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1 6 SAMUEL JOHNSON

mised to myself: a few wild blunders, and risible absurdities, from which no work of such multiplicity was ever free, may for a time fur- nish folly with laughter, and harden ignorance into contempt ; but useful diligence will at last prevail, and there never can be wanting some who distinguish desert ; who will consider that no dictionary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since, while it is hastening to publica- tion, some words are budding, and some falling away ; that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he, whose design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of what he does not under- stand ; that a writer will sometimes be hurried by eagerness to the end, and sometimes faint with weariness under a task, which Scaliger compares to the labours of the anvil and the mine ; that what is obvious is not always known, and what is known is not always present ; that sudden fits of inadvertency will surprise vigilance, slight avocations will seduce attention, and casual eclipses of the mind will darken learning; and that the writer shall often in vain trace his memory at the moment of need, for that which yesterday he knew with intuitive readiness, and which will come uncalled into his thoughts to-morrow.

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