Don't go around saying
the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.
By trying, we can easily
learn to endure adversity.
Another man's, I mean.
-- Following The Equator
Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.
-- Following The Equator
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
-- MacLaren, Morally
We Roll Along, 1938, as quoted in Alex Ayres' The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain.
It is sound judgment to put on a bold face and ply your hand for a hundred times what it worth;
forty-nine times out of fifty nobody dares to 'call', and you roll in the chips.
One frequently only finds out how really beautiful a really beautiful woman is after considerable acquaintance with her; and the rule applies to Niagara Falls, to majestic mountains, and to mosques--especially to mosques. -- Innocents Abroad
After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.-- Adam's Diary
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
-- Mark Twain's Notebook
The heart is the real Fountain of Youth. -- Notebook, 1898
Love is not a product of reasonings and statistics. It just comes
--none knows whence--and cannot explain itself.-- Eve's Diary
God puts something good and lovable in every man His hands create.
-- "The American Vandal," speech, 1868
Love is a madness; if thwarted it develops fast.-- "The Memorable Assassination"
The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter;
the writer gets his limitless freedom of statement and expression from his
sense that no stranger is going to see what he is writing.
-- Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1959 preface
When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.-- Notebook, 1898
To get the full value of joy You must have someone to divide it with.
No civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man and woman is included. -- Notebook, 1895
We are all beggars, each in his own way. -- Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography.
We despise all reverences and all objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people
despise and defile the things which are holy to us. -- Following The Equator
The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it. -- Following The Equator
We were good Presbyterian boys when the weather was doubtful.
When it was fair we did wander a little from the fold.
-- "I Have Tried to Do Good," speech, 1902.
In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case
gotten at second-hand, and without examination. -- Neider, Autobiography.
Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal
that has the True Religion
-- several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat
if his theology isn't straight.
He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his
brother's path to happiness and heaven.
The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to
t out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste
...The Lowest Animal essay, 1897
SO much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is."
Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions;
but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.
Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.-- "The Lowest Animal"
Between believing a thing and thinking you know is only a small step and quickly taken. -- "3,000 Years Among the Microbes."
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.-- Pudd'nhead Wilson
When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved. -- The Prince and the Pauper
"I don't suppose there was much danger. People born to be hanged are safe in water." -- remark by Mark Twain's mother when learning of his narrow escape from drowning
in Bear Creek (as told by Alex Ayres, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain)
For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.
-- letter to William Stead, 1890
Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with. -- Roughing It
We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift--our personal association,
which means so much to them--we give grudgingly. -- Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography
"Every time you
stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you
lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten
-- Speech 11/23/1900
Can we afford Civilization? -- "To the Person Sitting in Darkness"
Customs do not concern themselves with right or wrong or reason.
-- "The Gorky Incident"
What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that
you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what
human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere.
To give birth to an idea--to discover a great thought. -- Innocents Abroad
I never let my schooling interfere with my education.
-- Alex Ayres, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. -- Notebook, 1898
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson
What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth. No smallest atom of our moral, mental, or physical structure can stand still a year. It grows--it must grow; nothing can prevent
it. -- "Consistency," speech, 1887
Praise is well, compliment is well, but affection--that is the last and final and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.-- Affection speech, 1907
The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
-- Following The Equator
We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything
and can't read. -- Fourth of July speech, 1873
The less a man knows the bigger the noise he makes and the higher the salary he commands. -- "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper"
The master minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nations, and from the mass of the nation only--not from its privileged classes.
-- A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
The trouble is that the stupid people--who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations--do believe and are moulded and convinced by what they get
out of a newspaper. -- "License of the Press," speech, 1873
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."
"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."
(inscription beneath his bust in the Hall of Fame)
"Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves
and how little we think of the other person."
"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."
"Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only
that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm
pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages
out ... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have
done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel .... And in the intervals
between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the
universal brotherhood of man" - with his mouth"
"Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident."
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But I repeat myself. -- Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography
Strip the human race absolutely naked and it would be a real democracy.
-- Notebook, 1897
CONGRESS: The only "Distinctly Native American Criminal Class".
--from The Devil's Dictionary
"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation
that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities,
and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them;
and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank
God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
...The Mysterious Stranger
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence
never to practice either of them. -- Following The Equator
By and by when each nation has 20,000 battleships and 5,000,000 soldiers we
shall all be safe and the wisdom of statesmanship will stand confirmed.
-- Notebook, 1902
Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. -- Notebook 1904
The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. -- Notebook, 1898
The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded the world over; and a priveleged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name.- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
"Citizenship should be placed above everything else, even learning. Is there in any college of
the land a chair of citizenship where good citizenship and all that it implies
is taught? There is not one -- that is, not one where sane citizenship is
taught. There are some which teach insane citizenship, bastard citizenship,
but that is all. Patriotism! Yes; but patriotism is usually the refuge of
the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest."-- speech, 5/14/1908
"Our Country, right or wrong..." Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation? -- "Glances at History," in deVoto, Letters from the Earth
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,'' a saying that is almost a San Francisco cliche, turns out to be an invention of unknown origin, the coolest thing Mark Twain never said.
War Prayer by Mark Twain narrated by Peter Coyote and Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Sam Clemens as Mark Twain
Twain Letters to the San Francisco Alta California
Boondocksnet.com for more essays by Mark Twain.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
This is the long awaited AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN
written by the author with instructions that it not
be published until one hundred years after his death.
Publisher: University of California Press;
release date:(November 15, 2010)
Hardcover: 743 pages ~
preorder: Now ( special price)
June 7, 1864
BURGLAR ARRESTED written by Mark Twain for
The San Francisco Daily Morning Call
John Richardson, whose taste for a cigar must be inordinate, gratified it on Saturday
night last by forcing his way into a tobacconist's on Broadway, near Kearny
street, and helping himself to fourteen hundred "smokes." In his hurry,
however, he did not select the best, as the stolen tobacco was only valued at
fifty dollars. He was congratulating himself last evening in a saloon on Dupont
street, in having secured weeds for himself and all his friends, when lo! a
Rose bloomed before his eyes, and he wilted. The scent of that flower of detectives
was too strong even for the aroma of the stolen cigars. Richardson was conveyed
to the station-house, where a kit of neat burglar's tools was found on his person.
He is now reposing his limbs on an asphaltum floor - a bed hard as the ways
June 25, 1864
A TRIP TO THE CLIFF HOUSE by Mark Twain written for The San Francisco
Daily Morning Call
If one tire of the drudgeries and scenes of the city, and would breathe the
fresh air of the sea, let him take the cars and omnibuses, or, better still,
a buggy and pleasant steed, and, ere the sea breeze sets in, glide out to the
Cliff House. We tried it a day or two since. Out along the rail road track,
by the pleasant homes of our citizens, where architecture begins to put off
its swaddling clothes, and assume form and style, grace and beauty, by the neat
gardens with their green shrubbery and laughing flowers, out where were once
sand hills and sand-valleys, now streets and homesteads. If you would doubly
enjoy pure air, first pass along by Mission Street Bridge, the Golgotha of Butcherville,
and wind along through the alleys where stand the whiskey mills and grunt the
piggeries of "Uncle Jim." Breathe and inhale deeply ere you reach
this castle of Udolpho, and then hold your breath as long as possible, for Arabia
is a long way thence, and the balm of a thousand flowers is not for sale in
that locality. Then away you go over paved, or planked, or Macadamized roads,
out to the cities of the dead, pass between Lone Mountain and Calvary, and make
a straight due west course for the ocean. Along the way are many things to please
and entertain, especially if an intelligent chaperon accompany you. Your eye
will travel over in every direction the vast territory which Swain, Weaver &
Co. desire to fence in, the little homesteads by the way, Dr. Rowell's arena
castle, and Zeke Wilson's Bleak House in the sand. Splendid road, ocean air
that swells the lungs and strengthens the limbs. Then there's the Cliff House,
perched on the very brink of the ocean, like a castle by the Rhine, with countless
sea-lions rolling their unwieldy bulks on the rocks within rifle-shot, or plunging
into and sculling about in the foaming waters. Steamers and sailing craft are
passing, wild fowl scream, and sea-lions growl and bark, the waves roll into
breakers, foam and spray, for five miles along the beach, beautiful and grand,
and one feels as if at sea with no rolling motion nor sea-sickness, and the
appetite is whetted by the drive and the breeze, the ocean's presence wins you
into a happy frame, and you can eat one of the best dinners with the hungry
relish of an ostrich. Go to the Cliff House. Go ere the winds get too fresh,
and if you like, you may come back by Mountain Lake and the Presidio, overlook
the Fort, and bow to the Stars and Stripes as you pass.
Historic San Francisco~ Wit & Humor of the Age published 1893
Mark Twain "The Interview"