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Quotations From SAMUEL JOHNSON

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  • 41.
    No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 5, 1776 (1791).

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  • 42.
    I deny the lawfulness of telling a lie to a sick man for fear of alarming him. You have no business with consequences; you are to tell the truth.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, June 13, 1784, pp. 1301-02, Oxford University Press (1980).

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  • 43.
    Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 7, 1775 (1791). Ambrose Bierce, in his entry under Patriotism in his Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906), wrote: "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."
  • 44.
    I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, entry, April 15, 1778 (1791). "Sir, they are a race of convicts," Johnson stated in 1769, "and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging." (Quoted in Boswell, Life of Dr. Johnson, March 21, 1775).

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  • 45.
    There are minds so impatient of inferiority that their gratitude is a species of revenge, and they return benefits, not because recompense is a pleasure, but because obligation is a pain.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, Yale Edition, vol. 4, eds. W.J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (1969). quoted in Rambler (Jan. 15, 1751), no. 87.

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  • 46.
    His scorn of the great is repeated too often to be real; no man thinks much of that which he despises.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. "Pope," Lives of the English Poets (1779-1781). Referring to Alexander Pope.
  • 47.
    Tomorrow is an old deceiver, and his cheat never grows stale.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Letter, May 24, 1773, to Hester Thrale. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1, no. 311, ed. R.W. Chapman (1952).

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  • 48.
    Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Dictionary of the English Language, preface (1755).

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  • 49.
    Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 11, 1784 (1791).

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  • 50.
    If pleasure was not followed by pain, who would forbear it?
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, eds. W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt, and L.F. Powell (1963). The Idler, no. 89, Universal Chronicle (London, December 29, 1759).

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