C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind and all the worse for the fishes.

O. W. Holmes.

The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man’s body.


The medicine increases the disease.


Learn from the beasts the physic of the field.


Time is generally the best doctor.


Some remedies are worse than the disease.


Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.


  • By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death
  • Will seize the doctor too.
  • Shakespeare.

  • So liv’d our sires, ere doctors learn’d to kill,
  • And multiplied with theirs the weekly bill.
  • Dryden.

  • Joy, temperance, and repose,
  • Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.
  • Longfellow.

    Physicians, of all men, are most happy; whatever good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth; and what faults they commit, the earth covereth.


    The disease and its medicine are like two factions in a besieged town; they tear one another to pieces, but both unite against their common enemy, nature.


  • Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
  • Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught,
  • The wise for cure on exercise depend;
  • God never made his work for man to mend.
  • Dryden.

  • Before the curing of a strong disease,
  • Even in the instant of repair and health,
  • The fit is strongest; evils that take leave,
  • On their departure most of all show evil.
  • Shakespeare.

    But nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor.


  • Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d,
  • Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
  • Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
  • And with some sweet oblivious antidote
  • Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
  • Which weighs upon the heart?
  • Therein the patient
  • Must minister to himself.
  • Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.
  • Shakespeare.