From The Life of Samuel Johnson (1771), by James Boswell
Talking of London, he observed, "Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists."And, in the interest of offering a counter to Cyril Connolly's ennui from the other day, I can't very well let this week conclude without offering up Johnson's most famous words on his adopted city:
The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it. . . . Why, Sir, you find no man at all intellectual who is willing to leave London: No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.