Sunday, October 31, 2010

A great mind disdains to hold any thing by courtesy, and therefore never usurps what a lawful claimant may take away. He that encroaches on another's dignity, puts himself in his power; he is either repelled with helpless indignation, or endured by clemency and condescension.

Samuel Johnson, from his Lives of the Poets as quoted in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Depend upon it...if a man talks of his misfortunes, there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him; for where there is nothing but pure misery, there never is any recourse to the mention of it.

Samuel Johnson (1780) in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I have sat at home in Bolt-court, all summer, thinking to write the Lives, and a great part of the time only thinking. Several of them, however, are done, and I still think to do the rest....I would have gone to Lichfield if I could have had time, and I might have had the time if I had been active; but I have missed much, and done little.

Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, August 21, 1780 is Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Monday, October 11, 2010

Even a fool learns something once it hits him.

Homer, The Illiad

Sunday, October 10, 2010

There is nothing alive more agonized than man
of all that breathe and crawl across the earth.

Zeus, The Illiad (Book 17, line 514, Robert Fagles' translation)