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Samuel Johnson

1709-1784 ,  English writer
Samuel JohnsonOften referred to as Dr. Johnson, he was an English critic, biographer, essayist, poet, and lexicographer, regarded as one of the greatest figures of 18th-century life and letters.
He is also the subject of perhaps the most famous biography in English literature, namely The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell.

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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.

A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.

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.

Greek, sir, is like lace; every man gets as much of it as he can.

Worth seeing? yes; but not worth going to see.

All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.

All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.

on the subject of ghosts

Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed.

To a poet nothing can be useless.

A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek.

Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.

The world is not yet exhaused; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified and new prejudices to be opposed.

Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

A fishing rod is a stick with a hook at one end and a fool at the other.

Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments.

Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.

I have already enjoyed too much; give me something to desire.

Being in a ship is like being in jail, with the chance of being drowned.

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.

Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.

Nature has given woman so much power that the law cannot afford to give her more.

He who praises everybody, praises nobody.

Men do not suspect faults which they do not commit.

Quotation is the highest compliment you can pay an author.

The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.

A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.

Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument.

It is better to live rich than to die rich.

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.

You can never be wise unless you love reading.

The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.

Justice is my being allowed to do whatever I like. Injustice is whatever prevents my doing so.

To keep your secret is wisdom, but to expect others to keep it is folly.

This is one of the disadvantages of wine, it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.

Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o'clock is a scoundrel.

I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.

He that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly become corrupt.

Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present.

Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.

A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.

If a man could say nothing against a character but what he can prove, history could not be written.

The true art of memory is the art of attention.

A man who is good enough to go to heaven is not good enough to be a clergyman.

What ever the motive for the insult, it is always best to overlook it; for folly doesn't deserve resentment, and malice is punished by neglect.

Go into the street, and give one man a lecture on morality, and another a shilling, and see which will respect you most.

There are some sluggish men who are improved by drinking; as there are fruits that are not good until they are rotten.

Revenge is the act of passion, vengeance is an act of justice.

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.

Lawyers know life practically. A bookish man should always have them to converse with.

I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.

He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else.

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.

Shame arises from the fear of men, conscience from the fear of God.

Labor, if it were not necessary for existence, would be indispensable for the happiness of man.

Language is the pedigree of nations.

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.

Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price.

The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.

Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.

Were it not for imagination a man would be as happy in arms of a chambermaid as of a duchess.

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

Language is the dress of thought.

To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, rather, a manner of traveling.

It is not from reason and prudence that people marry, but from inclination.

I hate mankind, for I think of myself as one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.

No man was ever great by imitation.

The chains of habit are generally too week to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken.

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble.

I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.

Money and time are the heaviest burdens of life, and the unhappiest of all mortals are those who have more of either than they know how to use.


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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou