It seems right that Samuel Johnson should be honored in my little blog this morning. Often referred to as Dr Johnson, this English writer made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. That’s right lexicographer. In 1709 he created the first dictionary of the English language, Samuel Johnson, was born in England.Johnson was a devout Anglican and has been described as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history.”
Words can be mightier than the sword. As Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in his play Richelieu, True, This! –
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! – itself a nothing! –
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! – Take away the sword –
States can be saved without it!
If we would use words more eloquently and purposefully we might deal with conflict more appropriately. As I mourn with other Americans at the deaths in the Washington DC Naval Yard, I pray for words to have more power than weapons. In the letter to James Chapter three there is quite a discourse on words and their power – for good and for ill.
So honor the name of a man of God and the creator of the english dictionary today by using words that have impact, beauty, and creativity.