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Oliver Wendall Holmes

Oliver Wendall Holmes 1841-1935
American Jurist, Civil War Soldier, Justice of the Supreme Court 1902-1932
 Great Truths       

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.

The best part of our knowledge is that which teaches us where knowledge leaves off and ignorance begins.

Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave but not our hearts.

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

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

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

Have the courage to act instead of react.

Do not be bullied out of your common sense.

I like children and I respect them. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by them.

Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.

Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.

Simple people…are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.

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

To brag little, to lose well, to crow gently if in luck, to pay up, to own up, to shut up if beaten, are the virtues of a sportingman.

The Ultimate Good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas; the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get it self accepted in the competition of the market.

Science is a first rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.

To live is to function. That is all there is in living.

Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same sensibility; one is wind powered , and the other water powered, that is all.

Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates.

Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sum; but you have to make the romance, and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly.

One of the eternal conflicts out of which life is made up is that between the efforts of every man to get the most he can for his services and that of society disguised under the name of capital to get his services for the least possible return.

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.

Love prefers twilight to daylight.

Don't be 'consistent', but be simply true.

Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to score nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us.

Men are tattooed with their special beliefs like so many south sea islanders; but a real human heart with divine love in it beats with the same glow under all the patterns of all earth’s thousand tribes.

There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors, who have no aim beyond their facts, are one-story men. Two-story men compare, reason, generalize, using the labors of fact collectors as well as their own. Three story man idealize, imagine, predict; the best illumination comes from above, through the skylight.