Samuel Succors

Yesterday was the 308th year anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s birthday: We’ve arrived at
September 18 + 1, but I’m sure Samuel won’t mind if we hoist a proverbial glass today. Sam’s birthday is well worth our celebrating: He was a poet, collector of Shakespeare’s works, and creator of A Dictionary of the English Language. Published in 1755, it remained the standard until the Oxford English Dictionary was completed in 1928.

It took Johnson nine years to complete his two-volume tome (he rarely rose before noon). It was more a work of art than of reference. His pithy, witty definitions gave succor (help in times of distress — when else would I get to use this quaint word?) to many a struggling scribe in need of inspiration. Hence, a few examples of his witty definitions:

Dull:   Not exhilaterating (sic); not delightful; as, to make dictionaries is dull work

Mouth-friend:   Someone who pretends to be your friend

Stockjobber:   A low wretch who gets money by buying and selling shares

And of his wisdom:

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”
“Words are but the signs of ideas.”
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to
write. A man will turn over half a library to make a book.”
“The world is like a grand staircase, some are going up and some are going down.”
“No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his
scent with the flowers of spring.”
“If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
“What we ever hope to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.”
“The future is purchased by the present.”
“Adversity leads us to think properly of our state, and so is most beneficial to us.”
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

A personal favorite: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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