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Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson 1709-1784
English Writer, Poet, Moralist & Critic
 Great Truths       

Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off.

As the mind must govern the hands, so in every society the man of intelligence must direct the man of labor.

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.

Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes it’s value to its scarcity.

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

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

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless; and knowledge without integrity is dangerous.

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

It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

What is easy is seldom excellent.

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

Power is not sufficient evidence of truth.

He that overvalues himself will undervalue others, and he that undervalues others will oppress them.

That we must all die, we always knew; I wish I had remembered it sooner.

Few enterprises of great labor or hazard would be undertaken if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages we expect from them.

Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, then, especially, being free from flatterers.

There is a 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.

Where necessity ends, curiosity begins; and no sooner are we supplied with everything that nature can demand than we sit down to contrive artificial appetites.

It is happily and kindly provided that in every life there are certain pauses, and interruptions which force consideration upon the careless, and seriousness upon the light; points of time where one course of action ends and another begins.

One ought to read just as inclination takes him, for what he reads as a task will do him little good.

Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.

It is better to live rich than to die rich.

Books like friends, should be few and well-chosen.

Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.

The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.

Actions are visible, though motives are secret.

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.

When a man says he had pleasure with a woman he does not mean conversation.

Many have no happier moments than those that they pass in solitude, abandoned to their own imagination, which sometimes puts scepters in their hands or miters on their heads, shifts the scene of pleasure with endless variety, bids all the forms of beauty sparkle before them, and gluts them with every change of visionary luxury.

Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified. He that labors in any great or laudable undertaking has his fatigues first supported by Hope and afterward rewarded by Joy.

Suspicion is no less an enemy to virtue than to happiness. He that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.