36. Selected Essays from the "Rambler", "Adventurer" and "Idler" by Samuel Johnson
"That the mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but it always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity; and that we forget the proper use of the time now in our power . . ." (No. 2)
"To a community, sedition is a fever, corruption a gangrene, and idleness an atrophy."
"In the bottle discontent seeks for comfort, cowardice for courage, and bashfulness for confidence."
Wise words from a very wise man. This is NO JOKE, the whole time I was reading his essays, I kept on thinking of the Greek word for wisdom, sophron, to describe Samuel Johnson, and low and behold, one of the last essays I read was on prudence where the character's name is SOPHRON!
Johnson is well worth reading!
I had to giggle at this particular review of Johnson on Amazon:
Beef Up Your English June 16, 2007
By Captain Coo
OK, I'll admit it... When I dropped out of high school at the tender age of 14 for a career of glue-sniffing and joy-riding round the graffiti-sprayed council estates of my native Irvine, I was a 'seven-stone weakling' in terms of using the English language.
Brought up on a diet of comic books, tabloid newspapers, and football magazines (Shoot, Match Weekly, etc) and 'educated' in a Socialist-inspired 'comprehensive' school, I wasn't really equipped for my future career as an international journalist. But then something very strange and bewitching happened - I discovered 'THE DOCTOR,' as we acolytes refer to him, and started mentally working out on his long, finely wrought sentences.
At first, each seemingly interminable sentence was like trying to swim the English Channel - I thought I would drown before reaching the other end - but, somehow, I survived and found myself on dry land, confused and wet, but nevertheless alive and raring to have another go.
In the months that followed, the good doctor's erudite style became Mother's milk to me as I progressively beefed up my English. This enabled me to grab a place at the prestigious university of Thames Polytechnic and, then, on graduation, to a career writing for a wide range of excellent publications, including Riff Raff, Tokyo Notice Board, and the Wall Street Journal.
The great thing about THE DOCTOR's prose is that he uses a disproportionate number of abstract nouns, which means you have to mentally provide your own examples. At first this can be extremely challenging, but if you stick with it, your brain will become, as mine has, a potent and expressive tool.