It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of lifeto be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage or punished for neglect Among these unhappy mortals isthe writer of dictionaries Every other author mayaspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach.Samuel known as Dr Johnson Johnson: 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language, preface.
But these were the dreams of a poet doomed at last to wake a lexicographer.Samuel known as Dr Johnson Johnson: 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language, preface.
It is the fate of those, who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.samuel johnson: Preface
If only there were a lexicographer of Liang Shih-ch'iu's ability who also had the perspicuity to arrange his dictionary by sound rather than radical! ... No wonder most of us are so sour and gray by the time we reach fifty! The amount of time consumed and the spirit expended in this sort of meaningless, not to mention destructive, type of activity is beyond calculation.victor h. mair: The Need for an Alphabetically Arranged General Usage Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese (February 1986)
Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first.Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)