The works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 4

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Page 409 - By what means," said the prince, "are the Europeans thus powerful ? or why, since they can so easily visit Asia and Africa for trade or conquest, cannot the Asiatics and Africans invade their coasts, plant colonies in their ports, and give laws to their natural princes? The same wind that carries them back would bring us thither.
Page 499 - He who has nothing external that can divert him, must find pleasure in his own thoughts, and must conceive himself what he is not ; for who is pleased with what he is ? He then expatiates in boundless futurity, and culls from all imaginable conditions that which for the present moment he should most desire, amuses his desires with impossible enjoyments, and confers upon his pride unattainable dominion. The mind dances from scene to scene, unites all pleasures in all combinations, and riots in delights,...
Page 378 - The sides of the mountains were covered with trees; the banks of the brooks were diversified with flowers; every blast shook spices from the rocks and every month dropped fruits upon the ground.
Page 364 - it is of little use to form plans of life. When I took my first survey of the world, in my twentieth year, having considered the various conditions of mankind, in the hour of solitude, I said thus to myself, leaning against a cedar, which spread its branches over my head : ' Seventy years are allowed to man ; I have yet fifty remaining.
Page 406 - I soon found that no man was ever great by imitation. My desire of excellence impelled me to transfer my attention to nature and to life. Nature was to be my subject, and men to be my auditors: I could never describe what I had not seen : I could not hope to move those with delight or terror whose interests and opinions I did not understand.
Page 299 - The Italian, attends only to the invariable, the great and general ; ideas which are fixed and inherent in universal nature; the Dutch, on the contrary, to literal truth and a minute exactness in the detail, as I may say, of nature modified by accident. The attention to these petty peculiarities is the very cause of this naturalness so much admired in the Dutch pictures, which, if we suppose it to be a beauty, is certainly...
Page 377 - YE WHO listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope, who expect that age will perform the promises of youth and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas,1 prince of Abyssinia.
Page 456 - I cannot forbear to flatter myself, that prudence and benevolence will make marriage happy. The general folly of mankind is the cause of general complaint. What can be expected but disappointment and repentance from a choice made in the immaturity of youth, in the ardour of desire, without judgment, without foresight, without inquiry after conformity of opinions, similarity of manners, rectitude of judgment, or purity of sentiment ? " Such is the common process of marriage.
Page 467 - A king, whose power is unlimited and whose treasures surmount all real and imaginary wants, is compelled to solace, by the erection of a pyramid, the satiety of dominion and tastelessness of pleasures, and to amuse the tediousness of declining life, by seeing thousands labouring without end, and one stone, for no purpose, laid upon another. Whoever thou art, that, not content with a moderate condition, imaginest happiness in royal magnificence, and dreamest that command or riches can feed the appetite...
Page 392 - So replied the mechanist, fishes have the water, in which yet beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly: to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtler. We are only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of matter through which we are to pass.

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