Zitate von 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.
Zitate Samuel Johnson
„Wenn wir sehen, wie die Menschen altern und nach gewisser Zeit einer nach dem anderen sterben, Jahrhundert für Jahrhundert, dann können wir nur lachen über das Elixier, das die Verlängerung des Lebens auf über tausend Jahre verspricht; mit gleichem Recht ist der Lexikograph zu verspotten, der ohne das Beispiel einer Nation anführen zu können, die ihre Wörter und Ausdrücke vor Veränderlichkeit bewahrte, sich einbildet, sein Wörterbuch könne seine Sprache einbalsamieren, vor Verfälschung schützen und Verfall, und der meint, es stehe in seiner Macht, irdische Natur zu ändern oder die Welt mit einem Schlag von Verrücktheit, Eitelkeit und Affektiertheit zu befreien.“
„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.“
"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.“
"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."
"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."
— 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.
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Quelle: Works of Samuel Johnson
October 26, 1769, p. 174
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.
Letter, June 8, 1762 [to an unnamed recipient], p. 103
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.
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.
August 16, 1773
The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785)
Kontext: I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made.
— 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.
„Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country.“
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.
The Life of Dryden
Lives of the English Poets (1779–81)
Kontext: It is not by comparing line with line, that the merit of great works is to be estimated, but by their general effects and ultimate result. It is easy to note a weak line, and write one more vigorous in its place; to find a happiness of expression in the original, and transplant it by force into the version: but what is given to the parts may be subducted from the whole, and the reader may be weary, though the critick may commend. Works of imagination excel by their allurement and delight; by their power of attracting and detaining the attention. That book is good in vain, which the reader throws away. He only is the master, who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again; and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day.
„An individual may, indeed, forfeit his liberty by a crime; but he cannot by that crime forfeit the liberty of his children.“
September 23, 1777, p. 363
Kontext: It must be agreed that in most ages many countries have had part of their inhabitants in a state of slavery; yet it may be doubted whether slavery can ever be supposed the natural condition of man. It is impossible not to conceive that men in their original state were equal; and very difficult to imagine how one would be subjected to another but by violent compulsion. An individual may, indeed, forfeit his liberty by a crime; but he cannot by that crime forfeit the liberty of his children.
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.