American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so that it will not only interest boys but strongly interest any man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.
I don't have time to write you a short letter, so I'm writing you a long one instead.
I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won't.
I have no race prejudice. I think I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being -- that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.
I am the entire human race compacted together. I have found that there is no ingredient of the race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way.
I could have become a soldier if I had waited; I knew more about retreating than the man who invented retreating.
He would now have comprehended that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill, is work, whilst rolling nine-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service that would turn it into work, than they would resign.
History teaches us that whenever a weak and ignorant people possess a thing which a strong and enlightened people want, it must be yielded up peaceably.
Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.
I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time.
Health is a habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
Homely truth is unpalatable.
Human nature appears to be just the same, all over the world.
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Heaven for climate, Hell for society.
Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, Give me masturbation or give me death. Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, ?To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.? In another place this experienced observer has said, ?There are times when I prefer it to sodomy.? Robinson Crusoe says, ?I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art.? Queen Elizabeth said, ?It is the bulwark of virginity.? Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, ?A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush.? The immortal Franklin has said, ?Masturbation is the best policy.? Michelangelo and all of the other old masters--old masters, I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction--have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, ?Self-negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse.? Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time??None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise.?
Human nature is all alike.
I am as prompt as a clock, if I only know the day a thing is wanted?otherwise I am a natural procrastinaturalist.
He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close together. There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy?if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. Pretty soon Jim says:
Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out. Of all the creatures ever made [man] is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one... that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.
Honest poverty is a gem that even a king might be proud to call his own - but I wish to sell out.
Human pride is not worthwhile; there is always something lying in wait to take the wind out of it.
I am content to be a bric-a-bracker and a Ceramiker.
He said that man?s heart was the only bad heart in the animal kingdom; that man was the only animal capable of feeling malice, envy, vindictiveness, revengefulness, hatred, selfishness, the only animal that loves drunkenness, almost the only animal that could endure personal uncleanliness and a filthy habitation, the sole animal in whom was fully developed the base instinct called patriotism, the sole animal that robs, persecutes, oppresses and kills members of his own tribe, the sole animal that steals and enslaves the members of any tribe.
Hell's Bell's Jim!