Famous Quotes - Mark Twain
Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, "American humorist, writer, newspaperman, and lecturer who won a worldwide audience for his stories of youthful adventures, especially The Aventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)." (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1990 edition)
[on his own autobiography]
"Now, then, that is the tale. Some of it is true (1907)."
[on his own birth]
"I do not remember anything about it. I was postponed-- postponed to Missouri. Missouri was an unknown new State and needed attractions (1897-98)."
"When one reads Bibles one is less surprised at what the Deity knows than at what He doesn't know (1903)."
"People can always talk well when they are talking what they FEEL. This is the secret of eloquence (1869)."
"It is no harm to be an ass, if one is content to bray and not kick (1896)."
"It is better to save than to destroy, and that justice is most righteous which is tempered by mercy (1864)."
"It is more trouble to make a maxim than it is to do right (1887)."
"Do your duty today and repent tomorrow (no date)."
"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid (1887)."
"I know a good deal more than a boiled carrot, though I may not appear to (1865)."
"Lincoln's [Emancipation] proclamation not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also (1907)."
"The less a man knows the bigger the noise he makes and the higher the salary he commands (1870)."
"Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man-- the biography of the man himself cannot be written (c.1907)."
"A correct average is only a mild virtue in a watch (1870)."
"Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it (1887)."
"Never lend your teeth (1883)."
"None but a lunatic would separate himself from his baggage (1889)."
"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 any more (1887)."
"I do not like work even when another person does it (1891)."
"Nothing is so ignorant as a man's left hand, except a lady's watch (1887)."
"It is a mistake that there is no bath that will cure people's manners. But drowning would help (1891)."
"There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can re-create them, it can debase angels to men and lift men to angelship. And it can do any one of these miracles in a year-- even in six months (c. 1901)."
"When in doubt, tell the truth (1887)."
[on the benefit of clergy]
"Half-rate on the railroad (no date)."
"The timid man yearns for full value and asks a tenth. The bold man strikes for double and compromises on par (1887)."
"Is anybody brave when he has no audience (1882)?"
"It is easier to stay out than get out (1887)."
"There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said ``Faith is believing what you know ain't so (1887).'' "
[on whether a certain rich man's wealth was tainted]
"His money is twice tainted...t'aint yours, and t'aint mine (no date)."
"It is your human environment that makes climate (1887)."
"A man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. (no date)."
"It is hard to make a choice of the most beautiful passage in a book which is so gemmed with beautiful passages as the Bible (1869)."
"Great books are weighed and measured by their style and matter, and not by the trimmings and shadings of their grammar (1887)."
"If books are not good company, where will I find it (1853)?"
"All schools, all colleges, have 2 great functions: to confer, & to conceal, valuable knowledge (1908)."
"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education (no date)."
"The report of my death was an exaggeration (1897)."
"Each person is born to one possession which outvalues all his others-- his last breath (1897)."
[about Rudyard Kipling]
"Between us we cover all knowledge. He knows all that can be known, and I know the rest (1906)."