Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and sayings by O. Henry on art, fate, adventure, people, destiny, poetry, war, love, sugar-coating, adversity, pills, communication and silence.

89 O. Henry Quotes For Passionate Readers

Quick Facts

Famous As: Short Story Writer

Born On: September 11, 1862

Died On: June 5, 1910

Born In: Greensboro, North Carolina

Died At Age: 47

William Sydney Porter, famous as O. Henry, was a prolific American short story writer. His stories and writings are known for their surprise endings. Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, he was an avid reader and spent his major time reading, everything from dime novels to classics. Some of his famous collections include ‘The Four Millions,’ ‘Heart of The West,’ ‘Cabbages and Kings,’ ‘The Trimmed Lamp,’ ‘Roads of Destiny,’ ‘The Gentle Grafter,’ ‘Options,’ and ‘The Voice of The City,’ amongst various others. Here is a collection of quotes and sayings by O. Henry which have been curated from his writings, stories, thoughts, poems, etc. Read through the compilation of notable and quotable quotes and thoughts by O. Henry on service, lights, unknown, achieve, environmental, smiles, farmer, happy, old-days, women, children, funny, nature, royal, American, business, fortune etc.

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When I see a shipwreck, I like to know what caused the disaster...I learned nothing but the glow that wrapped her face when the soup came. That's the story.

O. Henry

Bohemia is nothing more than the little country in which you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship in it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal archives and treasure and move away beyond the hills.

O. Henry

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.

O. Henry

If man knew how women pass the time when they are alone, they'd never marry.

O. Henry

Broadway - the great sluice that washes out the dust of the gold-mines of Gotham.

O. Henry

If there was ever an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptouwn on the Hudson called New York

O. Henry

It's said that love makes the world go around. Let me tell you, the announcement lacks verification. It's the wind from the dinner horn that does it.

O. Henry

Whenever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines.

O. Henry

Young artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pictures for magazine stories that young authors write to pave their way to Literature.

O. Henry

History is bright and fiction dull with homely men who have charmed women.

O. Henry

By rights you're a king. If I was you, I'd call for a new deal.

O. Henry

Except in streetcars one should never be unnecessarily rude to a lady.

O. Henry

My advice to you, if you should ever be in a hold up, is to line up with the cowards and save your bravery for an occasion when it may be of some benefit to you.

O. Henry

There is this difference between the grief of youth and that of old age; youth's burden is lightened by as much of it as another shares; old age may give and give, but the sorrow remains the same.

O. Henry

O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

O. Henry

What else can you expect from a town thats shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?

O. Henry

He studied cities as women study their reflections.

O. Henry

Women's weapon, water-drops.

O. Henry

A burglar who respects his art always takes his time before taking anything else.

O. Henry

Those whom we first love we seldom marry

O. Henry

Perhaps there is no happiness in life so perfect as the martyr's.

O. Henry

Whenever he saw a dollar in another man's hands he took it as a personal grudge, if he couldn't take it any other way.

O. Henry

Men to whom life had appeared as a reversible coat - seamy on both sides.

O. Henry

It gives men courage and ambition and the nerve for anything. It has the colour of gold, is clear as a glass and shines after dark as if the sunshine were still in it.

O. Henry

East is East, and West is San Francisco

O. Henry

He seemed to be made of sunshine and blood-red tissue and clear weather.

O. Henry

The magi, as you know, were wise men wonderfully wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.

O. Henry

What is the world at its best but a little round field of the moving pictures with two walking together in it?

O. Henry

Now, girls, if you want to observe a young man hustle out after a pick and shovel, just tell him that your heart is in some other fellow's grave. Young men are grave-robbers by nature.

O. Henry

In the Big City a man will disappear with the suddenness and completeness of the flame of a candle that is blown out.

O. Henry

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl.

O. Henry

Greenwich Village... the village of low rents and high arts.

O. Henry

Bolivar cannot carry double

O. Henry

We may achieve climate, but weather is thrust upon us.

O. Henry

A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience.

O. Henry

Humans were denied the speech of animals. The only common ground of communication upon which dogs and men can get together is in fiction.

O. Henry

There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavor of life until he has known poverty, love, and war.

O. Henry

Love and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man's starving!

O. Henry

A holiday in a new dress—can earth offer anything more enchanting?

O. Henry

By nature and doctrines I am addicted to the habit of discovering choice places wherein to feed.

O. Henry

It'll be a great place if they ever finish it.

O. Henry

All great men have declared that they owe their sucess to the aid and encouragement of some brilliant woman.

O. Henry

Of habit, the power that keeps the earth from flying to pieces; though there is some silly theory of gravitation.

O. Henry

If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.

O. Henry

The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey.

O. Henry

This fair but pitiless city of Manhattan was without a soul ... its inhabitants were manikins moved by wires and springs.

O. Henry

It couldn't have happened anywhere but in little old New York.

O. Henry

East is East, and West is San Francisco, according to Californians. Californians are a race of people; they are not merely inhabitants of a State.

O. Henry

When a man begins to be hilarious in a sorrowful way you can bet a million that he is dyeing his hair.

O. Henry

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

O. Henry

When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard.

O. Henry

If you live in an atmosphere of luxury, luxury is yours whether your money pays for it, or another's.

O. Henry

She plucked from my lapel the invisible strand of lint (the universal act of woman to proclaim ownership).

O. Henry

Most wonderful of all are words, and how they make friends one with another.

O. Henry

She had become so thoroughly annealed into his life that she was like the air he breathed--necessary but scarcely noticed.

O. Henry

I wanted to paint a picture some day that people would stand before and forget that it was made of paint. I wanted it to creep into them like a bar of music and mushroom there like a soft bullet.

O. Henry

There are a few editor men with whom I am privileged to come in contact. It has not been long since it was their habit to come in contact with me. There is a difference.

O. Henry

It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.

O. Henry

Turn up the lights. I don't want to go home in the dark.

O. Henry

To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships.

O. Henry

Write what you like; there is no other rule.

O. Henry

There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.

O. Henry

I've got some of my best yarns from park benches, lamp posts and newspaper stands.

O. Henry

You can't appreciate home till you've left it, money till it's spent, your wife till she's joined a woman's club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.

O. Henry

Each of us, when our day's work is done, must seek our ideal, whether it be love or pinochle or lobster à la Newburg, or the sweet silence of the musty bookshelves.

O. Henry

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.

O. Henry

I'll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2.

O. Henry

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

O. Henry

Fortune is a prize to be won. Adventure is the road to it. Chance is what may lurk in the shadows at the roadside.

O. Henry

A good story is like a bitter pill, with the sugar coating inside of it.

O. Henry

No friendship is an accident.

O. Henry

If a person has lived through war, poverty and love, he has lived a full life

O. Henry

It ain't the roads we take; it's what's inside of us that makes us turn out the way we do.

O. Henry

We can't buy one minute of time with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer.

O. Henry

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.

O. Henry

The most notable thing about Time is that it is so purely relative. A large amount of reminiscence is, by common consent, conceded to the drowning man; and it is not past belief that one may review an entire courtship while removing one's gloves.

O. Henry

All of us have to be prevaricators, hypocrites, and liars every day of our lives; otherwise the social structure would fall into pieces the first day. We must act in one another's presence just as we must wear clothes. It is for the best

O. Henry

There is no well defined boundary line between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in the one domain and sometimes in the other.

O. Henry

Yes, I get dry spells. Sometimes I can't turn out a thing for three months. When one of those spells comes on I quit trying to work and go out and see something of life. You can't write a story that's got any life in it by sitting at a writing table and thinking. You've got to get out into the streets, into the crowds, talk with people, and feel the rush and throb of real life-that's the stimulant for a story writer.

O. Henry

I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.

O. Henry

In time truth and science and nature will adapt themselves to art. Things will happen logically, and the villain be discomfited instead of being elected to the board of directors. But in the meantime fiction must not only be divorced from fact, but must pay alimony and be awarded custody of the press despatches.

O. Henry

There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.

O. Henry

But the best, in my opinion, was the home life in the little flat--the ardent, voluble chats after the day's study; the cozy dinners and fresh, light breakfasts; the interchange of ambitions--ambitions interwoven each with the other's or else inconsiderable--the mutual help and inspiration; and--overlook my artlessness--stuffed olives and cheese sandwiches at 11 p.m.

O. Henry

There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavour of life until he has known poverty, love and war. The justness of this reflection commends it to the lover of condensed philosophy. The three conditions embrace about all there is in life worth knowing. A surface thinker might deem that wealth should be added to the list. Not so. When a poor man finds a long-hidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through a rip into his vest lining, he sounds the pleasure of life with a deeper plummet than any millionaire can hope to cast.

O. Henry

But how is it now? All we get is orders; and the laws go out of the state. Them legislators set up there at Austin and don't do nothing but makes laws against kerosene oil and schoolbooks being brought into the state. I reckon they was afraid some man would go home some evening after work and light up and get an education and go to work and make laws to repeal aforesaid laws.

O. Henry

Take of London fog 30 parts; malaria 10 parts, gas leaks 20 parts, dewdrops gathered in a brickyard at sunrise 25 parts; odor of honeysuckle 15 parts. Mix. The mixture will give you an approximate conception of a Nashville drizzle.

O. Henry

[A]ll of life, as we know it, moves in little, unavailing circles. More justly than to anything else, it can be likened to the game of baseball. Crack! we hit the ball, and away we go. If we earn a run (in life we call it success) we get back to the home plate and sit upon a bench. If we are thrown out, we walk back to the home plate -- and sit upon a bench.

O. Henry

You'd think New York people was all wise; but no, they can't get a chance to learn. Every thing's too compressed. Even the hayseeds are bailed hayseeds. But what else can you expect from a town that's shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?

O. Henry

In dress, habits, manners, provincialism, routine and narrowness, he acquired that charming insolence, that irritating completeness, that sophisticated crassness, that overbalanced poise that makes the Manhattan gentleman so delightfully small in its greatness.

O. Henry