he was plagued with health problems. He is known to have been suffering from scrofula, a type of tuberculosis which originates from lymph nodes, impaired vision and hearing, apart from a host of verbal and physical tics all through his life, leading modern doctors to believe that he might have had Tourette's syndrome. Throughout his life, he suffered from fits of depression. Samuel was the son of a bookseller and an excellent student who earned a great name for his mastery over Latin. In 1728 he attended the Pembroke College at Oxford. Monetary issues, however, forced him to leave school a year later. Around this time he started looking for jobs as a teacher, but didn't have much luck in terms of securing a long-term position. He later relocated to Birmingham. During this period, aside from looking for work, he also started writing for different publications. He married Elizabeth Porter in 1735 and with money she had he was able to begin his own school. But, unfortunately, this venture wound up being a flop. Johnson moved to London in 1737 where he kept working as a writer for many years, writing articles for small publications to support his family. In 1738 he started contributing to The Gentleman's Magazine. He wrote the poem "London" anonymously that same year, which created quite a stir in the mainstream newspapers. Johnson tackled one of the biggest projects of his career around 1746, A Dictionary of the English Language, which took him almost ten years to finish. His wife told him how she admired the essays he wrote for the Rambler, a publishing house. Published in 1755, Johnson's dictionary brought him even greater acclaim, however not much money. His later works include a collection of essays for The Idler. He managed to secure a pension from the English government in 1762 which helped ease his financial burdens. Befriending Boswell, his future biographer the next year, was one of the best decisions of his life. Johnson also fulfilled a contract that was overdue and published a collection of his own William Shakespeare plays in 1765. Starting in the late 1770s, his work revolved around critical examinations of poets which is generally known as The Lives of the Poets. On December 13, at the age of seventy-five, he died in London, England and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

This is one of the disadvantages of wine: it makes a man mistake words for thought.
Samuel Johnson

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, rather, a manner of traveling.
Samuel Johnson

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
Samuel Johnson

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived
us.
Samuel Johnson

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength,
but perseverance.
Samuel Johnson

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.
Samuel Johnson

A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out.
Samuel Johnson

Example is always more efficacious than precept.
Samuel Johnson

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to
trust.
Samuel Johnson

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is
produced as by a good tavern.
Samuel Johnson

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
Samuel Johnson

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed.
Samuel Johnson

There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.
Samuel Johnson

Men know that women are an overmatch for them, and therefore they choose the weakest or
the most ignorant. If they did not think so, they never could be afraid of women knowing as
much as themselves.
Samuel Johnson

No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.
Samuel Johnson

A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.
Samuel Johnson

I hate a fellow whom pride, or cowardice, or laziness drives into a corner, and who does
nothing when he is there but sit and growl; let him come out as I do, and bark.
Samuel Johnson

Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.
Samuel Johnson

A man used to vicissitudes is not easily dejected.
Samuel Johnson

Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.
Samuel Johnson

Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world
affords.
Samuel Johnson

Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.
Samuel Johnson

All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of
the resistless force of perseverance.
Samuel Johnson

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Samuel Johnson

Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.
Samuel Johnson

The best of conversations occur when there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet
interchange of sentiments.
Samuel Johnson

To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.
Samuel Johnson

Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced
of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment.
Samuel Johnson

You raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument.
Samuel Johnson

Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.
Samuel Johnson

It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
Samuel Johnson

I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to
be silent as to his works.
Samuel Johnson

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.
Samuel Johnson

Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments.
Samuel Johnson

The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things
may be, to see them as they are.
Samuel Johnson

Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.
Samuel Johnson

To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him against his will is justly
pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of human abilities.
Samuel Johnson

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson

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