Oliver Wendell Holmes
Quotations


To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

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.

Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.

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.

Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.

What I call a good patient is one who, having found a good physician, sticks to him till he dies.

What a comfort a dull but kindly person is, to be sure, at times! A ground-glass shade over a gas-lamp does not bring more solace to our dazzled eyes than such a one to our minds.

All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called "facts." They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain. Who does not know fellows that always have an ill-conditioned fact or two that they lead after them into decent company like so many bull-dogs, ready to let them slip at every ingenious suggestion, or convenient generalization, or pleasant fancy? I allow no "facts" at this table.

Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common person is detestable. It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wine-glass spoil a draught of fair water.

People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be "consistent."

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.

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.

The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.

Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide--that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life--are alike forbidden.

Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.

A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.

People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers 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.

How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!

The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.

Little-minded people's thoughts move in such small circles that five minutes' conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve.

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.

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.



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