“You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous.” ~ A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
And he gave it for his opinion, “that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.” ~ Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Need some advice or perspective? Here are 40 great quotes from literature that may help. These are some of our favorites from our words of wisdom quote collection.
- The mind has many watchdogs; sometimes they bark unnecessarily, but a wise man never ignores their warning. ~ A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke
- Words spoken cannot be recalled. ~ He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
- People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it’s served up. ~ A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
- Fair speech may hide a foul heart. ~ The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
- It is always the unusual which alarms. ~ The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
- It is not violence that best overcomes hate-nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury. ~ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke. ~ Count Alarcos: A Tragedy by Benjamin Disraeli
- There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare
- “Words,” said the host, at length, “is worse’n bullets. You never know what they’ll hit.” ~ The Night Horseman by Max Brand
- Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you. ~ A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
- “When you’ve learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn’t, you’ve got wisdom and understanding.” ~ Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- The fool wonders, the wise man asks. ~ Count Alarcos: A Tragedy by Benjamin Disraeli
- “All things are ready, if our minds be so.” ~ Henry V by William Shakespeare
- “No one is ever too old to do a foolish thing.” ~ Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
- “Would the world ever have been made if its maker had been afraid of making trouble? Making life means making trouble.” ~ Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
- Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within as on the state of things without and around us. ~ Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
- “Just breathing isn’t living!” ~ Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
- “Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, As self-neglecting.” ~ Henry V by William Shakespeare
- The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. ~ Paradise Lost by John Milton
- To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge. ~ Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli
- “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” ~ Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- “Nobody can spoil a life, my dear. That’s nonsense. Things happen, but we bob up.” ~ The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
- Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. ~ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- “Do you know anything on earth which has not a dangerous side if it is mishandled and exaggerated? “ ~ The Land of Mist by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. ~ The Awakening by Kate Chopin
- You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. ~ Zuleika Dobson by Sir Max Beerbohm
- Unwelcome truths are not popular. ~ The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- “And, above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you very much at your own reckoning.” ~ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
- How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! ~ Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker. ~ Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
- “The chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.” ~ The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- She could not explain in so many words, but she felt that those who prepare for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy. ~ Howards End by E. M. Forster
- He has spent his life best who has enjoyed it most. ~ The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
- Ignorance is the parent of fear. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- “Its matter was not new to me, but was presented in a new aspect. It shook me in my habit – the habit of nine-tenths of the world – of believing that all was right about me, because I was used to it.” ~ Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
- A man will tell you that he has worked in a mine for forty years unhurt by an accident as a reason why he should apprehend no danger, though the roof is beginning to sink. ~ Silas Marner by George Eliot
- The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice. ~ Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
- Old habit of mind is one of the toughest things to get away from in the world. It transmits itself like physical form and feature. ~ A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
- “We learn from failure, not from success!” ~ Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. ~ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
1 – Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born on November 30th 1835. He died on April 21st, 1910.
2 – For a time he worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. He also worked as a newspaper journalist and a miner before he turned to writing fiction.
3 – While he was well paid as a writer, he was plagued with financial problems. One of his biggest problems was bad investments. He lost a lot of money with his investment in Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter. Twain eventually declared bankruptcy. However later he paid back all of his creditors.
4 – He married Olivia Landon in 1870. They remained together until her death in 1904. They had four children.
5 – Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet. He told people that he would “go out with it” as well. Here’s a quote from Twain in 1909.
I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together’.
Twain predicted correctly. He died the day after the comet’s return.
Novels by Mark Twain
The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Prince and the Pauper
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
The American Claimant
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson
Tom Sawyer Abroad
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
Tom Sawyer, Detective
The Mysterious Stranger (published posthumously)
More about Mark Twain
- Quotes by Mark Twain
- Mark Twain items at the LitQuotes gift shop
- Mark Twain House & Museum
- Mark Twain: A Life
- Mark Twain – A Film Directed by Ken Burns
Check out the Kindle version of Mark Twain: A Life :
In Mark Twain, Ron Powers consummates years of thought and research with a tour de force on the life of our culture’s founding father, re-creating the 19th century’s vital landscapes and tumultuous events while restoring the human being at their center. He offers Sam Clemens as he lived, breathed, and wrote — drawing heavily on the preserved viewpoints of the people who knew him best (especially the great William Dean Howells, his most admiring friend and literary co-conspirator), and on the annals of the American 19th century that he helped shape. Powers’s prose rivals Mark Twain’s own in its blend of humor, telling detail, and flights of lyricism. With the assistance of the Mark Twain Project at Berkeley, he has been able to draw on thousands of letters and notebook entries, many only recently discovered.