YMMV: Samuel Johnson

  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Probably came when he heard that Lord Chesterfield, who had neglected Johnson in his early career, was putting it about that he had financed Johnson's dictionary. Johnson wrote a public letter disavowing any help at all:
    Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it: till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron, which providence has enabled me to do for myself.
    • By the way, in that dictionary, here's how Johnson defines "patron": "One who pays with insolence and is rewarded with flattery."