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Samuel Johnson

1709-1784. British man of letters, one of the outstanding figures of 18th-century England.

Books by Samuel Johnson

Why, Sir, most schemes of political improvement are very laughable things.

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Poverty is often concealed in splendor, and often in extravagance. It is the task of many people to conceal their neediness from others. Consequently they support themselves by temporary means, and everyday is lost in contriving for tomorrow.

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The majority have no other reason for their opinions than that they are the fashion.

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Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.

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Man is not weak; knowledge is more than equivalent to force.

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

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Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.

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There are few minds to which tyranny is not delightful.

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More knowledge may be gained of a man's real character by a short conversation with one of his servants than from a formal and studied narrative, begun with his pedigree and ended with his funeral.

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Labor, if it were not necessary for existence, would be indispensable for the happiness of man.

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