Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Quotes
Most popular Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Quotes
Take a music-bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body.
Science is the topography of ignorance.
The Amen! of Nature is always a flower.
Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
Man has his will, but woman has her way.
Have the courage to act instead of react.
Age, like distance, lends a double charm.
Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.
To obtain a man's opinion of you, make him angry.
Boston State-house is the hub of the solar system.
Youth longs and manhood strives, but age remembers.
Nothing is so commonplace as to wish to be remarkable.
Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.
Rough work, iconoclasm—but the only way to get at truth.
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
The great act of faith is when a man decides he is not God.
Lord, bid war's trumpet cease; fold the whole earth in peace.
And silence, like a poultice, comes To heal the blows of sound.
The longer we live, the more we find we are like other persons.
Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.
Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.
Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used till they are seasoned.
With most people life is like backgammon — half skill and half luck.
The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.
Knowledge and timber should not be much used until they are seasoned.
A man's opinions are generally of much more value than his arguments.
When once their slumbering passions burn, The peaceful are the strong!
Where we love is home. Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.
Our reverence is good for nothing if it does not begin with self-respect.
A mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
We must have a weak spot or two in a character before we can love it much.
Whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; Carve every word before you let it fall.
There's nothing that keeps its youth, so far as I know, but a tree and truth.
We must have a weak spot or two in our character before we can love others much.
Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.
Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.
Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.
Pick my left pocket of its silver dime, but spare the right—it holds my golden time!
Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.
It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
Society is always trying in some way or other to grind us down to a single flat surface.
If you mean to keep as well as possible, the less you think about your health the better.
Leverage is everything ... don't begin to pry till you have got the long arm on your side.
The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.
The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.
To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.
A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.
Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all.
Easy-crying widows take new husbands soonest; there is nothing like wet weather for transplanting.
Everyone is the chief personage, the hero, of his own baptism, his own wedding, and his own funeral.
The world's great people have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great people.
Nine times out of ten, the first thing a man's companion knows of his shortcomings is from his apology.
The advice of their elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.
A man's ignorance is as much his private property, and as precious in his own eyes, as his family Bible.
A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself. Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
The air we breathe is made up of four elements, at least: oxygen, nitrogen, carbonic acid gas, and knowledge.
A wise man recognizes the convenience of a general statement, but he bows to the authority of a particular fact.
Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.
An older author is constantly rediscovering himself in the more or less fossilized productions of his earlier years.
We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.
Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.
We are all omnibuses in which our ancestors ride, and every now and then one of them sticks his head out and embarrasses us.
All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called "facts." They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain.
Love is the master key that unlocks the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and most easily of all, the gate of fear.
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch. Nay, you may kick it about all day, and it will be round and full at evening.
Memory is a net: one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.
Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power; that is all.
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.
People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something and those who sit still and inquire, "Why wasn't it done the other way?"
Under bad manners, as under graver faults, lies very commonly an overestimate of our special individuality, as distinguished from our generic humanity.
The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hand on the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their music.
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!
A sick man that gets talking about himself, a woman that gets talking about her baby, and an author that begins reading out of his own book, never know when to stop.
A writer must make up his mind to the possible rough treatment of the critics, who swarm like bacteria whenever there is any literary material on which they can feed.
I never saw an author in my life, saving perhaps one, that did not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat on having his fur smoothed the right way by a skillful hand.
Many persons have died before they expire—died to all earthly longings, so that the last breath is only, as it were, the locking of the doors of the already deserted mansion.
I don't say embrace trouble. That's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.
A writer is so like a lover! And a talk with the right listener is so like an arm-in-arm walk in the moonlight with the soft heartbeat just felt through the folds of muslin and broadcloth.
Men are idolaters, and want something to look at and kiss and hug, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don't make it of wood, you must make it of words.
A powerful preacher is open to the same sense of enjoyment—an awful, tremulous, goose-flesh sort of state, but still enjoyment—that a great tragedian feels when he curdles the blood of his audience.
Here's a book full of words; one can choose as he fancies, As a painter his tint, as a workman his tool; Just think! all the poems and plays and romances Were drawn out of this, like the fish from a pool!
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.
I made a comparison at table some time since, which has often been quoted, and received many compliments. It was that of the mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
People that make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers [copper pennies] on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.
There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors with no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare reason and generalize, using labors of the fact collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, and predict. Their best illuminations come from above through the skylight.
The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius. Talent is a docile creature. It bows its head meekly while the world slips the collar over it. It backs into the shafts like a lamb. It draws its load cheerfully, and is patient of the bit and of the whip. But genius is always impatient of its harness; its wild blood makes it hard to train.
Where we love is home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
[There are] one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights.
Memory is a net; one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook; but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.
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.
Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hand on the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring our their music.
There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors, who have no aim beyond their facts, are one-story men. Two-story men compare, reason, generalize, using the labors of the fact-collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, predict; their best illumination comes from above, through the skylight.