Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

(Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Born: August 29, 1809
  • Died: October 8, 1894
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Writer & Physician









Oliver Wendell Holmes was an American physician, poet, and polymath based in Boston. A member of the Fireside Poets, he was acclaimed by his peers as one of the best writers of the day. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). He was also an important medical reformer. In addition to his work as an author and poet, Holmes also served as a physician, professor, lecturer and inventor and, although he never practiced it, he received formal training in law.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up. Miscellaneous
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. Trust ;Money, Coins & Minting
Stereograph Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture. The scraggy branches of a tree in the foreground run out at us as if they would scratch our eyes out Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men. Leaders & Leadership
A child's education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them! Music, Chants & Rapps
A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend. Society
A great calamity is as old as the trilobites an hour after it has happened.
A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience. Life
A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time. Time
A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide. Death
A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.
A woman never forgets her sex. She would rather talk with a man than an angel, any day.
Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold. Friendship
Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have - Cincinnati sounds worse.
Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way - and the fools know it.
Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
Don't be 'consistent', but be simply true.
Don't flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Friendship
Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet? Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.
Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads. History
Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.
Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else - very rarely to those who say to themselves, 'Go to, now, let us be a celebrated individual!'.
Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air. Life
Grow we must, if we outgrow all that loves us.
Have the courage to act instead of react.
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
I hate facts. I always say the chief end of man is to form general propositions - adding that no general proposition is worth a damn. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I like children; I like 'em, and I respect 'em. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by them. Respect
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived. Life ;Time
Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Life ;Religion & God
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
Love prefers twilight to daylight. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out. Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps
Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
Memory is a net: one that finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.
Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.
Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The Angel of Life winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection. Life
People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be 'consistent'.
Rough work, iconoclasm, but the only way to get at truth. Truth ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground-floor. But if a man hasn't got plenty of good common sense, the more science he has, the worse for his patient. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Simple people... are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.
Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall. Communication & Communications
Stillness of person and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding.
Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise. Friendship
The Amen of nature is always a flower. Nature
The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn't worth a damn.
The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. Women ;Religion & God
The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer. Romantic
The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.
The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.
The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.
There is no friend like an old friend who has shared our morning days, no greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise. Morning ;Friendship
To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. Truth
Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light. Truth
We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.
What a blessed thing it is, that Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left! Nature
Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Why can't somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?
Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future. Future
Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend. Friendship