American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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!
Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.
Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon?laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution?these can lift at a colossal humbug?push it a little?weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
I am different from [George] Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won't.
He stopped, blushed, then continued low and sadly: Ah, my malady persecuteth me again, and my mind wandereth. I meant the King's grace no irreverence.
Herodotus says, Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.
Honesty: The best of all the lost arts.
Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.
I am glad the old masters are all dead, and I only wish they had died sooner.
He vanished, and left me appalled; for I knew, and realized, that all he had said was true.
High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.
Honor is a harder master than law.
Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
I am not given to exaggeration, and when I say a thing I mean it.