The Life of Samuel Johnson

Boswell, James

Oxford University, 1960

p. 145

Johnson had not only a great fund of knowledge, but also “an extraordinary accuracy and flow of language.” How acquired? “He told [Sir Joshua Reynolds] that he had early laid it down as a fixed rule to do his best on every occasion, and in every company, to impart whatever he knew in the most forcible language he could put it in; and that by constant practice, and never suffering any careless expressions to escape him, or attempting to deliver his thoughts without arranging them in the clearest manner, it became habitual to him.”