Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Sr.
1809
1894

American Physician, Professor and Dean of Medical School at Harvard, Man of Letters, Poet and Author publishing "Breakfast Table" Essays

Author Quotes

Dream on! Though Heaven may woo our open eyes,through their closed lids we look on fairer skies... Death only grasps; to live is to pursue - Dream on! there 's nothing but illusion true!

He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself. Imagine the author of the excellent piece of advice, \Know thyself,\” never alluding to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted existence!

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.

Project a principle full in the face of
obvious fact!

No families take so little medicine as
those of doctors.

Doomed to the pangs of an undeceived
self-estimate.

Don't make your moral staple consist of
the negative virtues.

Character is distinctly shown at the
age of four months.

Brain often runs away with the heart's
best blood.

Another privilege of talking is to
misquote.

Age and neglect united gradually.

Absolute, peremptory facts are bullies.

The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.

There never was an idea stated that woke men out of their stupid indifference but its originator was spoken of as a crank.

So from the heights of Will
Life's parting stream descends,
And, as a moment turns its slender rill,
Each widening torrent bends,
From the same cradle's side,
From the same mother's knee,
One to long darkness and the frozen tide,
One to the Peaceful Sea!

If a man has a genuine, sincere, hearty wish to get rid of his liberty, if he is really bent upon becoming a slave, nothing can stop him. And the temptation is to some natures a very great one. Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves that necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. In common life we shirk it by forming habits, which take the place of self-determination.

He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself. Imagine the author of the excellent piece of advice, "Know thyself," never alluding to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted existence! Why, the truths a man carries about with him are his tools; and do you think a carpenter is bound to use the same plane but once to smooth a knotty board with, or to hang up his hammer after it has driven its first nail? I shall never repeat a conversation, but an idea often. I shall use the same types when I like, but not commonly the same stereotypes. 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.

Call him not old whose visionary brain
holds o’er the post its undivided reign,
for him in vain the envious seasons roll,
who bears eternal summer in this soul.

Lord of all being, thronèd afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Center and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!

You inherit your notions from a set of priests that had no wives and no children, or none to speak of, and so let their humanity die out of them... It will take you a hundred or two more years to get decently humanized, after so many centuries of de-humanizing celibacy.

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children.

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. It is in their hearts that the "sentimental" religion some people are so fond of sneering at has its source. The sentiment of love, the sentiment of maternity, the sentiment of the paramount obligation of the parent to the child as having called it into existence, enhanced just in proportion to the power and knowledge of the one and the weakness and ignorance of the other, — these are the "sentiments" that have kept our soulless systems from driving men off to die in holes like those that riddle the sides of the hill opposite the Monastery of St. Saba, where the miserable victims of a falsely-interpreted religion starved and withered in their delusion.

Beliefs must be lived in for a good while, before they accommodate themselves to the soul's wants, and wear loose enough to be comfortable.

Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. How terrible is the one fact of beauty!

It is by little things that we know ourselves; a soul would very probably mistake itself for another, when once disembodied, were it not for individual experiences which differ from those of others only in details seemingly trifling.

Author Picture
First Name
Oliver Wendell
Last Name
Holmes, Sr.
Birth Date
1809
Death Date
1894
Bio

American Physician, Professor and Dean of Medical School at Harvard, Man of Letters, Poet and Author publishing "Breakfast Table" Essays