28 SAMUEL JOHNSON
THAT the mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present mo- ment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity ; and that we forget the proper use of the time now in our power, to provide for the enjoyment of that which, perhaps, may never be granted us, has been frequently re- marked ; and as this practice is a commodious subject of raillery to the gay, and of declama- tion to the serious, it has been ridiculed with all the pleasantry of wit, and exaggerated with all the amplifications of rhetoric. Every in- stance, by which its absurdity might appear most flagrant, has been studiously collected ; it has been marked with every epithet of con- tempt, and all the tropes and figures have been called forth against it.
Censure is willingly indulged, because it always implies some superiority ; men please themselves with imagining that they have made a deeper search, or wider survey, than others, and detected faults and follies, which escape vulgar observation. And the pleasure of wantoning in common topics is so tempt- ing to a writer, that he cannot easily resign it; a train of sentiments generally received enables him to shine without labour, and to conquer without a contest. It is so easy to