Quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living.

A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
The greatest act of faith is when a man understands he is not God.
Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
The mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort.
Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.
A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.
Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.
The Amen of nature is always a flower.
Even the wisest woman you talk to is ignorant of something you may know, but an elegant woman never forgets her elegance.
People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be consistent.
Old books, you know well, are books of the world's youth, and new books are the fruits of its age.
As life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at the peril of being not to have lived.
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at the touch, nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.
A page of history is worth a pound of logic.
Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.
Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.
Rough work, iconoclasm, but the only way to get at truth.
Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all.
This is a court of law young man, not a court of justice.
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.
People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, why wasn't it done the other way?
Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children.
A person is always startled when he hears himself called old for the first time.
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Every calling is great when greatly pursued.
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
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.
It is very lonely sometimes, trying to play God.
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.
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.
The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.
Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
Apologizing.--A very desperate habit,--one that is rarely cured. Apology is only egotism wrong side out. Nine times out of ten, the first thing a man's companion knows of his shortcoming is from his apology. It is mighty presumptuous on your part to suppose your small failures of so much consequence that you must make a talk about them.
What I call a good patient is one who, having found a good physician, sticks to him till he dies.
A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!
The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.
Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.
Good Americans when they die, go to Paris.
Age, like distance lends a double charm.
The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.
If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it around. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say: meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it, and had better be on speaking terms with it.
The minute a phrase, becomes current, it becomes an apology for not thinking accurately to the end of the sentence.
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.
Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.
How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!
Young men know the rules, but old men know the exceptions.
And Silence, like a poultice, comes to heal the blows of sound.
The man who is always worrying whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn't worth a damn.
The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
Man is born a predestined idealist, for he is born to act. To act is to affirm the worth of an end, and to persist in affirming the worth of an end is to make an ideal.

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