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English author and lexicographer
(1709 - 1784)
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I wish there were some cure, like the lover's leap, for all heads of which some single idea has obtained an unreasonable and irregular possession.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Fanaticism]

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.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Friendship]

If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our house let us count our spoons.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Character]

In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Oaths]

Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help?
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Help]

It is thus that mutual cowardice keeps us in peace. Were one-half of mankind brave and one-half cowards, the brave would be always being the cowards. Were all brave, they would lead a very uneasy life; all would be continually fighting; but being all cowards, we go on very well.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Peace]

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Knowledge]

Let him go abroad to a distant country; let him go to some place where he is not known. Don't let him go to the devil where he is known.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Traveling]

Marriages would in general be as happy, if not more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Matrimony]

Much may be made of a Scotchman if he be caught young.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Education]

No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Authorship]

Of a thousand shavers, two do not shave so much alike as not to be distinguished.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Barber]

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Patriotism]

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Conversation]

Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well: but you are surprised to find it done at all.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Preaching]

Sir, your levellers wish to level down as far as themselves: but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Equality]

That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Thought]

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Applause]

The true, strong, and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Mind]

There are two things which I am confident I can do very well; one one is an introduction to any literary work, stating what it is to contain, and how it should be executed in the most perfect manner.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Authorship]

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern of inn.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Inns]

This man [Chesterfield] I thought had been a lord among wits; but I find he is only a wit among lords.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Wit]

Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in conversation; but no sooner does he take a pen in his hand, than it becomes a torpedo to him, and benumbs all his faculties.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Conversation]

Was ever poet so trusted before!
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Poets]

Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat.
      - Boswell's Life of Johnson [Oxen]

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