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Samuel Johnson

Geburtstag: 18. September 1709
Todesdatum: 13. Dezember 1784

Samuel Johnson , wegen seiner Gelehrsamkeit meist Dr. Johnson genannt , war ein englischer Gelehrter, Lexikograf, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Kritiker. Er ist nach William Shakespeare der meistzitierte englische Autor und war im 18. Jahrhundert die wichtigste Person im literarischen Leben Englands, vergleichbar mit Gottsched in Deutschland.

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Samuel Johnson

Zitate Samuel Johnson

„Patriotismus ist die letzte Zuflucht des Halunken.“

—  Samuel Johnson, London

"The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D." von James Boswell, Eintrag vom 7. April 1775. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1791. Band 1, S. 211
Original engl. "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

„Eine Frau, die versucht zu predigen, ist wie ein Hund, der versucht, auf den Hinterbeinen zu laufen. Es klappt nicht gut, aber man ist überrascht, dass es überhaupt funktioniert.“

—  Samuel Johnson, London

"The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D." von James Boswell, Eintrag vom 31. Juli 1763. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1791. Band 1, S. 112
Original engl. "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
Quelle: Übersetzung Wikiquote

„Wenn jemand Londons überdrüssig ist, ist er des Lebens überdrüssig; denn in London hat man alles, was das Leben bieten kann.“

—  Samuel Johnson, London

"The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D." von James Boswell, Eintrag vom 20. September 1777. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1791. Band 2, S. 160
Original engl. "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

„Hope is necessary in every condition.“

—  Samuel Johnson, The Rambler

No. 67 (6 November 1750)
The Rambler (1750–1752)
Kontext: Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, of sickness, or captivity, would, without this comfort, be insupportable; nor does it appear that the happiest lot of terrestrial existence can set us above the want of this general blessing; or that life, when the gifts of nature and of fortune are accumulated upon it, would not still be wretched, were it not elevated and delighted by the expectation of some new possession, of some enjoyment yet behind, by which the wish shall at last be satisfied, and the heart filled up to its utmost extent.

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„It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament, who is not a patriot.“

—  Samuel Johnson

The Patriot (1774)
Kontext: It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament, who is not a patriot. No other man will protect our rights: no other man can merit our confidence.
A patriot is he whose publick conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has, for himself, neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest.

„Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments“

—  Samuel Johnson, The Rambler

No. 163 (8 October 1751)
The Rambler (1750–1752)
Kontext: Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments; any enlargement of wishes is therefore equally destructive to happiness with the diminution of possession, and he that teaches another to long for what he never shall obtain is no less an enemy to his quiet than if he had robbed him of part of his patrimony.

„Ye Fops, be silent: and ye Wits, be just.“

—  Samuel Johnson

The Tragedy of Irene (1749), Prologue
Kontext: Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail,
Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain.
With merit needless, and without it vain.
In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust:
Ye Fops, be silent: and ye Wits, be just.

„Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country.“

—  Samuel Johnson

The Patriot (1774)
Kontext: Some claim a place in the list of patriots, by an acrimonious and unremitting opposition to the court. This mark is by no means infallible. Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country.

„Strange! that this general fraud from day to day
Should fill the world with wretches undetected.“

—  Samuel Johnson

The Tragedy of Irene (1749), Act III, Sc. 2
Kontext: To-morrow's action! Can that hoary wisdom,
Borne down with years, still doat upon tomorrow!
That fatal mistress of the young, the lazy,
The coward, and the fool, condemn'd to lose
A useless life in waiting for to-morrow,
To gaze with longing eyes upon to-morrow,
Till interposing death destroys the prospect
Strange! that this general fraud from day to day
Should fill the world with wretches undetected.
The soldier, labouring through a winter's march,
Still sees to-morrow drest in robes of triumph;
Still to the lover's long-expecting arms
To-morrow brings the visionary bride.
But thou, too old to hear another cheat,
Learn, that the present hour alone is man's.

„Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.“

—  Samuel Johnson, buch A Dictionary of the English Language

Preface http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/preface.html
A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
Kontext: It is the fate of those, who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.

„Sir, what is Poetry? Why, Sir, 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.“

—  Samuel Johnson

Letter to James Macpherson, 20 June 1778. (Quotation used as epigram to Władysław Tatarkiewicz, "Dwa pojęcia poezji" ("Two Concepts of Poetry"), in Tatarkiewicz's book, Parerga, Warsaw, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1978, pp. 20–38.)

„Learn, that the present hour alone is man's.“

—  Samuel Johnson

The Tragedy of Irene (1749), Act III, Sc. 2
Kontext: To-morrow's action! Can that hoary wisdom,
Borne down with years, still doat upon tomorrow!
That fatal mistress of the young, the lazy,
The coward, and the fool, condemn'd to lose
A useless life in waiting for to-morrow,
To gaze with longing eyes upon to-morrow,
Till interposing death destroys the prospect
Strange! that this general fraud from day to day
Should fill the world with wretches undetected.
The soldier, labouring through a winter's march,
Still sees to-morrow drest in robes of triumph;
Still to the lover's long-expecting arms
To-morrow brings the visionary bride.
But thou, too old to hear another cheat,
Learn, that the present hour alone is man's.

„It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.“

—  Samuel Johnson

October 26, 1769, p. 174
Vol II
Kontext: It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.

„Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords“

—  Samuel Johnson

Letter, June 8, 1762 [to an unnamed recipient], p. 103
Vol I
Kontext: Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated not by reason, but by desire; expectation raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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