Samuel Johnson Quotes
Most popular Samuel Johnson Quotes
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
A jest breaks no bones.
Whatever you have, spend less.
The present hour is man's alone.
Language is the dress of thought.
No man was ever great by imitation.
No man is a hypocrite in his pleasure.
Every man is of importance to himself.
The future is purchased by the present.
The insolence of wealth will creep out.
The great source of pleasure is variety.
He who praises everybody praises nobody.
Judgment is forced upon us by experience.
Knowledge is more than equivalent to force.
It is better to live rich than to die rich.
In all pleasure hope is a considerable part.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
It is the only sensual pleasure without vice.
Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal.
Nothing can be truly great which is not right.
Man has a great aversion to intellectual labor.
The true art of memory is the art of attention.
Men become friends by a community of pleasures.
Where there is no hope there can be no endeavor.
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
Few things are impossible to diligence and skill.
All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.
Deviation from Nature is deviation from happiness.
There are charms made only for distant admiration.
A country governed by a despot is an inverted cone.
Employment, sir, and hardships, prevent melancholy.
The foundation of knowledge must be laid by reading.
Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present.
Marriage is the strictest tie of perpetual friendship.
A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.
Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.
Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt.
The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.
Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.
A biographical incident; a minute passage of private life.
Lexicographer—A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge.
Riches exclude only one inconvenience, and that is poverty.
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.
Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions.
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.
Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.
Expectation improperly indulged in must end in disappointment.
Every man's affairs, however little, are important to himself.
Prejudice not founded on reason cannot be removed by argument.
Kindness, at least actual, is in our power, but fondness is not.
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance.
Moderation is commonly firm, and firmness is commonly successful.
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
The first years of a man's life must make provision for the last.
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilisation.
To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.
Praise like gold and diamonds owes its value only to its scarcity.
Being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned.
Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding.
The morality of an action depends upon the motive from which we act.
Impatience of study is the mental disease of the present generation.
One is not a wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.
A fishing rod is a stick with a hook at one end and a fool at the other.
It is one of the maxims of the civil law, that definitions are hazardous.
I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.
Wealth is nothing in itself; it is not useful but when it departs from us.
Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.
What I gave, that I have; what I spent, that I had; what I left that I lost.
I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.
The true effect of genuine politeness seems to be rather ease than pleasure.
A family is a little kingdom, torn with factions and exposed to revolutions.
To the strongest and quickest mind it is far easier to learn than to invent.
What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.
The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket.
The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.
A man who has provoked the shaft of wit cannot complain that he smart from it.
I live in the crowd of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.
All crimes are safe, but hated poverty. This, only this, the rigid law pursues.
Friendship may well deserve the sacrifice of pleasure, though not of conscience.
Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.
Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Gaming is a mode of transferring property without producing any intermediate good.
That which is to be loved long is to be loved with reason rather than with passion.
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
In all pointed sentences some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness.
The two great movers of the human mind are the desire of good, and the fear of evil.
The seeds of knowledge may be planted in solitude, but must be cultivated in public.
It is advantageous to an author, that his book should be attacked as well as praised.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
It is a man's own fault, it is from want of use, if one's mind grows torpid in old age.
Knowledge is more than equivalent to force. The master of mechanics laughs at strength.
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.
A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.
Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.
As love without esteem is capricious and volatile, esteem without love is languid and cold.
Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we can not resemble.
I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations.
If a man talks of his misfortunes there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him.
The true, strong, and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small.
Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.
No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
If a man could say nothing against a character but what he can prove, history could not be written.
That kind of life is most happy which affords us most opportunities of gaining our own self-esteem.
A man that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.
Were it not for imagination, Sir, a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as of a duchess.
Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.
A transition from an author's book to his conversation is too often like an entrance into a large city.
Essay. A loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular and orderly composition.
Good breeding consists in having no particular mark of any profession, but a general elegance of manners.
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualifications which he does not possess.
When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency.
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Adversity has ever been considered as the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
The vanity of being known to be entrusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it.
In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.
Nobody can write the life of a man, but those who have eat and drunk and lived in social intercourse with him.
Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
To improve the golden moment of opportunity and catch the good that is within our reach is the great art of life.
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
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.
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.
The hour of reformation is always delayed; every delay gives vice another opportunity of fortifying itself by habit.
No estimate is more in danger of erroneous calculation than those by which a man computes the force of his own genius.
Be not too hasty to trust, or to admire, the teachers of morality: they discourse like angels, but they live like men.
I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his work.
There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.
It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.
Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price.
Everything that enlarges the sphere of human powers, that shows man he can do what he thought he could not do, is valuable.
Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
What a strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known are better than the things we have known.
He throws away his money without thought and without merit. I do not call a tree generous that sheds its fruit at every breeze.
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.
The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.
I am not yet so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.
All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance.
It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.
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 that I was formerly.
Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven't courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.
A wise man is cured of ambition by ambition itself; his aim is so exalted that riches, office, fortune and favour cannot satisfy him.
Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, sickness, of captivity, would, without this comfort, be unsupportable.
The difference between coarse and refined abuse is as the difference between being bruised by a club, and wounded by a poisoned arrow.
It is better that some should be unhappy rather than that none should be happy, which would be the case in a general state of equality.
Nothing has tended more to retard the advancement of science than the disposition in vulgar minds to vilify what they cannot comprehend.
It is, however, reasonable to have perfection in our eye; that we may always advance towards it, though we know it never can be reached.
The love of retirement has, in all ages, adhered closely to those minds which have been most enlarged by knowledge, or elevated by genius.
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.
To preserve health is a moral and religious duty, for health is the basis of all social virtues. We can no longer be useful when not well.
Friendship is seldom lasting but between equals, or where the superiority on one side is reduced by some equivalent advantage on the other.
It would add much to human happiness, if an art could be taught of forgetting all of which the remembrance is at once useless and afflictive.
Avarice is generally the last passion of those lives of which the first part has been squandered in pleasure, and the second devoted to ambition.
A Frenchman must be always talking, whether he knows anything of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say.
He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.
While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert it only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.
Nobody has a right to put another under such difficulty that he must either hurt the person by telling the truth, or hurt himself by telling what is not true.
Job. A low word now much in use, of which I cannot tell the etymology. (1) A low, mean lucrative busy affair. (2) Petty, piddling work: a piece of chance work.
Like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectation improperly indulged in must end in disappointment.
Curiosity is the thirst of the soul; it inflames and torments us, and makes us taste every thing with joy, however otherwise insipid, by which it may be quenched.
To let friendship die away by negligence and silence is certainly not wise. It is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of this weary pilgrimage.
We are long before we are convinced that happiness is never to be found, and each believes it possessed by others, to keep alive the hope of obtaining it for himself.
If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.
All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.
An old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils: "Read over your compositions and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out."
You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.
Let him that desires to see others happy, make haste to give while his gift can be enjoyed, and remember that every moment of delay takes away something from the value of his benefaction.
In families where there is or is not poverty, there is commonly discord: if a kingdom be...a great family, a family likewise is a little kingdom, torn with factions and exposed to revolutions.
So different are the colors of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past . . . that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side.
If a sovereign oppresses his people to a great degree, they will rise and cut off his head. There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government.
What is read with delight is commonly retained, because pleasure always secures attention; but the books which are consulted by occasional necessity, and perused with impatience, seldom leave any traces on the mind.
A man finds in the productions of nature an inexhaustible stock of material on which he can employ himself, without any temptations to envy or malevolence, and has always a certain prospect of discovering new reasons for adoring the sovereign author of the universe.
The mind is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity ...The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
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.
Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic. Promise, large Promise, is the soul of an Advertisement.
That fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptation, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned.
It is no matter what you teach them first, any more than what leg you shall put into your breeches first. Sir, you may stand disputing which is best to put in first, but in the meantime your breech is bare. Sir, while you are considering which of two things you should teach your child first, another boy has learnt them both.
It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries.
Where there is no hope, there can be no endeavor.
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
The applause of a single human being is of a great consequence.
Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.
In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness.
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know, because they have never deceived us.
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
A wise man is cured of ambition by ambition itself; his aim is so exalted that riches, office, fortune, and favour cannot satisfy him.