Humorous Quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes's
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
- All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called “facts.”
- I am afraid you do not study logic at your school, my dear. It does not follow that I wish to be pickled in brine because I like a saltwater plunge at Nahant.
- 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.
- Even in common people, conceit has the virtue of making them cheerful; the man who thinks his wife, his baby, his house, his horse, his dog, and himself severally unequaled, is almost sure to be a good-humored person, though liable to be tedious at times.
- People that make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.
- It is a rule I have long followed, to tell my worst thoughts to my minister, and my best thoughts to the young people I talk with.
- Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind over tasked.
- A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
- Man has his will, - but woman has her way.
- Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
- I never saw an author in my life – saving, perhaps, one - that did not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat (Felis Catus, Linn.) on having his fur smoothed in the right way by a skillful hand.
- How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!
- All lecturers, all professors, all schoolmasters, have ruts and grooves in their minds into which their conversation is perpetually sliding.
- I try his head occasionally as housewives try eggs, - give it an intellectual shake and hold it up to the light, so to speak, to see if it has life in it, actual or potential, or only contains lifeless albumen.
- I know well enough that there are some of you who had a great deal rather see me stand on my head than use it for any purpose of thought.
- Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one in wind-power, and the other water-power.
- Good feeling helps society to make liars of most of us, - not absolute liars, but such careless handlers of truth that its sharp corners get terribly rounded.
- Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
- Give us the luxuries of life, and we will dispense with its necessaries.
- Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
- There are companies of men of genius into which I sometimes go, where the atmosphere of intellect and sentiment is so much more stimulating than alcohol, that, if I thought fit to take wine, it would be to keep me sober.
- Don’t think I undervalue the proper use and application of a cant word or phrase. It adds piquancy to conversation, as a mushroom does to a sauce. But it is no better than a toadstool, odious to the sense and poisonous to the intellect, when it spawns itself all over the talk of men and youths capable of talking, as it sometimes does.
- A man is born a dandy, as he is born a poet. There are heads that can't wear hats; there are necks that can't fit cravats; there are jaws that can't fill out collars.
- Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.
- I only ask that Fortune send
A little more than I shall spend.
- Better too few words, from the woman we love, than too many: while she is silent, Nature is working for her; while she talks, she is working for herself.
- Travelers change their guineas but not their characters. The bore is the same eating dates under the cedars of Lebanon, as over a plate of baked beans in Beacon Street.
- Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else.
- You may possibly think me too candid, and even accuse me of incivility; but let me assure you that I am not half so plain-spoken as Nature, nor half so rude as Time.
- You may set it down as a truth which admits of few exceptions, that those who ask your opinion really want your praise, and will be contented with nothing else.
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