Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–94)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1090
AUTHOR: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–94)
QUOTATION: O Damsel Dorothy! Dorothy Q.!
Strange is the gift that I owe to you;
Such a gift as never a king
Save to daughter or son might bring,—
All my tenure of heart and hand,
All my title to house and land;
Mother and sister and child and wife
And joy and sorrow and death and life!
ATTRIBUTION: OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, “Dorothy Q.,” stanza 5, The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, p. 187 (1975).

Dorothy Quincy was Holmes’s great-grandmother, and, as he explained in a head-note to the poem, pp. 186–87, “the daughter of Judge Edmund Quincy, and the aunt of Josiah Quincy, junior, the young patriot and orator who died just before the American Revolution, of which he was one of the most eloquent and effective promoters.”