Quotations From OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.


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  • 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.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. author, physician. The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table, ch. 12 (1858).

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  • People that 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.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. essayist, poet, physician. The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table, ch. 1 (1858).

    Read more quotations about / on: children, people
  • The morning cup of coffee has an exhiliration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. Over the Teacups, ch. 1 (1891).
  • What I call a good patient is one who, having found a good physician, sticks to him till he dies.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. Lecture, March 2, 1871, New York.
  • To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. Letter, May 27, 1889, to poet and reformer Julia Ward Howe on her seventieth birthday.

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  • A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).
  • Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 2 (1858).
  • 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.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).

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  • It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, ch. 10 (1872).
  • Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, ch. 8 (1872).

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