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James Boswell Quotes


James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland; he is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson.
(1740 – 1795)

A companion loves some agreeable qualities which a man may possess, but a friend loves the man himself.
 

A good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.
 

A page of my journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion.
 

For my own part I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed: and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.
 

He who has provoked the lash of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it.
 

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.
 

I have discovered that we may be in some degree whatever character we choose. Besides, practice forms a man to anything.
 

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
 

I suppose no person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of this fragrant leaf than did Johnson.
 

If venereal delight and the power of propagating the species were permitted only to the virtuous, it would make the world very good.
 

It is not every man who can be exquisitely miserable, any more than exquisitely happy.
 

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.
[Death]
 

There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends.
 

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over. So in a series of kindnesses there is, at last, one which makes the heart run over.
[Friendship]
 

We must take our friends as they are.
 

What an insignificant life is this which I am now leading!