The English author told his biographer that “A tavern chair is the throne of human felicity,” and he was one to know!
The quote references another belief held by Johnson: that hard work and success is the greatest joy that mankind will know:
Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes, and seeing them gratified. He that labors in any great or laudable undertaking has his fatigues first supported by hope, and afterwards rewarded by joy. To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity.
Taken together it sounds like savoring the satisfaction of a job well-done with a pint or two at the tavern was the lexicographer’s idea of perfect happiness, and we have to agree with him!
The photograph is thought to be the oldest photo of people drinking beer. The image was made in 1844 by the Scottish photographic studio Hill & Adamson, and it depicts Hill himself sharing glasses of Edinburgh ale with James Ballantine and Dr. George Bell.
There are few things that beat a glass of beer after a hard days work, where are some of your favorite places to savor the “reward of joy”?