Oliver Wendell Holmes Quotes

Oliver Wendell Holmes

US author & physician (1809 - 1894)

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The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.

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Greatness is not in were we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind, and somtimes agaisnt it - but sail we must. And not drift, nor lie at anchor.

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Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed.

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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.

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

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Life is a fatal complaint, and an eminently contagious one.

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

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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.

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

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Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.

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I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.

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Between two groups of men that want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds I see no remedy except force... It seems to me that every society rests on the death of men.

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When I think of talking, it is of course with a woman. For talking at its best being an inspiration, it wants a corresponding divine quality of receptiveness, and where will you find this but in a woman?

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Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.

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Beat a man with the strength of you argument, not with the strength of your arm.

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Every pursuit is great when greatly pursued.

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The life of the law has not been logic but experience.

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Death tugs at my ear and says: "Live, I am coming."

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Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.

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To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.

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