portrait of Samuel Johnson
1772 portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds

All archives
Previous Issue (17 September 2004) | Current month | Next Issue (19 September 2004)

Quotes of the Day for 18 September 2004 – Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson was born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, England on this day in 1709, the son of a bookseller. He was immediately given over to a wetnurse with tuberculosis and was infected through her milk, losing most of his eyesight and the hearing in one ear as a result. In fact, he was rarely physically healthy and suffered with depression throughout his life. He did, however, manage to produce the first dictionary in the English language, edited the plays of Shakespeare, wrote hundreds of essays, and was said to have done an extraordinary job of recording debate in Parliament. Unable to finish his degree at Oxford for lack of funds, he was recognized with honorary degrees from both Oxford and Trinity College at Dublin.

Van's signature

You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.


The quotes:

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

In order that all men may be taught to speak the truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.

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

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.

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.
     - All from Dr Samuel Johnson, 1709 - 1784

Misattribution: The last entry is often credited to Johnson, but it does not appear in his written work.


Do you see an error on this page? A typo, a character that is messed up, a misattribution? Please let us know!