1689

Isaac Newton
(*25. Dezember 1642jul. / 4. Januar 1643greg. in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth in Lincolnshire; † 20. März 1726jul. / 31. März 1727greg. (sic!)[1]in Kensington)

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"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (1855) by Sir David Brewster (Volume II. Ch. 27). Compare: "As children gath'ring pebbles on the shore", John Milton, Paradise Regained, Book iv. Line 330