Hazard disgrace

In a master class, director Walter Hill tried to summon a quote from memory:

There is a great quote I’ll get wrong of Samuel Johnson, the English poet and essayist, that: ‘We come to the arena uncalled, to seek our fortune and hazard disgrace. That’s the game, those are the rules.’

Hill was correct: he got the quote wrong. The original, by Johnson, is this (source):

He that writes may be considered as a kind of general challenger, whom every one has a right to attack; since he quits the common rank of life, steps forward beyond the lists, and offers his merit to the public judgement. To commence author is to claim praise, and no man can justly aspire to honour, but at the hazard of disgrace.

However, both versions are lovely, and in some ways Hill's version is more succinct and memorable.

Remember both next time you write something and many people disagree with you, because if you offer an opinion online, through a blog or on Twitter, and no one disagrees with you, it's probably because no one read it.