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Preface to a Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson
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By Samuel Johnson

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

Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom
mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science,
the pionier 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 authour
may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape
reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted
to very few.

I have, notwithstanding this discouragement, attempted a dictionary
of the English language, which, while it was employed in the
cultivation of every species of literature, has itself been hitherto
neglected; suffered to spread, under the direction of chance, into
wild exuberance; resigned to the tyranny of time and fashion; and
exposed to the corruptions of ignorance, and caprices of innovation.

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