Quotes by Mark Twain

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer. more

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Temperate temperance is best; intemperate temperance injures the cause of temperance.

Switzerland is simply a large, lumpy, solid rock with a thin skin of grass stretched over it.
Obscurity and competence: That is the life that is worth living.
Public opinion is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.
Do not undervalue the headache. While it is at its sharpest it seems a bad investment; but when relief begins, the unexpired remainder is worth $4 a minute.
What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.
More than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage stop to pray before cutting his throat.
Few sinners are saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.
I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.
When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.
There is nothing in the world like a persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus.
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
I know all those people. I have friendly, social, and criminal relations with the whole lot of them.
I would rather have my ignorance than another man's knowledge, because I have so much of it.
Honesty is the best policy -- when there is money in it.
Damn the subjunctive. It brings all our writers to shame.
Where a blood relation sobs, an intimate friend should choke up, a distant acquaintance should sigh, a stranger should merely fumble sympathetically with his handkerchief.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Sacred cows make the best hamburger.
Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
When you cannot get a compliment in any other way pay yourself one.
Man is the only animal that blushes -- or needs to.
Be virtuous and you will be eccentric.
There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined.
If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are economical in its use.
Of all Gods creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.
Often the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth.
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
We like a man to come right out and say what he thinks, if we agree with him.
Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.
The master minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nation, and from the mass of the nation only -- not from its privileged classes.
The lack of money is the root of all evils.
His money is twice tainted: taint yours and taint mine.
The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
My parents were neither very poor nor conspicuously honest.
If He Tom Sawyer had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
To do something, say something, see something, before anybody else -- these are things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies cheap and trivial.
It is a good and gentle religion, but inconvenient.
To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did, I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times.
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Between us, we cover all knowledge; he knows all that can be known and I know the rest.
Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race -- the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people but if we tried to shut up the insane we would run out of building materials.
It isn't safe to sit in judgment upon another person's illusion when you are not on the inside. While you are thinking it is a dream, he may be knowing it is a planet.
A crank is someone with a new idea -- until it catches on.
Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.
The trouble with you Chicago people is that you think you are the best people down here, whereas you are merely the most numerous.
When one has tasted it [Watermelon] he knows what the angels eat.
Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.
The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession, but carrying a banner.
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man's character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.
Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.
There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.
Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.

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