Samuel Johnson Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old samuel johnson quotes, samuel johnson sayings, and samuel johnson proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


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.     

Samuel Johnson

All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.     

Samuel Johnson

Cunning differs from wisdom as twilight from open day.     

Samuel Johnson

Sorrow is the mere rust of the soul. Activity will cleanse and brighten it.     

Samuel Johnson

When emulation leads us to strive for self-elevation by merit alone, and not by belittling another, then it is one of the grandest possible incentives to action.     

Samuel Johnson

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.     

Samuel Johnson

To let friendship die away by negligence and silence is certainly not wise. It is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of the weary pilgrimage.     

Samuel Johnson

Remember that nothing will supply the want of prudence, and that negligence and irregularity long continued will make knowledge useless, wit ridiculous, and genius contemptible.     

Samuel Johnson

No weakness of the human mind has more frequently incurred animadversion, than the negligence with which men overlook their own faults, however flagrant, and the easiness with which they pardon them, however frequently repeated.     

Samuel Johnson

Every one should consider himself as intrusted not only with his own conduct, but with that of others; and as accountable, not only for the duties which he neglects, or the crimes that he commits, but for that negligence and irregularity which he may encourage or inculcate. Every man, in whatever station, has, or endeavours to have his followers, admirers, and imitators, and has therefore the influence of his example to watch with care.     

Samuel Johnson

He that thinks he can afford to be negligent is not far from being poor.     

Samuel Johnson

I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.     

Samuel Johnson

It is, indeed, at home that every man must be known by those who would make a just estimate either of his virtue or felicity; for smiles and embroidery are alike occasional, and the mind is often dressed for show in painted honor, and fictitious benevolence.     

Samuel Johnson

Every man has a lurking wish to appear considerable in his native place.     

Samuel Johnson

Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion, and he whose real wants are supplied must admit those of fancy.     

Samuel Johnson

One of the most pernicious effects of haste is obscurity.     

Samuel Johnson

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

Samuel Johnson

An exotic and irrational entertainment, which has been always combated, and always has prevailed.     

Samuel Johnson

Suspicion is most often useless pain.     

Samuel Johnson

It is the just doom of laziness and gluttony to be inactive without ease and drowsy without tranquility.     

Samuel Johnson

He who aspires to be a serious wine drinker must drink claret.     

Samuel Johnson

In a man's letters you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process. Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.     

Samuel Johnson

The wretched have no compassion, they can do good only from strong principles of duty.     

Samuel Johnson

Human benevolence is mingled with vanity, interest, or some other motive.     

Samuel Johnson

We may have many acquaintances, but we can have but few friends; this made Aristotle say that he that hath many friends hath none.     

Samuel Johnson

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.     

Samuel Johnson

A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.     

Samuel Johnson

People in distress never think that you feel enough.     

Samuel Johnson

Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.     

Samuel Johnson

How many may a man of diffusive conversation count among his acquaintances, whose lives have been signalized by numberless escapes; who never cross the river but in a storm, or take a journey into the country without more adventures than befel the knights-errant of ancient times in pathless forests or enchanted castles! How many must he know, to whom portents and prodigies are of daily occurrence; and for whom nature is hourly working wonders invisible to every other eye, only to supply them with subjects of conversation?     

Samuel Johnson