Tag Archives: Dr. Samuel Johnson

“The fault that I acknowledge in myself is to have descended to print anything in verse.” — John Donne

“So difficult and opaque it is, I am not certain what it is I print.” — first publisher of the work of John Donne It’s his birthday today. John Donne (1572-1631) was a poet and an Anglican priest (born a … Continue reading

Posted in Books, On This Day, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“Thy soul was like a Star and dwelt apart” — William Wordsworth on John Milton

Milton was born on this day in 1608. Although he left Oxford without completing his degree, he remained a thinker, a propagandist/pamphleteer, a scholar till the end of his days. The isolated poet, focused on self and personal emotion, would … Continue reading

Posted in Books, On This Day, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals.” — poet/writer/hater Jonathan Swift

“[He is] the most vigorous hater we’ve ever had in our literature.” — Edgell Rickword We’re not supposed to “hate”. “Hate” calls to mind tiki torches. Or “hate crimes.” But there is a productive kind of hate. A galvanizing hate. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, On This Day, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Language most shows a man. Speak that I may see thee.” — Ben Jonson

“O rare Benn Johnson.” — Jonson’s incorrectly-spelled epitaph in Westminster Abbey It’s his birthday today. Ben Jonson did everything. Plays, poems, satires, elegies, epigrams. His talent was wide and flexible. Everything he wrote feels inevitable. However, as Michael Schmidt writes … Continue reading

Posted in Books, On This Day, Theatre, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“When I aim at praise, they say I bite.” — Alexander Pope

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! -— Alexander Pope, from “Eloisa to Abelard” Alexander Pope was born on this day in 1688. He was so huge … Continue reading

Posted in On This Day, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“For I am of the seed of the WELCH WOMAN and speak the truth from my heart.” Happy Birthday, Poet Christopher Smart

“For in my nature I quested for beauty, but God, God hath sent me to sea for pearls.” — Christopher Smart, from “Jubilate Agno” Christopher Smart, born on this day in 1722, spent over 10 years of his life locked … Continue reading

Posted in On This Day, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

December 13: “his own unwillingness to go into solitude”

Excerpted from Christopher Morley’s A Book of Days: Being a Briefcase packed for his own Pleasure: DECEMBER 13, SUN. 1931 He was unwilling that I should leave him; and when I looked at my watch, and told him it was … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“dull”

Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made people think him GREAT. — Samuel Johnson on Thomas Gray, 1775

Posted in writers | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Samuel Johnson and the English Language

“The English Dictionary was written with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great; not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academick bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and … Continue reading

Posted in writers | Tagged | 3 Comments