American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
I can help anyone get anything they want out of life. The only problem is that I can't find anyone who knows what they want.
I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die;
I have found solace in profanity unexcelled even by prayer.
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
I do not like an injurious lie, except when it injures somebody else.
I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.
I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time. It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake.
I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can't find anybody who can tell me what they want.
I do not like work even when someone else does it.
I find that the further I go back, the better things were, whether they happened or not.
I have my values, and if you don't like them, well I've got some others.
I cannot keep from talking, even at the risk of being instructive.
I do not take any credit to my better-balanced head because I never went crazy on Presbyterianism. We go too slow for that. You never see us ranting and shouting and tearing up the ground, You never heard of a Presbyterian going crazy on religion. Notice us, and you will see how we do. We get up of a Sunday morning and put on the best harness we have got and trip cheerfully down town; we subside into solemnity and enter the church; we stand up and duck our heads and bear down on a hymn book propped on the pew in front when the minister prays; we stand up again while our hired choir are singing, and look in the hymn book and check off the verses to see that they don't shirk any of the stanzas; we sit silent and grave while the minister is preaching, and count the waterfalls and bonnets furtively, and catch flies; we grab our hats and bonnets when the benediction is begun; when it is finished, we shove, so to speak. No frenzy, no fanaticism --no skirmishing; everything perfectly serene. You never see any of us Presbyterians getting in a sweat about religion and trying to massacre the neighbors. Let us all be content with the tried and safe old regular religions, and take no chances on wildcat.
I find that, as a rule, when a thing is a wonder to us it is not because of what we see in it, but because of what others have seen in it. We get almost all our wonders at second hand.
I have never heard enough classical music to be able to enjoy it; and the simple truth is, I detest it. Not mildly, but will all my heart. To me an opera is the very climax and cap-stone of the absurd, the fantastic the unjustifiable. I hate the very name of opera - partly because of the nights of suffering I have endured in its presence, and partly because I want to love it and can't.
I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me.
I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious -- except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind and keep them shut by force.
I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.
I freighted a leaf with a mental message for the friends at home, and dropped it in the stream. But I put no stamp on it and it was held for postage somewhere.
I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
I can't do literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.
I don?t like to commit myself about heaven and hell ? you see, I have friends in both places.
I had been to school most all the time, and could spell, and read, and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don't reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever. I don't take no stock in mathematics, anyway.