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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The human race was always interesting and we know by its past that it will always continue so, monotonously.

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.
Hunger is the handmaid of genius.
There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.
One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
Tell the truth or trump—but get the trick.
There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.
My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders … institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.
Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.
I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him, sir.
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it— namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.
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.
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.

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