In A Temple of Texts, William Gass writes:
In the preface to his Dictionary, Dr. Johnson whines (another persistent feature of the genre)—“It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good: to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward”—a whine, yes, but how perfectly composed.
I don't understand how these vices (that I bolded) involve only the lower employments, and not the elite professions? Isn't it unfair for Johnson to upbraid the former, and not the latter.
This first paragraph is followed by:
Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths of Learning and Genius, who press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.