Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Birthdays: Mark Twain

Statue of Liberty
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Mark Twain

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good -- and less trouble.

His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere.

Who are the oppressors? The few: the king, the capitalist and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold.

[on learning to ride a bicycle...]
The bicycle had what is called the "wabbles," and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature.

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

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

And now, I'll link to perhaps my two favorite Mark Twain short stories...

The Carnival of Crime in Connecticut , which include these delightful insults...

My good slave, you are curiously witless--no, I mean characteristically so. In truth, you are always consistent, always yourself, always an ass... I can almost respect a mere ordinary sort of fool; but you pah!


Grandfather's Ram (which I posted here at my blog earlier in the year...) Enjoy!


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Mark Twain is awesome! My father appeared in a musical-comedy-drama about his life in Elmira, NY, playing his father-in-law.

There are several other great Americans whose birthdays fall in November. My mother's, Nov. 18. My wife's, November 25. A dear friend of ours, Rev. Bob Cooper, Nov. 30. And, well, mine, Nov. 23 (same as John Denver!).

Marty said...

My Dad's 93rd birthday would have been November 16. He passed away peacefully on October 26th. He was a great story teller and his whole family will miss his bright smile and memorable laugh.

Dan Trabue said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Marty. I'm glad you have fond memories of his story-telling and laughter to hold on to. My prayers are with you.

John said...

"It is better to remain silent and have people suspect you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."