Book Quotes – Samuel Johnson

“I have been long of opinion, that, instead of the tardy conveyance of ships and chariots, men might use the swifter migration of wings; that the fields of air are open to knowledge, and that only ignorance and idleness need crawl upon the ground.’

This hint rekindled the prince’s desire of passing the mountains; having seen what the mechanist had already performed, he was willing to fancy that he could do more; yet resolved to inquire further before he suffered hope to afflict him by disappointment. “I am afraid”, said he to the artist “that your imagination prevails over your skill, and that you now tell me rather what you wish than what you know. Every animal has his element assigned him; the birds have the air, and man and beasts the earth.” “So” replied the mechanist “fishes have the water, in which yet beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly; to swim is but to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is but to swim in a subtler. “

From Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson (1759)


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