The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 4

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Page 386 - If the biographer writes from personal knowledge, and makes haste to gratify the public curiosity, there is danger lest his interest, his fear, his gratitude, or his tenderness, overpower his fidelity, and tempt him to conceal, if not to invent. There are many who think it an act of piety to hide the faults or failings of their friends, even when they can no longer suffer by their detection; we therefore see whole ranks of characters adorned with uniform panegyric, and not to be known from one another,...
Page 22 - In the romances formerly written, every transaction and sentiment was so remote from all that passes among men, that the reader was in very little danger of making any applications to himself; the virtues and crimes were equally beyond his sphere of activity; and he amused himself with heroes and with traitors, deliverers and persecutors, as with beings of another species, whose actions were regulated upon motives of their own, and who had neither faults nor excellencies in common with himself.
Page 51 - Evil into the mind of God or man May come and go, so unapproved, and leave No spot or blame behind...
Page 416 - Here the heart softens, and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to inquire whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not, at least, turn our eyes upon the gardens of pleasure; we approach them with scruple...
Page 56 - Yet by some such for tuitous liquefaction was mankind taught to procure a body at once in a high degree solid and transparent, which might admit the light of the sun, and exclude the violence of the wind ; which might extend the sight of the philosopher to new ranges of existence, and charm him at one time with the unbounded extent of the material creation, and at another with the endless subordination of animal life ; and, what is yet of more importance, might supply the decays of nature, and succour...
Page 267 - Happy the man - and happy he alone He who can call today his own, He who, secure within, can say 'Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have...
Page 415 - let the errors and follies, the dangers and escape of this day, sink deep into thy heart. Remember, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. We rise in the. morning of youth, full of vigour and full of expectation ; we set forward with spirit and hope, with...
Page 267 - There is certainly no greater happiness than to be able to look back on a life usefully and virtuously employed, to trace our own progress in existence, by such tokens as excite neither shame nor sorrow. Life, in which nothing has been done or suffered to distinguish one day from another, is to him that has passed it, as if it had never been, except that he is conscious how ill he has husbanded the great deposit of his Creator.
Page 283 - I espied on one hand of me a deep muddy river, whose heavy waves rolled on in slow, sullen murmurs. Here I determined to plunge, and was just upon the brink, when I found myself suddenly drawn back. I turned about and was surprised by the sight of the loveliest object I had ever beheld.
Page 382 - I have often thought that there has rarely passed a life of which a judicious and faithful narrative would not be useful.

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