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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One may make their house a palace of sham, or they can make it a home, a refuge.

By law of periodical repetition, everything which has happened once must happen again and again -- and not capriciously, but at regular periods, and each thing in its own period, not another's and each obeying its own law.
The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
A crime persevered in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law.
Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished speculator in lands and mines this remark: -- I wasn't worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions of dollars.
Why was the human race created? Or at least why wasn't something creditable created in place of it? God had His opportunity. He could have made a reputation. But no, He must commit this grotesque folly -- a lark which must have cost Him a regret or two when He came to think it over and observe effects.
A good memory and a tongue tied in the middle is a combination which gives immortality to conversation.
The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.
The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.
Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world -- and never will.
Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove.
If you can't get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.
There is nothing you can say in answer to a compliment. I have been complimented myself a great many times, and they always embarrass me --I always feel that they have not said enough.
I think a compliment ought to always precede a complaint, where one is possible, because it softens resentment and insures for the complaint a courteous and gentle reception.
If to be interesting is to be uncommonplace, it is becoming a question, with me, if there are any commonplace people.
Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
A big leather-bound volume makes an ideal razor strap. A thin book is useful to stick under a table with a broken caster to steady it. A large, flat atlas can be used to cover a window with a broken pane. And a thick, old-fashioned heavy book with a clasp is the finest thing in the world to throw at a noisy cat.
People are much more willing to lend you books than bookcases.
She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.
A man's house burns down. The smoking wreckage represents only a ruined home that was dear through years of use and pleasant associations. By and by, as the days and weeks go on, first he misses this, then that, then the other thing. And when he casts about for it he finds that it was in that house. Always it is an essential -- there was but one of its kind. It cannot be replaced. It was in that house. It is irrevocably lost. It will be years before the tale of lost essentials is complete, and not till then can he truly know the magnitude of his disaster.
We have not all had the good fortune to be ladies. We have not all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to the babies, we stand on common ground.
A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty.
The cross of the Legion of Honor has been conferred on me. However, few escape that distinction.
It is nobler to be good, and it is nobler to teach others to be good -- and less trouble!
Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.
Virtue has never been as respectable as money.
It ain't so much what we know that gets us into trouble. It's what we know that just ain't so.
O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief... for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.
It will take mind and memory months and possibly years to gather together the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
Man seems to be a rickety poor sort of a thing, any way you take him; a kind of British Museum of infirmities and inferiorities. He is always undergoing repairs. A machine that was as unreliable as he is would have no market.
There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.
Re: the Bible: It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.
Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.
Always obey your parents, when they are present.
A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.
A man never reaches that dizzy height of wisdom that he can no longer be lead by the nose.
Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which, before their union, were not perceived to have any relation.
I repeat, sir, that in whatever position you place a woman she is an ornament to society and a treasure to the world. As a sweetheart, she has few equals and no superiors; as a cousin, she is convenient; as a wealthy grandmother with an incurable distemper, she is precious; as a wet-nurse, she has no equal among men. What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.
I don't give a damn for man that can spell a word only one way.
Let us be grateful to Adam, our benefactor. He cut us out of the blessing of idleness and won for us the curse of labor.
Intellectual work is misnamed; it is a pleasure, a dissipation, and is its own highest reward.
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.
As to the adjective, when in doubt strike it out.
It is better to be a young June-bug than an old bird of paradise.
So I became a newspaperman. I hated to do it but I couldnt find honest employment.
By his father he is English, by his mother he is Americanto my mind the blend which makes the perfect man.
The teacher reminded us that Romes liberties were not auctioned off in a day, but were bought slowly, gradually, furtively, little by little; first with a little corn and oil for the exceedingly poor and wretched, later with corn and oil for voters who were not quite so poor, later still with corn and oil for pretty much every man that had a vote to sellexactly our own history over again.
When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victorymust follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battlebe Thou near them! With themin spiritwe also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with anavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied itfor our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.
A jay hasnt got any more principle than a Congressman. A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise.
To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature Congressman.
Say the report is exaggerated.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
The people of those foreign countries are very, very ignorant. They looked curiously at the costumes we had brought from the wilds of America. They observed that we talked loudly at table sometimes. They noticed that we looked out for expenses and got what we conveniently could out of a franc, and wondered where in the mischief we came from. In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
It is terrible to speak well and be wrong. Mark Twain