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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Quotes

American physician, writer, and poet; father of US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
(1809 - 1894)

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A good and true woman is said to resemble a Cremona fiddle - age but increases its worth and sweetens its tone.

A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.

A man must get a thing before he can forget it.

A man over ninety is a great comfort to all his elderly neighbors: he is a picket-guard at the extreme outpost; and the young folks of sixty and seventy feel that the enemy must get by him before he can come near their camp.
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A man's opinions are generally of much more value than his arguments.

A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.
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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.

A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times. It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of associations.

Ah, pensive scholar, what is fame? A fitful tongue of leaping flame; A giddy whirlwind's fickle gust, That lifts a pinch of mortal dust; A few swift years, and who can show Which dust was Bill, and which was Joe?

All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called "facts." They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain.

All is holy where devotion kneels.

All of us love companionship and sympathy; some of us may love them too much. All of us are more or less imaginative in our theology.

An artist that works in marble or colors has them all to himself and his tribe, but the man who moulds his thoughts in verse has to employ the materials vulgarized by everybody's use, and glorify them by his handling.

And when you stick on conversation's burs, Don't strew your pathway with those dreadful urs.

Apology is only egotism wrong side out. - Nine times out of ten the first thing a man's companion knows of his shortcomings is from his apology.

As vessels starting from ports thousands of miles apart pass close to each other in the naked breadth of the ocean, nay, sometimes even touch in the dark.

Ay, here her tattered ensign down! Long has it waved on high, And many an eye has danced to see That banner in the sky.

Be polite and generous, but don't undervalue yourself. You will be useful, at any rate; you may just as well be happy, while you are about it.

Beware of making your moral staples consist of the negative virtues. - It is good to abstain, and to teach others to abstain, from all that is sinful or hurtful. - But making a business of it leads to emaciation of character unless one feeds largely on the more nutritious diet of active benevolence.

Boston State-house is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crow-bar.

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