Oliver Wendell Holmes

Literary Birthday – 29 August – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born 29 August 1809, died 7 October 1894.


  1. Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
  2. Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
  3. Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
  4. To obtain a man’s opinion of you, make him mad.
  5. Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
  6. 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!
  7. Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.
  8. The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.
  9. 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.
  10. The mark of a civilised man is his willingness to re-examine his most cherished beliefs.
  11. The minute a phrase becomes current, it becomes an apology for not thinking accurately to the end of the sentence.
  12. Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.

Oliver Wendell Holmes was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. He was regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century. He is also recognised as an important medical reformer. He is the author of The Common Law.

Image source


Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 29th August 2013