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Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
English author, critic, & lexicographer [more author details]
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When once a man has made celebrity necessary to his happiness, he has put it in the power of the weakest and most timorous malignity, if not to take away his satisfaction, at least to withhold it. His enemies may indulge their pride by airy negligence and gratify their malice by quiet neutrality.
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Samuel Johnson
While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.
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Samuel Johnson
Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
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Samuel Johnson
You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets and wonder when you are done that they do not delight in your company.
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Samuel Johnson
A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.
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Samuel Johnson, (attributed)
Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.
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Samuel Johnson, (attributed)
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
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Samuel Johnson, (attributed; also attributed to Ann Landers)
It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.
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Samuel Johnson, Anecdotes of Samuel Johnson
Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world.
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Samuel Johnson, as quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson (May 8th, 1781)
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.
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Samuel Johnson, Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
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Samuel Johnson, from Boswell's Life of Johnson
Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.
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Samuel Johnson, from Boswell's Life of Johnson
Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.
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Samuel Johnson, Life of Boerhaave
What we hope ever to do with ease we may learn first to do with diligence.
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Samuel Johnson, Lives of the Poets
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.
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Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson
Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
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Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
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Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson
There is no observation more frequently made by such as employ themselves in surveying the conduct of mankind, than that marriage, though the dictate of nature, and the institution of Providence, is yet very often the cause of misery, and that those who enter into that state can seldom forbear to express their repentance, and their envy of those whom either chance or caution hath withheld from it.
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Samuel Johnson, Rambler #18
Such is the common process of marriage. A youth and maiden exchange meeting by chance, or brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home, and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention, or diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed; they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty.
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Samuel Johnson, Rasselas
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