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Dr. Samuel Johnson quotes (108)

Attack is the reaction. I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Attack

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

A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Agriculture

This was a good dinner enough to be sure but it was not a dinner to ask a man to.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Easy

Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Dictionary

Sir what is poetry? Why Sir it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Light

Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties passing from one step of success to another forming new wishes and seeing them gratified.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Diet

A cucumber should be well sliced and dressed with pepper and vinegar and then thrown out as good for nothing.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Food

One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Wine

I hate mankind for I think myself one of the best of them and I know how bad I am.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Bad

To improve the golden moment of opportunity and catch the good that is within our reach is the great art of life.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Opportunity

To be of no church is dangerous. Religion of which the rewards are distant and which is animated only by faith and hope will glide by degrees out of the mind unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances by stated calls to worship and the salutary influence of example.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Church

When any fit of anxiety or gloominess or perversion of the mind lays hold upon you make it a rule not to publish it by complaints but exert your whole care to hide it. By endeavoring to hide it you will drive it away.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Complacency

Example is always more efficacious than precept.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Example

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Library

In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Monument

I love the acquaintance of young people because in the first place I don't like to think myself growing old. In the next place young acquaintances must last longest if they do last; and then young men have more generous sentiments in every respect.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Youth

This man [Chesterfield] I thought had been a Lord among wits; but I find he is only a wit among Lords.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Wit

I have found men more kind than I expected and less just.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Kindness

The true art of memory is the art of attention.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Memory

He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Passion

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Hope

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Question

Adversity is the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself being especially free from admirers then.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Adversity

Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue that it is always respected even when it is associated with vice.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Courage

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: If

Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Temperance

Madam before you flatter a man so grossly to his face you should consider whether or not your flattery is worth his having.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Flattery

There is now less flogging in our great schools than formerly but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Education

A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Classes

How small of all that human hearts endure That part which laws or kings can cause or cure! Still to ourselves in every place ensigned Our own felicity we make or find.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Cause

All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Intellect

Whatever you have spend less.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Unsorted

Let observation with extensive view Survey mankind from China to Peru.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Observe

All censure of a mans self is oblique praise. It is in order to show how much he can spare.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Self

An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Africa

Of all the griefs that harass the distrest Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Humor

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

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

There are charms made only for distant admiration.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Administration

Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Language

If you are idle be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Forgive

That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea and that is a wrong one.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Wrong

Pride is a vice which pride itself inclines every man to find in others and to overlook in himself.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Pride

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

Sherry is dull naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an access of stupidity sir is not in Nature. Of Thomas Sheridan (17191788) actor lecturer and author:
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Dull

Knowledge is more than equivalent to force.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Knowledge

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Pleasure

As I know more of mankind I expect less of them and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Mankind

Pity is not natural to man. Children and savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason. We may have uneasy sensations from seeing a creature in distress without pity; but we have not pity unless we wish to relieve him.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Pity

I am willing to love all mankind except an American.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Ambition

No mind is much employed upon the present: recollection and anticipation fill up almost all our moments.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Present

Johnson observed that he 'did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back but he believed the gentleman was an attorney'.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Lawyers

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Cheating

In order that all men may be taught to speak truth it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Truth

The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment as in the comprehension of some useful truth in a few words.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Aphorism

Men seldom give pleasure when they are not pleased themselves.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Please

Read over your compositions and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine strike it out.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Strike

Praise like gold and diamonds owes its value to its scarcity.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Diamond

What we hope ever to do with ease we must learn first to do with diligence.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Diligence

To set the mind above the appetites is the end of abstinence which if not a virtue is the groundwork of a virtue.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Abstinence

Sir a woman preaching is like a dogs walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Dog

I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Book

A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Gratitude

No Sir when a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Engineer

Few enterprises of great labor or hazard would be undertaken if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages we expect from them.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Anticipation

Bravery has no place where it can avail nothing.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Brave

Such is the state of life that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Change

Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in conversation; but no sooner does he take a pen in his hand than it becomes a torpedo to him and benumbs all his faculties.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Pen

A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Man

Many falsehoods are passing into uncontradicted history.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Contradict

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Inns

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Action

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Curiosity

Sir I look upon every day to be lost in which I do not make a new acquaintance.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Acquaintance

No two men can be half an hour together but one shall acquire an evident superiority over the other.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Inferior

He who praises everybody praises nobody.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Praise

It is worth a thousand pounds a year to have the habit of looking on the bright side of things.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Cheerful

I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth and that things are the sons of heaven.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Word

A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Writing

This mournful truth is evrywhere confessd Slow rises worth by poverty depressd.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Potential

Abuse is often of service. There is nothing so dangerous to an author as silence. His name like the shuttlecock must be beat backward and forward or it falls to the ground.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Author

Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Better

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Gravity

Sir I think all Christians whether Papists or Protestants agree in the essential articles and that their differences are trivial and rather political than religious.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Politics

It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done compared to what he might have done.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Comparison

Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes And pause a while from learning to be wise. There mark what ills the scholars life assail Toil envy want the patron and the jail.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Scholar

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Habit

Is not a patron my lord one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take care of my labors had it been early had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary and cannot impart it; till I am known and do not want it.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Notice

When a man says he had pleasure with a woman he does not mean conversation.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Conversation

Sir your levellers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Epithet

Wine makes a man better pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Alcohol

The true genius is a mind of large general powers accidentally determined to some particular direction.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Genius

I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Amusement

No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Money

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Reactionaries

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Absurd

There is nothing too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Study

The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Life

Hope is itself a species of happiness and perhaps the chief happiness which this world affords.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Happiness

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.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Celebrity

When any calamity has been suffered the first thing to be remembered is how much has been escaped.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Calamities

He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Chance

There is no wisdom in useless and hopeless sorrow.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Sorrow

Catch then oh catch the transient hour; Improve each moment as it flies! Life s a short summer man a flower; He diesalas! how soon he dies!
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Death

Depend upon it that if a man talks of his misfortunes there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him; for where there is nothing but pure misery there never is any recourse to the mention of it.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Misfortunes

It matters not how a man dies but how he lives.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Live

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.
Dr. Samuel Johnson   Category: Persuasion