"Patriotism is the last refuge of
On over-indulgence with drink, to
the extent of becoming a beast: "He who makes a beast of
himself gets rid of the pain of being a
"When a man is tired of London, he
is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can
"A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself."
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We
know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find
information upon it."
"Sir, a woman's 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."
"A man may write at any time, if he
will set himself
doggedly to it."
On second marriages: "The triumph
of hope over experience."
"No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous."
"Much may be made of a Scotchman,
if he be caught young."
"Human life is everywhere a state in
which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed."
"A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair."
"No man will be a sailor who has
contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship
is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned."
"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows
he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind
"Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find
you an understanding."
Definition of "oats": "A grain, which in England is generally
given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the
On London: "Sir, if you wish to
have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be
satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must
survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the
showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human
habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful
immensity of London consists."
...much enquiry having been made concerning a gentleman, who
had quitted a company where Johnson was, and no information being
obtained; at last Johnson observed, that 'he did not care to
speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the
gentleman was an attorney'.
"The law is the last result of human
wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the
Definition of "pension": "An allowance made to any one
without an equivalent. In England it is generally understood to
mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his
"We must either outlive our friends you know, or our friends
must outlive us; and I see no man that
would hesitate about the choice."
On America: "How is it that we
hear the loudest yelps
for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"
"Life is a pill which none of us can
bear to swallow without gilding."