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OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
American author, wit and poet
(1809 - 1894)
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Talk about conceit as much as you like, it is to human character what salt is to the ocean; it keeps it sweet and renders it endurable. Say rather it is like the natural unguent of the seafowl's plumage, which enables him to shed the rain that falls on him and the wave in which he dips. When one has had all his conceit taken out of him, when he has lost all his illusions, his feathers will soon soak through, and he will fly no more.
      - [Conceit]

Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their music.
      - [Talking]

Talking is one of the fine arts--the noblest, the most important, the most difficult--and its fluent harmonies may be spoiled by the intrusion of a single harsh note.
      - [Talking]

Tears, except as n private demonstration, are an ill-disguised expression of self-consciousness and vanity, which is inadmissible !n good society.
      - [Tears]

The amen! of nature is always a flower.
      - [Flowers]

The bigot is like the pupil of the eye, the more light you put upon it, the more it will contract.
      - [Bigotry]

The bore is the same eating dates under the cedars of Lebanon as over a plate of baked beans in Beacon Street.
      - [Bores]

The brain is the palest of all the internal organs, and the heart the reddest. Whatever comes from the brain carries the hue of the place it came from, and whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.
      - [Brain]

The brain women never interest us like the heart women; white roses please less than red.
      - [Intellect : Women]

The clear, cold question chills to frozen doubt;
  Tired of beliefs, we dread to live without;
    O then, if reason waver at thy side,
      Let humbler Memory be thy gentle guide,
        Go to thy birth-place, and, if faith was there,
          Repeat thy father's creed, thy mother's prayer.
      - [Doubt]

The ghost of many a veteran bill
  Shall hover around his slumbers.
      - [Debt]

The mind does not know what diet it can feed on until it has been brought to the starvation point.
      - [Mind]

The more we examine the mechanism of thought, the more we shall see that the automatic, unconscious action of the mind enters largely into all its processes. Our definite ideas are stepping-stones; how we get from one to the other, we do not know; something carries us; we do not take the step.
      - [Thought]

The morning light, which rains its quivering beams
  Wide o'er the plains, the summits, and the streams,
    In one broad blaze expands its golden glow
      On all that answers to its glance below.
      - [Sunrise]

The one thing that marks the true artist is a clear perception and a firm, bold hand, in distinction from that imperfect mental vision and uncertain touch which give us the feeble pictures and the lumpy statues of the mere artisans on canvas or in stone.
      - [Art]

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.
      - [Rights]

The sea drowns out humanity and time. It has no sympathy with either, for it belongs to eternity; and of that it sings its monotonous song forever and ever.
      - [Ocean]

The smaller the calibre of mind, the greater the bore of a perpetually open mouth.
      - [Bores]

The smallest word has some unguarded spot, and danger lurks in i without a dot.
      - [Words]

The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a deal longer.
      - [Kisses]

The summer's throbbing chant is done
  And mute the choral antiphon;
    The birds have left the shivering pines
      To flit among the trellised vines,
        Or fan the air with scented plumes
          Amid the love-sick orange blooms,
            And thou art here alone--alone--
              Sing, little bird! the rest have flown.
      - [Autumn]

The wisest woman you talk with is ignorant of something that you know; but an elegant woman never forgets her elegance.
      - [Elegance]

The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius. Talent is a docile creature. It bows its head meekly while the world slips the collar over it. It backs into the shafts like a lamb.
      - [Talent]

There are inscriptions on our hearts which, like that on, Dighton rock, are never to be seen, except at dead-low tide.
      - [Secrecy]

There are many things which we can afford to forget which it is yet well to learn.
      - [Education]


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