111 Best Samuel Johnson Quotes from Famous English Writer

Samuel Johnson is regarded as one of England’s most prominent men of letters.

He was noted for his work as a poet, biographer, lexicographer and essayist.

He began his career as a schoolteacher before becoming a journalist for ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ and writing his own poetry and theatre.

Samuel Johnson

Johnson’s mammoth endeavor, the English lexicon, started in 1746 and took almost a decade to finish.

This endeavor left an indelible mark on his legacy. In addition to this, his other notable works include the poem “The Vanity of Human Wishes”, the play “Irene” and the essay series “The Rambler”.

Despite personal losses and bouts of depression, Johnson continued to contribute significantly to literature.

Related: Aldous Huxley Quotes from English Writer and Charles Dickens Quotes from English Writer

His friendship with James Boswell resulted in a detailed biography “Life of Samuel Johnson”.

He also authored “A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland” and “Lives of the English Poets”.

Johnson passed away in 1784, leaving behind a robust repertoire of literary works.

I have selected the top quotes by Samuel Johnson for you.

Best Samuel Johnson Quotes


Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail. ~ Samuel Johnson.


Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion. ~ Samuel Johnson.


My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. ~ Samuel Johnson.


Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed. ~ Samuel Johnson.


Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. ~ Samuel Johnson.


A horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse, not a remarkable mathematician. ~ Samuel Johnson.


Exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don’t think of retiring from the world, until the world will be sorry that you retire. ~ Samuel Johnson.


Women have two weapons – cosmetics and tears. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The triumph of hope over experience. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Famous Samuel Johnson Quotes

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favorable to virtue. Remember that the solitary mortal is certainly luxurious, probably superstitious, and possibly mad. ~ Samuel Johnson.

It is our first duty to serve society. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Change is not made without inconvenience. ~ Samuel Johnson.


When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live. ~ Samuel Johnson.

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence. ~ Samuel Johnson.

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The joy of life is variety; the tenderest love requires to be rekindled by intervals of absence. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o’clock is a scoundrel. ~ Samuel Johnson.

‘Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. ~ Samuel Johnson.

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Top Samuel Johnson Quotes

It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time. ~ Samuel Johnson.


He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Language is the dress of thought. ~ 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.

In traveling, a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Between falsehood and useless truth there is little difference. As gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which cannot apply will make no man wise. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance. Those that walk with vigor, three hours a day, will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe. ~ Samuel Johnson.

No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous. ~ Samuel Johnson.

There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity. ~ Samuel Johnson.

A man who exposes himself when he is intoxicated, has not the art of getting drunk. ~ Samuel Johnson.


A man will turn over half a library to make one book. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Books without the knowledge of life are useless. ~ 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.

Catch, then, oh! catch the transient hour, Improve each moment as it flies; Life’s a short summer-man a flower; He dies-alas! how soon he dies! ~ Samuel Johnson.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – it only hastens fools to rush in where angels fear to tread. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he does not possess. ~ Samuel Johnson.

You can never be wise unless you love reading. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Knock the ‘t’ off the ‘can’t.’ ~ 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 a constant repair. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Reason and truth will prevail at last. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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


Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt. ~ Samuel Johnson.

All history was at first oral. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Great Samuel Johnson Quotes

A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people. ~ Samuel Johnson.

I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Slander is the revenge of a coward, and dissimulation of his defense. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Getting money is not all a man’s business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. ~ Samuel Johnson.


I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

No man was ever great by imitation. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The true art of memory is the art of attention. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Deviation from Nature is deviation from happiness. ~ Samuel Johnson.

A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

Powerful Samuel Johnson Quotes

The habit of looking on the bright side of every event is worth more than a thousand pounds a year. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. ~ Samuel Johnson.

If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The first step to greatness is to be honest. ~ Samuel Johnson.

A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. ~ Samuel Johnson.

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. ~ Samuel Johnson.

It is commonly a weak man who marries for love. ~ Samuel Johnson.

At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things-the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Life, however short, is made still shorter by waste of time. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Ultimate Samuel Johnson Quotes

There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible. ~ Samuel Johnson.

It is better to live rich than to die rich. ~ Samuel Johnson.

When speculation has done its worst, two and two still make four. ~ Samuel Johnson.


No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. ~ Samuel Johnson.

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. ~ Samuel Johnson.

People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it. ~ Samuel Johnson.

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Of the blessings set before you make your choice, and be content. ~ Samuel Johnson.

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

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

Inspiring Samuel Johnson Quotes

Pleasure itself is not a vice. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged. ~ Samuel Johnson.

The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Courage is the greatest of all virtues, because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others. ~ Samuel Johnson.

If you want to be a writer, then write. Write every day! ~ Samuel Johnson.

You hesitate to stab me with a word, and know not – silence is the sharper sword. ~ Samuel Johnson.


To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition. ~ Samuel Johnson.

Whatever you have, spend less. ~ Samuel Johnson.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. ~ Samuel Johnson.

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

So these were the 111 top Samuel Johnson quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Nicholas Sparks quotes and Saint Teresa of Avila quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar