Samuel Johnson

18 Sep 1709 // 13 Dec 1784


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A man may write at any time if he set himself doggedly to it
A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him
Words too familiar, or too remote, defeat the purpose of a poet
Words become low by the occasions to which they are applied, or the general character of them who use them; and the disgust which they produce arises from the revival of those images with which they are commonly united
Without economy none can be rich, and with it few can be poor
Why, life must be filled up, and the man who is not capable of intellectual pleasures must content himself with such as his senses can afford
Whoever envies another confesses his superiority
While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best
Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off
Where grief is fresh, any attempt to divert it only irritates
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."