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A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly

to it.

319 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 40. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

An author and his reader are not always of a mind. 320 Johnson: Works. VIII. 371. (Oxford edition, 1825.) A transition from an author's book to his conversation is too often like an entrance into a great city after a distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence, but, when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke.

321 Johnson: The Rambler. No. 14. Authors are like privateers, always fair game for one another. 322 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. IV. 191. Note 1. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) A writer who obtains his full purpose loses himself in his own lustre. Of an opinion which is no longer doubted, the evidence ceases to be examined. Of an art universally practised, the first teacher is forgotten. Learning, once made popular, is no longer learning: it has the appearance of something which we have bestowed upon ourselves, as the dew appears to rise from the field which it refreshes.

323 Johnson: Works. VII. 301. (Oxford edition, 1825.) He that is himself weary will soon weary the public. Let him therefore lay down his employment, whatever it be, who can no longer exert his former activity or attention; let him not endeavor to struggle with censure, or obstinately infest the stage till a general hiss commands him to depart.

324 Johnson: The Rambler. No. 207. Men of the pen have seldom any great skill in conquering kingdoms, but they have strong inclination to give advice. 325 Johnson: Works. VI. 260. (Oxford edition, 1825.) My friend was of opinion that when a man of rank appeared in that character, he deserved to have his merits handsomely allowed.


Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. 1781. (Routledge edition, Vol. iv. Ch. 4.)

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My reputation as an author is at the mercy of the reader, who lies under no other obligations to do me justice than those of religion and morality. . If a man calls me idiot or plagiary, I have no remedy, since by selling him the book I admit his privilege of judging and declaring his judgment, and can appeal only to other readers if I think myself injured.


Johnson: Works. V. 463. (Oxford edition, 1825.)

Never let criticisms operate upon your face or your mind; it is very rarely that an author is hurt by his critics. The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket. A very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed.

328 Johnson: Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson. From Original MSS. by Hester Lynch Piozzi, London, 1788. II. 110. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor.)

No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. 329 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. III. 19. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

The best part of every author is in general to be found in his book, I assure you. 330 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. I. 450. Note 1. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

The chief glory of every people arises from its authors. 331 Johnson: Works. V. 49. (Oxford edition, 1825.) 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 one book.


Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson.
(Routledge edition, Vol. ii. Ch. 10.)


The more intellectual people are, the readier will they attend to what a man tells them. If it is just they will follow it, be his practice what it will. No man practises so well as he writes.

333 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 210. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

The promises of authors are like the vows of lovers. 334 Johnson: Works. VII. 450. (Oxford edition, 1825.)

The reciprocal civility of authors is one of the most risible scenes in the farce of life.

335 Johnson: Works.

VI. 478. (Oxford edition, 1825.)

There is nothing more dreadful to an author than regret, compared with which reproach, hatred, and oppression are names of happiness.


Johnson: The Rambler. No. 2.

There is something noble in publishing truth, though it condemns one's self.


Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 210. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

There seems to be a strange affectation in authors of ap pearing to have done everything by chance.

338 Johnson: Works. VIII. 24. (Oxford edition, 1825.)

The worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing, but starving it is still worse; an assault may be unsuccessful, you may have more men killed than you kill, but if you starve the town you are sure of victory.


Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. III. 375. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.)

Writers commonly derive their reputation from their works; but there are works which owe their reputation to the character of the writer. The public sometimes has its favorites, whom it regards for one species of excellence with the honors due to another.

340 Johnson: Works. VI. 478. (Oxford edition, 1825.) Ready writing makes not good writing; but good writing brings on ready writing.


Ben Jonson: Timber; or, Discoveries made upon
Men and Matter.

A man starts upon a sudden, takes pen, ink, and paper, and, without ever having had a thought of it before, resolves within himself he will write a book. He has no talent at writing, but he wants fifty guineas.


La Bruyère: The Characters or Manners of the
Present Age. Ch. 15.

It is the glory and merit of some men to write well, and of others not to write at all.


La Bruyère: Characters. Of Works of Genius. (Rowe, Translator.)

To make a book is no less a trade than to make a clock; something more than wit is necessary to form an author. 344 La Bruyère: Characters. Of Works of Genius. (Rowe, Translator.)

Truth is the best guide to make a man write forcibly, naturally, and delicately.


La Bruyère: Characters. Of Works of Genius. (Rowe, Translator.)

Every great author is a great reformer; and the reform is either in thought or language.

346 Landor: Imaginary Conversations. Andrew Marvel and Bishop Parker.

Authors in general are stark mad on the subject of their own works.


Le Sage: Gil Blas. Bk. vii. Ch. 4. (Smollett, Translator.)

Hope never tells a more flattering tale than in the ear of a dramatic author.


Le Sage: Gil Blas. Bk. xi. Ch. 10.

(Smollett, Translator.)

Authors' lives in general are not uniform, they are strangely checkered by vicissitudes; and even were the outward circumstances uniform, the inward struggles must still be various.

349 George Henry Lewes: The Spanish Drama. Ch. 2. A great writer does not reveal himself here and there, but everywhere.


Lowell: My Study Windows. Chaucer.

If the works of the great poets teach anything, it is to hold mere invention somewhat cheap. It is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found, that is of consequence.


Lowell: My Study Windows.


The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure or limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of lucre and gain.


Martin Luther: Table Talk. Miscellaneous.
No. 911. (Hazlitt, Translator.)

He that cometh in print because he would be known, is like the fool that cometh into the market because he would be seen.


Lyly: Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit. To the
Gentlemen Readers.

A great writer is the friend and benefactor of his readers, and they cannot but judge of him under the deluding influence of friendship and gratitude.


Macaulay Essays. Lord Bacon. What a wonderful, what an almost magical boon, a writer of great genius confers upon us, when we read him intelligently. As he proceeds from point to point in his argument or narrative, we seem to be taken up by him, and carried from hill-top to hill-top, where, through an atmosphere of light, we survey a glorious region of thought, looking freely, far and wide, above and below, and gazing in admiration upon all the beauty and grandeur of the scene.


Horace Mann: Lectures on Education.

Lect. vi.

He who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things ought himself to be a true poem. 356 Milton: Apology for Smectymnuus.

The last thing that we find in making a book is to know what we shall put first.



Pascal: Thoughts. Ch. 9. No. 30.
Translator.) (Louandre edition.)

The name is the man; renown is the writer.


Joseph Roux: Meditations of a Parish Priest
Literature. Poets, 45. (Hapgood, Trans.)

Two sorts of writers possess genius: those who think, and those who cause others to think.


Joseph Roux: Meditations of a Parish Priest. Literature. Poets, 16. (Hapgood, Trans.) Every great writer may be at once known by his guiding the mind far from himself, to the beauty which is not of his creation, and the knowledge which is past his finding out.

360 Ruskin: Modern Painters. Preface. (Second edition.) We judge of the excellence of a rising writer, not so much by the resemblance of his works to what has been done before, as by their difference from it.

361 Ruskin: Modern Painters. Preface. (Second edition.) Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter.


Shakespeare: Twelfth Night. Act iii. Sc. 2.

Look in thy heart and write. 363

Sir Philip Sidney: Maxim. A quick ear and eye, an ability to discern the infinite suggestiveness of common things, a brooding, meditative spirit, are all that the essayist requires to start business with.

364 Alexander Smith: Dreamthorp. On the Writing of Essays.

A perilous trade, indeed, is that of a man who has to bring his tears and laughter, his recollections, his personal griefs and joys, his private thoughts and feelings, to market, to write them on paper, and sell them for money.


Thackeray: English Humorists.

Sterne and

I have got my spindle and my distaff ready, my pen and never doubting for an instant that God will send me

mind, flax.

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Timothy Titcomb (J. G. Holland): Gold-Foil.
I. An Exordial Essay.

The habit of writing clearly soon comes to the writer who is a severe critic to himself. 367

Trollope: Autobiography. Ch. 12. Cheerfulness is a characteristic of all great writers whose thoughts and imaginations have their spring in primitive feelings and affections, which are sound, vigorous, and unspotted with discontent and misanthropy.


E. P. Whipple: Success and its Conditions.

There is no surer sign of a bad heart than for a writer to find delight in degrading his species.

369 E. P. Whipple: Literature and Life. Wit and Humor. All authors whatever in their dedication are poets.

370 Wycherley: Love in a Wood; or, St. James's Park


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