Mark Twain in his own Words

April 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens, died 108 years ago tomorrow. He died on April 21, 1910, at age 74.

His sharp humor crackles today as relevant and fresh as it was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I think it’s fair to say that modern American humor learned much of its appreciation for irony and intelligence from his droll wit.

Enjoy these samples:

I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.

He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.

Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

Formerly, if you killed a man, it was possible that you were insane—but now, if you, having friends and money, kill a man, it is evidence that you are a lunatic.

A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man’s moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

There is nothing in the world like a persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus and upset the convictions and debauch the emotions of an audience not practised in the tricks and delusions of oratory.

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will.

An experienced, industrious, ambitious, and often quite picturesque liar.

It does look as if Massachusetts were in a fair way to embarrass me with kindnesses this year. In the first place, a Massachusetts judge has just decided in open court that a Boston publisher may sell, not only his own property in a free and unfettered way, but also may as freely sell property which does not belong to him but to me; property which he has not bought and which I have not sold. Under this ruling I am now advertising that judge’s homestead for sale, and, if I make as good a sum out of it as I expect, I shall go on and sell out the rest of his property.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.

Honesty is the best policy — when there is money in it.

Prosperity is the best protector of principle.

You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is.

We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. Some think it the voice of God.

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.

The late Bill Nye once said “I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

There isn’t time–so brief is life–for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving–and but an instant, so to speak, for that.

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