Graphic from cover of Signet Classics edition of
ROUGHING IT, 1962.
|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 see before; that you are breathing
a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea -- an intellectual nugget,
right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plow had gone over before.
To be the first -- that is the idea. To do something, say something, see
something, before anybody else -- these are the things that confer a pleasure
compared with other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies
cheap and trivial. Lifetimes of ecstasy crowded into a single moment.
- Innocents Abroad
In our day we don't allow a hundred and thirty years to elapse between glimpses
of a marvel. If somebody should discover a creek in the county next to the one
that the North Pole is in, Europe and America would start fifteen costly expeditions
thither; one to explore the creek, and the other fourteen to hunt for each other.
- Life on the Mississippi
If there wasn't anything to find out, it would be dull. Even trying to find out and not finding out is just as interesting as trying to find out and finding out; and I don't know but more so.
- Eve's Diary
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail
away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
The earliest documented publication of the quote is in H. Jackson Brown
Jr.'s P. S. I Love You (Rutledge Hill Press, 1990). Brown's book
is a collection of quotes and maxims attributed to his mother.
From Life magazine, Aug. 9, 1883
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