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210 SAMUEL JOHNSON
in the same scene of appearances, in the same course of transactions ; we have to do what we have often done, and what we do not try, because we do not wish, to do much better ; we are told what we already know, and there- fore what repetition cannot make us know with greater certainty.
Never let criticisms operate upon your face or your mind ; it is very rarely that an author is hurt by his critics. The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket ; a very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed.
To Mrs. Thrale.
BOSWELL, with some of his troublesome kind- ness, has informed this family, and reminded me, that the i8th of September is my birth- day. The return of my birth-day, if I re- member it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape. I can now look back upon three score and four years, in which little has been done, and little has been enjoyed ; a life diversified by misery, spent part in the sluggishness of penury, and part under the violence of pain, in gloomy discontent or importunate distress.