Mark Twain Quotes

Mark Twain

US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)

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The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.

Categorized under Age

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There has never been an intelligent person of the age of sixty who would consent to live his life over again. His or anyone else

Categorized under Age

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The man who sets out to carry a cat by its tail learns something that will always be useful and which never will grow dim or doubtful.

Categorized under Animals

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If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.

Categorized under Animals

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We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

Categorized under Animals

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Man is the only man that blushes. Or needs to.

Categorized under Animals

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A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.

Categorized under Conformity

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

Categorized under Courage

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I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Categorized under Education

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Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

Categorized under Education

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We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it

Categorized under Experience

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Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

Categorized under Father

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The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Categorized under Friendship

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The kingly office is entitled to no respect. It was originally procured by the highwayman's methods; it remains a perpetuated crime, can never be anything but the symbol of a crime. It is no more entitled to respect than is the flag of a pirate.

Categorized under Government

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There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one - keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy.

Categorized under Happiness

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When in doubt tell the truth.

Categorized under Honesty

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It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.

Categorized under Honor

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It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.

Categorized under Legislation

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We Americans... bear the ark of liberties of the world.

Categorized under Liberty

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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.

Categorized under Marriage

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Morals are an acquirement - like music, like a foreign language, like piety, poker, paralysis - no man is born with them.

Categorized under Morals

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What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.

Categorized under Plagiarism

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To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.

Categorized under Promise

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The educated Southerner has no use for an 'R', except at the beginning of a word.

Categorized under Speech

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All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure.

Categorized under Success

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There is no use in your walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful near home.

Categorized under Success

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I don't know of a single foreign product that enters this country untax

Categorized under Taxes

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There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.

Categorized under Temptation

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Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.

Categorized under Truth

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In Boston they ask, how much does he know? In New York, how much is he worth? In Philadelphia, who were his parents?

Categorized under Wealth

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There is an old-time toast which is golden for its beauty. "When you ascend the hill of prosperity may you not meet a friend.

Categorized under Wealth

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Prosperity is the surest breeder of insolence I know.

Categorized under Wealth

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Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.

Categorized under Wit

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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

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The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

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It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.

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I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.

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

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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

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Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

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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.

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

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Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board

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I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

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Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

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How come we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

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If a person offend you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick.

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"Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

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"One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

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"When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

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The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

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Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.

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The report of my death was an exaggeration.

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Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

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Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

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Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.

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A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

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Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

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A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

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

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Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

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Golf is a good walk spoiled.

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Virtue has never been as respectable as money.

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Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

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Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.

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It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake.

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Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

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In Marseilles they make half the toilet soap we consume in America, but the Marseillaise only have a vague theoretical idea of its use, which they have obtained from books of travel.

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It could probably be show by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress.

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Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

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Man is the only animal that blushes -- or needs to.

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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

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The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

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If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be - a Christian.

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George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth - he could not even lie.

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A man never reaches that dizzy height of wisdom that he can no longer be led by the nose.

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I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.

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A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

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The holy passion of Friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

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In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards

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Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.

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It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you.

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Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.

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There are times when one would like to end the whole human race, and finish the farce.

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If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man.

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I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved it.

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Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth.

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There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

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

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill always came together, who would escape hanging?

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

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This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

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In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.

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Carlyle said, "A lie cannot live"; it shows he did not know how to tell them.

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In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

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There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.

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Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

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Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than on all other days of the year put together. This proves, by the numbers left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.

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All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

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There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.

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Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

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You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

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We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.

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

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Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.)

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I never could tell a lie that anybody would doubt, nor a truth that anybody would believe.

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A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

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I never write Metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.

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Of the delights of this world, man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

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We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Adam, the first great benefactor of the human race: he brought death into the world.

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We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

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For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g
j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud
hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

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Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.

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If we had less statemanship we could get along with fewer battleships.

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Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

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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.

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Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

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A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

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I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

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When you cannot get a compliment any other way pay yourself one.

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Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

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Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

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Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.

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I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

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Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

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The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

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Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.

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He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.

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The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.

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Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principle one was that they escaped teething.

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Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

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Great people are those who make others feel that they, too, can become great.

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Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

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There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.

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The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

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

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It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.

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Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.

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The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

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It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

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There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.

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The best coffee in Europe is Vienna coffee, compared to which all other coffee is fluid poverty.

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When in doubt, tell the truth.

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

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It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to you.

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What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

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I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.

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Somewhere between the Angels and the French lies the rest of humanity.

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The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

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Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

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Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

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I did it partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again.

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How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.

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I have spent most of my time worrying about thigs that have never happened.

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Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

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A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

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I can live two months on a good compliment.

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The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

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The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it.

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A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.

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I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.

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Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.

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I was born modest. Not all over, but in spots.

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I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.

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Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.

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Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.

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When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

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The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

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[He was] a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.

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Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

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Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds upon the heel that crushes it.

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The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.

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I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

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Never tell the truth to those unworthy of it....

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At the beginning of a great national change, the patriot is a scarce man: scorned, ridiculed and forgotten. When his cause succeeds, however, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

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Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

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Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

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Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

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The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

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I have never examined the subject of humor until now. I am surprised to find how much ground it covers. I have got its divisions and frontiers down on a piece of paper. I find it defined as a production of the brain, as the power of the brain to produce something humorous, and the capacity of percieving humor.

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Those who say truth is stranger than fiction have wasted their time on poorly written fiction.

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The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.

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Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

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All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"--a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.

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If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

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Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.

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

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Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

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Fleas can be taught nearly anything a congressman can.

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Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

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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.

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So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.

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Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

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In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.

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[Mankind] is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong, but no matter, the crowd follows it.

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It is noble to teach oneself, it is still nobler to teach others.

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The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

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[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon

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Are you so unobservant that you do not yet realize that sanity and hapiness are an impossible combination?

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When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

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October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. Others are July, January, April, September, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

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I am prepared to meet anyone, but whether anyone is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

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There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.

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Golf is a good walk spoiled.

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It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

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We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.

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Golf is a good walk, ruined.

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Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

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All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence -- and then success is sure.

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It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

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Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

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The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

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If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

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My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.

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

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Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

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All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

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Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.

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Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.

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Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

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The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

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Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

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There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

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It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.

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It is easier to stay out than get out.

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In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.

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Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

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Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.

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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.

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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.

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Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

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The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.

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When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.

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It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.

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