25 Samuel Johnson Quotes From the Legendary English Writer

Check out these Samuel Johnson quotes to learn more about the man who many refer to as one of the greatest literary critics of all time.

Samuel Johnson was a talented writer who is known for his works in poetry, playwriting, and more, but he is best known for his literary critic work.

Johnson was born in Lichfield, England, in 1709 and died in London, England, in 1784 at the age of 75.

He is renowned for his influence on English literature and has been called “the only English critic in history” who deserves to be called a genius.

Johnson was a student in college when his funding ran out, and he was forced to take a job as a teacher.

From there, Johnson started his writing career, at first for The Gentleman’s Magazine, and then he wrote A Dictionary of the English Language, which has been called “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship.”

He would go on to write many plays, poems, and essays.

You can learn more about his work in these Samuel Johnson quotes.

Best Samuel Johnson Quotes

Take a look at some of Samuel Johnson’s greatest quotes.

1. “What is easy is seldom excellent.” — Samuel Johnson

2. “It is better to live rich than to die rich.” — Samuel Johnson

3. “Worth seeing? Yes, but not worth going to see.” — Samuel Johnson

4. “The true art of memory is the art of attention.” — Samuel Johnson

5. “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” — Samuel Johnson

6. “Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.” — Samuel Johnson

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7. “It is necessary to hope for hope itself is happiness.” — Samuel Johnson

8. “Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye.” — Samuel Johnson

9. “One is knowing a thing. The other is knowing where to find it.” — Samuel Johnson

10. “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” — Samuel Johnson

Classic Samuel Johnson Quotes

Throughout his life, Johnson wrote many iconic quotes.

11. “Bachelors have consciences, married men have wives.” — Samuel Johnson

12. “Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” — Samuel Johnson

13. “Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.” — Samuel Johnson

14. “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” — Samuel Johnson

15. “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” — Samuel Johnson

16. “Strange! That this general fraud from day to day should fill the world with wretches undetected.” — Samuel Johnson

17. “The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne.” — Samuel Johnson

Inspirational Samuel Johnson Quotes

Here are some Samuel Johnson quotes that are sure to inspire you.

18. “Advice is seldom welcome. Those who need it most, like it least.” — Samuel Johnson

19. “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” — Samuel Johnson

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20. “Of the blessings set before you make your choice, and be content.” — Samuel Johnson

21. “Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.” — Samuel Johnson

22. “I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.” — Samuel Johnson

23. “No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.” — Samuel Johnson

24. “The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.” — Samuel Johnson

25. “He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.” — Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson’s Personal Life

Johnson suffered from illness throughout his life and is believed to have had tourettes, which was not diagnosed at this time, but he continued to learn and excel in his career.

He married Elizabeth Porter, a widow twenty-one years his elder, in 1735, and they were married until her death in 1752.

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