The works of Samuel Johnson

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Page 15 - Why this wild strain of imagination found reception so long in polite and learned ages, it is not easy to conceive ; but we cannot wonder that 'while readers could be procured, the authors were willing to continue it ; for when a man had by practice gained some fluency of language, he had no further care than to retire to his closet, let loose his invention, and heat his mind with incredibilities ; a book was thus produced without fear of criticism, without the toil of study, without knowledge of...
Page 299 - Thus, forlorn and distressed, he wandered . through the wild without knowing whither he was going, or whether he was every moment drawing nearer to safety or to destruction. At length, not fear but labour began to overcome him ; his breath grew short, and his knees trembled, and he was on the point of lying down, in resignation to his fate, when he beheld, through the brambles, the glimmer of a taper.
Page 301 - ... yet remains one effort to be made ; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted, that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors, and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. Go now, my son, to thy repose, commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence, and when the morning calls again to toil, begin anew thy journey and thy life.
Page 299 - He advanced towards the light, and, finding that it proceeded from the cottage of a hermit, he called humbly at the door, and obtained admission. The old man set before him such provisions as he had collected for himself, on which Obidah fed with eagerness and gratitude. When the repast was over,
Page 299 - He rose with confidence and tranquillity, and pressed on with his sabre in his hand, for the beasts of the desert were in motion, and on every hand were heard the mingled howls of rage and fear, and ravage and expiration ; all the horrors of darkness and solitude surrounded him ; the winds roared in the woods, and the torrents tumbled from the hills.
Page 298 - This uneasiness of his mind inclined him to lay hold on every new object, and give way to every sensation that might soothe or divert him. ' He listened to every echo, he mounted every hill for a fresh prospect, he turned aside to every cascade...
Page 18 - ... to teach the means of avoiding the snares which are laid by TREACHERY for INNOCENCE, without infusing any wish for that superiority with which the betrayer flatters...
Page 277 - If a life be delayed till interest and envy are at an end, we may hope for impartiality, but must expect little intelligence ; for the incidents which give excellence to biography are of a volatile and evanescent kind, such as soon escape the memory, and are rarely transmitted by tradition.
Page 192 - 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 18 - It is therefore not a sufficient vindication of a character, that it is drawn as it appears, for many characters ought never to be drawn; nor of a narrative, that the train of events is agreeable to observation and experience, for that observation which is called knowledge of the world will be found much more frequently to make men cunning than good.

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