No, Sir, claret is the liquor for boys; port for men: but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy. In the first place brandy will do soonest for a man what drinking can do for him.— James Boswell
The most cheerful James Boswell quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues.
It comforts and enlivens without the risks attendant on spirituous liquors. Gentle herb! Let the florid grape yield to thee. Thy soft influence is a more safe inspirer of social joy.
I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.
My father had declared a predilection for heirs general, that is, males and females indiscriminately.... I, on the other hand, had a zealous partiality for heirs male, however remote.
I am now to offer some thoughts upon that sameness or familiarity which we frequently find between passages in different authors without quotation. This may be one of three things either what is called Plagiarism, or Imitation, or Coincidence.
When a man is familiar with many people he must expect many disagreeable familiarizations.
I, who have no sisters or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends.
The pleasure of gratifying whim is very great. It is known only by those who are whimsical.
It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.
Quotation is more universal and more ancient than one would perhaps believe.
Melancholy cannot be clearly proved to others, so it is better to be silent about it.
In an orchard there should be enough to eat, enough to lay up, enough to be stolen, and enough to rot on the ground.
The connection between authors, printers, and booksellers must be kept up.
O charitable philosopher, I beg you to help me.
My mind is weak but my soul is strong. Kindle that soul, and the sacred fire shall never be extinguished.
When we know exactly all a man's views and how he comes to speak and act so and so, we lose any respect for him, though we may love and admire him.
If venereal delight and the power of propagating the species were permitted only to the virtuous, it would make the world very good.
We had some port, and drank damnation to the play and eternal remorse to the author.
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.
I have discovered that we may be in some degree whatever character we choose.
Besides, practice forms a man to anything.
A companion loves some agreeable qualities which a man may possess, but a friend loves the man himself.
That favorite subject, Myself.
I am sensible that my keenness of temper, and a vanity to be distinguished for the day, make me too often splash in life.... I amresolved to restrain myself and attend more to decorum.
One must be strict even in little things.
I find I journalize too tediously. Let me try to abbreviate.
Dr. Johnson ... sometimes employed himself in chymistry, sometimes in watering and pruning a vine, and sometimes in small experiments, at which those who may smile, should recollect that there are moments which admit of being soothed only by trifles.
All censure of a man's self is oblique praise.
Have a sense of piety ever on your mind, and be ever mindful that this is subject to no change, but will last you as long as life and support you in death. Elevate your soul by prayer and by contemplation without mystical enthusiasm.
In every picture there should be shade as well as light.
Friendship, "the wine of life," should, like a well-stocked cellar, be continually renewed; and it is consolatory to think, that although we can seldom add what will equal the generous first growths of our youth, yet friendship becomes insensibly old in much less time than is commonly imagined, and not many years are required to make it mellow and pleasant.
In every place, where there is any thing worthy of observation, there should be a short printed directory for strangers.
Writing a book I have found to be like building a house.
A man forms a plan, and collects materials. He thinks he has enough to raise a large and stately edifice; but after he has arranged, compacted and polished, his work turns out to be a very small performance. The authour however like the builder, knows how much labour his work has cost him; and therefore estimates it at a higher rate than other people think it deserves
The scent of Sloth tempts a smug man.
Writing a book I have found to be like building a house. A man forms a plan, and collects materials.
My definition of Man is, a Cooking Animal.
The beasts have memory, judgement, and all the faculties and passions of our mind, in a certain degree; but no beast is a cook....Man alone can dress a good dish; and every man whatever is more or less a cook, in seasoning what he himself eats.
I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically.
I make it a kind of pious rule to go to every funeral to which I am invited, both as I wish to pay a proper respect to the dead, unless their characters have been bad, and as I would wish to have the funeral of my own near relations or of myself well attended.
My curiosity to see the melancholy spectacle of the executions was so strong that I could not resist it, although I was sensible that I would suffer much from it.... I got upon a scaffold near the fatal tree so that I could clearly see all the dismal scene.... I was most terribly shocked, and thrown into a very deep melancholy.
But the question is, whether the animals who endure such sufferings of various kinds for the service and entertainment of man, would accept existence upon the terms on which they have it.
Drinking is in reality an occupation which employs a considerable portion of the time of many people; and to conduct it in the most rational and agreeable manner is one of the great arts of living.
I argued that the chastity of women was of much more consequence than that of men, as the property and rights of families depend upon it.
I am, I flatter myself, completely a citizen of the world.
In my travels through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Corsica, France, I never felt myself from home.
We must take our friends as they are.
Wine makes a man better pleased with himself.
I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others. Sometimes it does. But the danger is, that while a man grows better pleased with himself, he may be growing less pleasing to others. Wine gives a man nothing. It neither gives him knowledge nor wit; it only animates a man, and enables him to bring out what a dread of the company has presented.
I went to my father's at night. He spoke of poor John [Boswell's brother] with disgust. I was shocked and said, "He's your son, and God made him." He answered very harshly, "If my sons are idiots, can I help it?
After I went to bed I had a curious fancy as to dreams.
In sleep the doors of the mind are shut, and thoughts come jumping in at the windows. They tumble headlong, and therefore are so disorderly and strange. Sometimes they are stout and light on their feet, and then they are rational dreams.
If a man who is born to a fortune cannot make himself easier and freer than those who are not, he gains nothing.
My wife, who does not like journalizing, said it was leaving myself embowelled to posterity--a good strong figure. But I think itis rather leaving myself embalmed. It is certainly preserving myself.
Dr Johnson said, the inscription should have been in Latin, as every thing intended to be universal and permanent, should be.
My mind was, as it were, strongly impregnated with the Johnsonian ether.