Quotes on Failure
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See also Success

50. Failure; Wit
"I have no more pleasure in hearing a man attempting wit and failing, than in seeing a man trying to leap over a ditch and tumbling into it."
Boswell: Life

1,449. Failure
"The pain of miscarriage is naturally proportionate to the desire of excellence."
Johnson: Rambler #194 (January 25, 1752)

1,491. Failure
"We not only are most sensible of the last impressions, but such is the unwillingness of mankind to admit transcendent merit, that though it be difficult to obliterate the reproach of miscarriages by any subsequent achievement, however illustrious, yet the reputation raised by a long train of success may be finally ruined by a single failure; for weakness or error will always be remembered by that malice and envy which it gratifies."
Johnson: Rambler #207 (March 10, 1752)

1,866. Failure; Fame; Humanity; Success; Writing
Success and miscarriage have the same effect in all conditions. The prosperous are feared, hated, and flattered; and the unfortunate avoided, pitied, and despised. No sooner is a book published than the writer may judge of the opinion of the world. If his acquaintance press around him in publick places, or salute from the other side of the street; if invitations to dinner come thick upon him, and those with whom he dines keep him to supper; if the ladies turn to him when his coat is plain, and the footmen serve him with attention and alacrity; he may be sure that his work has been praised by some leader of literary fashions.

Of declining reputation the symptoms are not less easily observed. If the author enters a coffee-house, he has a box to himself; if he calls at a bookseller's, the boy turns his back; and, what is the most fatal of all prognosticks, authors will visit him in a morning, and talk to him hour after hour of the malevolence of criticks, the neglect of merit, the bad taste of the age, and the candour of posterity.
Johnson: Idler #102 (March 29, 1760) Link

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