What a week for literary Birthdays! Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and today the ornery (and odoriferous, I might add) Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Englishman famous for his brilliance, his dictionary and his wit.
Just for the fun of it: I've declared today Dr. Samuel Johnson Day! If you will, include one of his sayings into your ordinary conversation and lift a glass to the old curmudgeon today.
Johnson was a self-proclaimed "...writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge." (Yeah, right.)
These are a few of his more memorable comments:
(My 'favorites' are the first four. The one about London I have engraved on a beautiful Wedgewood mug I bought years ago.)
"Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels."
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."
"Language is the dress of thoughts."
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
"We would all be idle if we could."
"A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good."
"A woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
Johnson observed, that "he did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the man was an attorney."
Talking about poetry: "...it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is."
"Depend on it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
The following comment suits me as a blogger. In fact, it probably suits most bloggers:
"I dogmatize and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight."
To read more about Dr. Johnson, please go here.