Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson

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Page 79 - Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes, And pause awhile from letters, to be wise; There mark what ills the scholar's life assail, Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
Page 79 - Did no subverted empire mark his end? Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound? Or hostile millions press him to the ground? His fall was destin'd to a barren strand, A petty fortress, and a dubious hand; He left the name, at which the world grew pale To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
Page 156 - His dress was a rusty brown morning suit, a pair of old shoes by way of slippers, a little shrivelled wig sticking on the top of his head, and the sleeves of his shirt and the knees of his breeches hanging loose. A considerable crowd of people gathered round, and were not a little struck by this singular appearance.
Page 84 - ... principle, I give my vote for Mr. Johnson to fill that great and arduous post. And I hereby declare, that I make a total surrender of all my rights and privileges in the English language, as a free-born British subject, to the said Mr. Johnson, during the term of his dictatorship. Nay, more ; I will not only obey him like an old Roman, as my dictator, but, like a modern Roman, I will implicitly believe in him as my Pope, and hold him to be infallible while in the chair, but no longer. More than...
Page 85 - Many of the greatest men that ever lived have written biography. Boswell was one of the smallest men that ever lived, and he has beaten them all.
Page 26 - A kind of strange oblivion has overspread me, so that I know not what has become of the last year.
Page 92 - What would you have me retract ? I thought your book an imposture ; I think it an imposture still.
Page 84 - When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address; and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself Le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre; — that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all...
Page 111 - The characteristic peculiarity of his intellect was the union of great powers with low prejudices. If we judged of him by the best parts of his mind, we should place him almost as high as he was placed by the idolatry of Boswell ; if by the worst parts of his mind, we should place him even below Boswell himself.
Page 121 - When he talked, he clothed his wit and his sense in forcible and natural expressions. As soon as he took his pen in his hand to write for the public, his style became systematically vicious.

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