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Attack is the reaction. I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
—  Samuel Johnson
Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen.
—  Samuel Johnson
I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.
—  Samuel Johnson
Sir, are you so grossly ignorant of human nature, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice?
—  Samuel Johnson
It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge.
—  Samuel Johnson
The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
—  Samuel Johnson
Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.
—  Samuel Johnson
We took tea, by Boswell's desire; and I eat one bun, I think, that I might not be seen to fast ostentatiously. When I find that so much of my life has stolen unprofitably away, and that I can descry by retrospection scarcely a few single days properly and vigorously employed, why do I yet try to resolve again? I try, because reformation is necessary and despair is criminal. I try, in humble hope of the help of God.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
That all who are happy are equally happy is not true. A peasant and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not equally happy. A small drinking glass and a large one may be equally full, but the large one holds more than the small.
—  Samuel Johnson
Wine makes a man better pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
—  Samuel Johnson
A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden.
—  Samuel Johnson
Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity.
—  Samuel Johnson
I live in the crowd of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
Much may be made of a Scotsman if he be caught young.
—  Samuel Johnson
I never take a nap after dinner but when I have had a bad night; and then the nap takes me.
—  Samuel Johnson
No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
—  Samuel Johnson
On Sir Joshua Reynolds's observing that the real character of a man was found out by his amusements. Yes, Sir, no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures.
—  Samuel Johnson
Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
—  Samuel Johnson
Adversity is the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free from admirers then.
—  Samuel Johnson
A thousand years may elapse before there shall appear another man with a power of versification equal to that of Pope.
—  Samuel Johnson
A man will turn over half a library to make one book.
—  Samuel Johnson
Depend on it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
—  Samuel Johnson
What is read twice is commonly better remembered than what is transcribed.
—  Samuel Johnson
Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt.
—  Samuel Johnson
Books that you may carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are the most useful after all.
—  Samuel Johnson
I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else.
—  Samuel Johnson
Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.
—  Samuel Johnson
The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
—  Samuel Johnson
Abstinence is as easy to me, as temperance would be difficult.
—  Samuel Johnson
The first years of man must make provision for the last.
—  Samuel Johnson
It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.
—  Samuel Johnson
I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.
—  Samuel Johnson
Lichfield, England. Swallows certainly sleep all winter. A number of them conglobulate together, by flying round and round, and then all in a heap throw themselves under water, and lye in the bed of a river.
—  Samuel Johnson
I have found men more kind than I expected and less just.
—  Samuel Johnson
A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it.
—  Samuel Johnson
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
—  Samuel Johnson
A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.
—  Samuel Johnson
He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat, by the menaces of a ruffian.
—  Samuel Johnson
The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.
—  Samuel Johnson
Pride is seldom delicate; it will please itself with very mean advantages.
—  Samuel Johnson
Among the calamities of war may be numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates, and credulity encourages.
—  Samuel Johnson
This was a good dinner enough, to be sure, but it was not a dinner to ask a man to.
—  Samuel Johnson
His death eclipsed the gayety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure.
—  Samuel Johnson
Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
—  Samuel Johnson
To set the mind above the appetites is the end of abstinence, which if not a virtue, is the groundwork of a virtue.
—  Samuel Johnson
Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
—  Samuel Johnson
He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
—  Samuel Johnson
It is worth a thousand pounds a year to have the habit of looking on the bright side of things.
—  Samuel Johnson
There is little peace or comfort in life if we are always anxious as to future events. He that worries himself with the dread of possible contingencies will never be at rest.
—  Samuel Johnson
Many things difficult to design prove easy to performance.
—  Samuel Johnson
Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.
—  Samuel Johnson
A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
Our desires always increase with our possessions. The knowledge that something remains yet unenjoyed impairs our enjoyment of the good before us.
—  Samuel Johnson
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.
—  Samuel Johnson
Words are men's daughters, but God's sons are things.
—  Samuel Johnson
Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.
—  Samuel Johnson
Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable and others extremely difficult.
—  Samuel Johnson
A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.
—  Samuel Johnson
When any calamity has been suffered, the first thing to be remembered is how much has been escaped.
—  Samuel Johnson
Madam, before you flatter a man so grossly to his face, you should consider whether or not your flattery is worth his having.
—  Samuel Johnson
Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.
—  Samuel Johnson
The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.
—  Samuel Johnson
He who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else.
—  Samuel Johnson
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
It is better that some should be unhappy than that none should be happy, which would be the case in a general state of equality.
—  Samuel Johnson
Men seldom give pleasure when they are not pleased themselves.
—  Samuel Johnson
Sir, you have but two topics, yourself and me. I am sick of both.
—  Samuel Johnson
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
—  Samuel Johnson
A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
—  Samuel Johnson
Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments.
—  Samuel Johnson
To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.
—  Samuel Johnson
Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
—  Samuel Johnson
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.
—  Samuel Johnson
He is a benefactor of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into the short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and so recur habitually to the mind.
—  Samuel Johnson
Let him go abroad to a distant country; let him go to some place where he is not known. Don't let him go to the devil, where he is known.
—  Samuel Johnson
Few men survey themselves with such severity as not to admit prejudices in their own favor.
—  Samuel Johnson
Few enterprises of great labor or hazard would be undertaken if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages we expect from them.
—  Samuel Johnson
As the mind must govern the hands, so in every society the man of intelligence must direct the man of labor.
—  Samuel Johnson
The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.
—  Samuel Johnson
Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he does not possess.
—  Samuel Johnson
Pride is a vice, which pride itself inclines every man to find in others, and to overlook in himself.
—  Samuel Johnson
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
—  Samuel Johnson
Nothing flatters a man as much as the happiness of his wife; he is always proud of himself as a source of it.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
Sir, I have found you an argument. I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
—  Samuel Johnson
That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one.
—  Samuel Johnson
Sir, your levellers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves.
—  Samuel Johnson
No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
—  Samuel Johnson
Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.
—  Samuel Johnson
No two men can be half an hour together, but one shall acquire an evident superiority over the other.
—  Samuel Johnson
No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
—  Samuel Johnson
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.
—  Samuel Johnson
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
—  Samuel Johnson
To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.
—  Samuel Johnson

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