Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

English Lexicographer, Essayist, Poet, Conversationalist

"He that voluntarily continues in ignorance, is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces."

"He that will enjoy the brightness of sunshine, must quit the coolness of the shade."

"He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions."

"He that would pass the latter part of life with honour and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old; and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young."

"He threatens many that hath injured one."

"He was a very good hater."

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

"He who expects much will be often disappointed; yet disappointment seldom cures us of expectation, or has any other effect than that of producing a moral sentence or peevish exclamation."

"He who would govern his actions by the laws of virtue must regulate his thought by those of reason."

"He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything. Life is made up of little things. True greatness consists in being great in little things."

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

"He who has provoked the shaft of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it."

"Health is so necessary to all the duties as well as pleasures of life that the crime of squandering it is equal to the folly."

"Health is certainly more valuable than money, because it is by health that money is procured; but thousands and millions are of small avail to alleviate the tortures of the gout, to repair the broken organs of sense, or resuscitate the powers of digestion. Poverty is, indeed, an evil from which we naturally fly; but let us not run from one enemy to another, nor take shelter in the arms of sickness."

"His conversation does not show the minute hand; but he strikes the hour very correctly."

"High people, Sir, are the best: Take a hundred ladies of quality, you'll find them better wives, better mothers, more willing to sacrifice their own pleasures to their children, than a hundred other women."

"History can be formed from permanent monuments and records; but lives can only be written from personal knowledge, which is growing every day less, and in a short time is lost forever."

"Hope is always liberal, and they that trust her promises make little scruple of reveling today on the profits of tomorrow."

"How guilt once harbour'd in the conscious breast, Intimidates the brave, degrades the great."

"Hope is the chief blessing of man; and that hope only is rational of which we are sensible that it cannot deceive us."

"How gloomy would be the mansions of the dead to him who did, not know that he should never die; that what now acts, shall continue its agency, and what now thinks, shall think on forever."

"Hope itself is a species of happiness, and perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords."

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

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

"Humanly speaking, there is a certain degree of temptation which will overcome any virtue. Now, in so far as you approach temptation to a man, you do him an injury, and if he is overcome, you share his guilt."

"How small of all that human hearts endure that part which laws or kings can cause or cure! Still to ourselves in every place ensigned our own felicity we make or find."

"Hypocrisy is the necessary burden of villainy; affectation, part of the chosen trappings of folly; the one completes a villain, the other only finishes a fop. Contempt is the proper punishment of affectation, and detestation the just consequence of hypocrisy."

"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."

"I am a great friend of public amusements, they keep people from vice."

"I believe marriages would in general be as happy, and often more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor, upon a due consideration of the characters and circumstances, without the parties having any choice in the matter."

"I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made."

"I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations."

"I am glad that he thanks God for anything."

"I from the jaws of a gardener's bitch Snatched this bone and then leapt the ditch."

"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."

"I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world."

"I fly from pleasure, because pleasure has ceased to please: I am lonely because I am miserable."

"I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drives into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl. Let him come out as I do, and bark."

"I have always considered it as treason against the great republic of human nature, to make any man's virtues the means of deceiving him."

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

"I have no more pleasure in hearing a man attempting wit and failing, than in seeing a man trying to leap over a ditch and tumbling into it"

"I have, all my life long, been lying till noon; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good."

"I like a good hater."

"I know not any crime so great a man could contrive to commit, as poisoning the sources of eternal truth."

"I have found you an argument: but I am not obliged to find you an understanding."

"I live in the crowds of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself."

"I have found men to be more kind than I expected, and less just."

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

"I love the acquaintance of young people because in the first place, I don't like to think myself growing old. In the next place, young acquaintances must last longest, if they do last; and then young men have more virtue than old men; they have more generous sentiments in every respect."

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