TO MANY who did not come under the direct influence of William Osler, his impact on physicians of his period has been something of a mystery. Those who knew him at first hand, and this included all who knew him even briefly, so warm was the glow of his presence, were a devoted, almost an apostolic band. If their zeal was at times overlavish, their motivation was honest. To the present generation of physicians, whose sharp focus on the mundane aspect of science has dulled the appetite for hero worship and who pay scant tribute to the great spirits of their own time, a pause to look backward may bring some insight into the personality of a noble physician, whose greatness lay in what he was rather than in what he did. How better than by his words can we know him?
A collection of bedside epigrams,1 the "oslerisms"