451 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Beauty, Life & Nature

Last updated on June 3rd, 2024

 

Authentic Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Beauty, Life, Nature, Friendship, Success & Wisdom

 

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men marvel and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1836)

Best Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Love, Knowledge, Truth & Heroism: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century. He was born in the U.S. city of Boston on May 25, 1803. He was the son of the pastor of the Second Church. His father died eight years later after his birth.

Although his mother was left with a growing family and in desperate financial circumstances, she was a woman of great singleness of purpose and she determined that all her five boys should be educated. She succeeded. Four of them went through college, each one helping the next one who was ready.

An American essayist, poet, and popular philosopher, Emerson began his career as a Unitarian minister in Boston but achieved worldwide fame as a lecturer and the author of such essays as History, Self-Reliance, Heroism, The Over-Soul, and Fate.

Emerson was a transcendental philosopher and he was the first philosopher of the American spirit. He was a poetic philosopher who trusted inspiration more than reason, and he was always painfully aware of a lack of continuity in his lectures and essays.

Spiritually and intellectually he was a man of such freedom, personally, he was a man of such exalted character that his influence was great and wide and he enkindled the minds of men and women all around the world. Strictly speaking, he was a radical.

But it was hard to think so, for he was mild, frail, friendly, and of civil demeanor, and he lived quietly in Concord, Mass., like the most respected of citizens. Tremaine McDowell says, “In reality, Emerson was from the 1830’s to the Civil War the most urbane deviser of intellectual bombshells in the United States.”

Nature was Emerson’s first book which was published in 1836. Today we are going to share a large collection of Authentic Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes with you with verified sources so that you can uplift your life with the inspired thoughts of this great man of wisdom.

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Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is Doomsday. He only is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Collected Poems and Translations

Explore, and explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatize yourself nor accept another’s dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Literary Ethics (1838)

Courage comes naturally to those who have the habit of facing labor and danger, and who therefore know the power of their arms and bodies, and courage or confidence in the mind comes to those who know by use its wonderful forces and inspirations and returns.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Every really able man, in whatever direction he works, — a man of large affairs, an inventor, a statesman, an orator, a poet, a painter — if you talk sincerely with him, considers his work, however much admired, as far short of what it should be.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality

The world is nothing, the man is all; in yourself is the law of all nature, and you know not yet how a globule of sap ascends; in yourself slumbers the whole of Reason; it is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

But great men are sincere. Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world. No hope so bright but is the beginning of its own fulfillment.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The sea is lovely, but when we bathe in it, the beauty forsakes all the near water. For the imagination and senses cannot be gratified at the same time.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

There can be no excess to love; none to knowledge; none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

None is accomplished, so long as any are incomplete; that the happiness of one cannot consist with the misery of any other.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men around to his opinion twenty years later.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship

#You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how late it will be too soon.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture

Fortune…Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Our strength grows out of our weakness. A great man is always willing to be little.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

The blazing evidence of immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (July 1855)

What your heart thinks is great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

He thought it happier to be dead, To die for Beauty, than live for bread.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poem on Beauty (May-Day and Other Pieces, 1867)

But the real and lasting victories are those of peace and not of war.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Art (Essays: First Series, 1841)

He only is rightly immortal, to whom all things are immortal.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship

No matter how often defeated, you are born to victory.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, New England Reformers (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Poverty does nothing worse than to make man ridiculous.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Comic (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Men are what their mothers made them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Nothing divine dies.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

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Best Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Nature And The World

Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works in short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls. When the fruit is despatched, the leaf falls. The circuit of the waters is mere falling. The walking of man and all animals is a falling forward. All our manual labor and works of strength, such as prying, splitting, digging, rowing, and so forth, are done by dint of continual falling, and the globe, earth, moon, comet, sun, star, fall forever and ever.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The sun illuminates only the eye of the man but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

The power of Nature predominates over the human will in all works of even the fine arts, in all that respects their material and external circumstances. Nature paints the best part of the picture, carves the best part of the statue, builds the best part of the house, and speaks the best part of the oration.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Art (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood. When we speak of nature in this manner, we have a distinct but most poetical sense in the mind.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

The leafless trees become spires of flame in the sunset, with the blue east for their background, and the stars of the dead calyces of flowers, and every withered stem and stubble rimed with frost, contribute something to the mute music.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, and the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several works to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gifts (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole and partakes of the perfection of the whole.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Discipline (Nature, 1836)

To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most people do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

Everything in nature contains all the powers of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

Nature is reckless of the individual. When she has points to carry, she carries them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Love (Essays: First Series, 1841)

When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Method of Nature (August 1841)

Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, History (Essays: First Series, 1841)

All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Introduction (Nature, 1836)

Nature and Books belong to the eyes that see them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hamatreya (Poems, Vol:9)

Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Adirondacks (August 1858)

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Education (Biographical Sketches, 1883)

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

Nature hates monopolies and exceptions.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Nature is the symbol of spirit.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Language (Nature, 1836)

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Inspiring Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Friendship

I must feel pride in my friend’s accomplishments as if they were mine, and a property in his virtues. I feel as warmly when he is praised, as the lover when he hears applause of his engaged maiden. We overestimate the conscience of our friend. His goodness seems better than our goodness, his nature finer, his temptations less. Everything that is his – his name, his form, his dress, books, and instruments-fancy enhances. Our own thought sounds new and larger from his mouth.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The other element of friendship is tenderness. We are holden to men by every sort of tie, by blood, by pride, by fear, by hope, by lucre, by lust, by hate, by admiration, by every circumstance and badge and trifle, but we can scarcely believe that so much character can subsist in another as to draw us by love.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

I have arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness, with which one chemical atom meets another.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed. The lover, beholding his maiden, half knows that she is not verily that which he worships; and in the golden hour of friendship, we are surprised with shades of suspicion and unbelief.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Happy is the house that shelters a friend! It might well be built, like a festal bower or arch, to entertain him a single day. Happier, if he knows the solemnity of that relation and honors its law!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with the roughest courage. When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest things we know.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Friendship should be surrounded with ceremonies and respects, and not crushed into corners. Friendship requires more time than poor busy men can usually command.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Behavior (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Friendship demands a religious treatment. We talk of choosing our friends, but friends are self-elected. Reverence is a great part of it. Treat your friend as a spectacle.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Friendship… a kind of absolute, and which even leaves the language of love suspicious and common, so much is this purer, and nothing is so much divine.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends. For every friend whom he loses for truth, he gains a better one.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Friends: From the highest degree of passionate love to the lowest degree of goodwill, they make the sweetness of life.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Two may talk and one may hear, but three cannot take part in a conversation of the most sincere and searching sort.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The great gain is, not to shine, not to conquer your companion but to find a companion who knows what you do not.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Friendship is for aid and comfort through all the relations and passages of life and death.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The essence of friendship is entireness, a total magnanimity, and trust.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

A friend stands to us for humanity. He is what we wish.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Domestic Life (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Tenderness is the other element of friendship.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Courage, Heroism & Strength

It will never make any difference to a hero what the laws are. His greatness will shine and accomplish itself unto the end, whether they second him or not. If he has earned his bread by drudgery, and in the narrow and crooked ways which were all an evil law had left him, he will make it at least honorable by his expenditure. Of the past he will take no heed; for its wrongs, he will not hold himself responsible: he will say, all the meanness of my progenitors shall not bereave me of the power to make this hour and company fair and fortunate.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conservative (December 1841)

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. Fear is an instructor of great sagacity and the herald of all revolutions. That what we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic. What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistence.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Literary Ethics (1838)

Wherever a man comes, there comes revolution. The old is for slaves. When a man comes, all books are legible, all things transparent, all religions are forms. He is religious. Man is the wonderworker. He is seen amid miracles. All men bless and curse.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, An Address

A determined man, by his very attitude and the tone of his voice, puts a stop to defeat and begins to conquer. For they can conquer who believe they can. He reveals to us the enormous power of one man over masses of men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Resources (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

No way has been found for making heroism easy, even for the scholar. Labor, iron labor, is for him. The world was created as an audience for him; the atoms of which it is made are opportunities.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

An enraged man is a lion, a cunning man is a fox, a firm man is a rock, and a learned man is a torch. A lamb is innocence; a snake is subtle spite; flowers express to us the delicate affections.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Language (Nature, 1836)

Every heroic act is also decent and causes the place and the bystanders to shine. We are taught by great actions that the universe is the property of every individual in it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

For performance, nature has no mercy, and sacrifices the performer to get it done; makes a dropsy or a tympany of him.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

His strength and spirit are wasted in rejection… But the strong spirits overpower those around them without effort.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Transcendentalist (The Dial, 1843)

As soon as sacrifice becomes a duty and necessity to man, I see no limit to the horizon which opens before me.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Times of heroism are generally times of terror, but the day never shines in which this element may not work.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Winds blow and waters roll. Strength to the brave and power and deity, yet in themselves are nothing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Human virtue demands her champions and martyrs, and the trial of persecution always proceeds.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism

Greatness requires self-respect and it must be constitutional, indicating natural courage.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Inspiration (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

When we see the conqueror we do not think much of any one battle or success.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

Every moment of a hero so raises and cheers us, that a twelve-month is an age.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conservative (December 1841)

The heroic cannot be the common, nor can the common be the heroic.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Heroism feels and never reasons and therefore is always right.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism

When the spirit is not master of the world, then it is its dupe.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism

All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Power (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The characteristic of heroism is its persistence.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism

Man alone Can perform the impossible?

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Young American (February 1844)

Self-trust is the essence of heroism.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Uses of Great Men

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Books, Education And Mind

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

If the colleges were better, if they … had the power of imparting valuable thought, creative principles, truths which become powers, thoughts which become talents, — if they could cause that a mind not profound should become profound, — we should all rush to their gates: instead of contriving inducements to draw students, you would need to set the police at the gates to keep order in the in-rushing multitude.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Celebration of Intellect (1861)

He teaches who gives, and he learns who receives. There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you and you are he; then is a teaching, and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever quite lose the benefit.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (1841)

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought because it is his.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

See in college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall learn what you have no taste or capacity for.

– Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, (Source: Unknown)

Every book is a quotation, and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries, and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato or The Philosopher (Representative Man, 1850)

Talent for talent’s sake is a bauble and a show. Talent working with joy in the cause of universal truth lifts the possessor to new power as a benefactor.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Every book is a quotation, and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines, and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

Every book is good to read which sets the reader in a working mood. The deep book, no matter how remote the subject, helps us best.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Inspiration (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Every mind has a new compass, a new north, a new direction of its own, differencing its genius and aims from every other mind.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Eloquence is the power to translate a truth into language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eloquence (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Learning depends on the learner. No more truth can be conveyed than the popular mind can bear.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The health of the mind consists of the perception of law. Its dignity consists in being under the law.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality

If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

The last change in our point of view gives the whole world a pictorial air.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Idealism (Nature 1836)

We can only see what we are, and if we misbehave we suspect others.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

We prize books, and they prize them most who are themselves wise.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

Man’s Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Words are finite organs of the infinite mind.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Discipline (Nature, 1836)

Blessed are those who have no talent!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (February 1850)

Every new mind is a new classification.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Character And Virtues

We are parlor soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterward in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

What is a man good for without enthusiasm? Enthusiasm is the leaping lightning, not to be measured by the horsepower of the understanding. Hope never spreads her golden wings but on unfathomable seas. The same law holds for the intellect as for the will. When the will is absolutely surrendered to the moral sentiment, that is virtue; when the wit is surrendered to intellectual truth, that is genius.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Inspiration & Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

There are men who astonish and delight, men who instruct and guide. Some men’s words I remember so well that I must often use them to express my thought. Yes, because I perceive that we have heard the same truth, but they have heard it better.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Character (Lectures and Biographical Sketches, 1883)

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation, but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wills. Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Men suffer all their life long under the foolish superstition that they can be cheated. But it is as impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

All vigor is contagious, and when we see creation we also begin to create. Depth of character, height of genius, can only find nourishment in this soil.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture

That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist and Realist (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Let us never bow and apologize more. Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Character is higher than intellect… A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence (Essays: First Series, 1841)

A virtuous man is in unison with her works and makes the central figure of the visible sphere.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

There is no virtue which is final; all are initial. The virtues of society are vices of the saint.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Nature magically suits the man to his fortunes, by making these the fruit of his character.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The less a man thinks or knows about his virtues the better we like him.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

A complete man should need no auxiliaries to his personal presence.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Behavior (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The civilized man has built a coach but has lost the use of his feet.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Go put your creed into your deed, nor speak with double tongue.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Biographical Sketches (1883)

My children, you will never see anything worse than yourselves.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

Judge your natural character by what you do in your dreams.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

Manners require time, as nothing is more vulgar than haste.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Behavior

There is no miracle, where there is no humility.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship

I suppose no man can violate his nature.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Love And Relationships

The soul requires purity, but purity is not it; requires justice, but justice is not that; requires beneficence, but is somewhat better; so that there is a kind of descent and accommodation felt when we leave speaking of moral nature to urge a virtue which it enjoins. To the well-born child all the virtues are natural, and not painfully acquired. Speak to his heart, and the man becomes suddenly virtuous.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Perhaps we never saw them before and never shall meet them again. But we see them exchange a glance, or betray a deep emotion, and we are no longer strangers. We understand them and take the warmest interest in the development of the romance. All mankind loves a lover.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Love (Essays: First Series, 1841)

We must be lovers, and at once the impossible becomes possible. Our age and history, for these thousand years, has not been the history of kindness, but of selfishness. Our distrust is very expensive.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Man The Reformer (January 25, 1841)

And The figure of Cupid is drawn with a bandage around his eyes. Love is blind because he does not see what he does not like, but the sharpest–sighted hunter in the universe is Love.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Address on The Method of Nature (1841)

But the sweet sincerity of joy and peace which I draw from this alliance with my brother’s soul is the nut itself whereof all nature and all thought is but the husk and shell.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The lovers delight in endearments, in avowals of love, in comparisons of their regards. When alone, they solace themselves with the remembered image of the other.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Love (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Love reduces them as the sun melts the iceberg in the sea. The heart and soul of all men being one, this bitterness of His and Mine ceases. His is mine.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The lover has no talent, no skill, which passes for quite nothing with his enamored maiden, however little she may possess of related faculty.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul (Essays: First Series, 1841)

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. The whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

From the highest degree of passionate love to the lowest degree of goodwill, friends make the sweetness of life.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Love is fabled to be blind, but kindness is necessary to perception; love is not a hood, but an eye-water.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Love, which is the essence of God is not for levity, but for the total worth of man.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

All love is mathematically just, as much as the two sides of an algebraic equation.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

Our chief want in life is somebody who will inspire us to do what we can.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Considerations by the Way (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

In strictness, the soul does not respect men as it respects itself…

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

Great love is the inventor and expander of the frozen powers.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Love is an immortal child, and Beauty leads him as a guide.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Love of the hero corrupts into worship of his statue.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Love and you shall be loved.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Beauty And Beautiful Things

What a man does, that he has. What has he to do with hope or fear? In himself is his might. Let him regard no good as solid but that which is in his nature, and which must grow out of him as long as he exists. The goods of fortune may come and go like summer leaves; let him scatter them on every wind as the momentary signs of his infinite productiveness.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

But this beauty of Nature which is seen and felt as beauty is the least part. The shows of the day, the dewy morning, the rainbow, mountains, orchards in blossom, stars, moonlight, shadows in still water, and the like, if too eagerly hunted, become shows merely, and mock us with their unreality.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes. It is the most enduring quality and the most ascending quality.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Are there not women who fill our vase with wine and roses to the brim, so that the wine runs over and fills the house with perfume; who inspire us with courtesy; who unloose our tongues and we speak; who anoint our eyes and we see?

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Manners (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty. Beauty, in its largest and most profound sense, is one expression of the universe. God is the all-fair. Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

Beauty is the form under which the intellect prefers to study the world. There are many beauties; such as, of general nature, of the human face and form, of manners, of brain, or method, moral beauty, or beauty of the soul.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

It costs a beautiful person no exertion to paint her image in our eyes; yet how splendid is that benefit! It costs no more for a wise soul to convey his quality to other men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Uses of Great Men, (Representative Men, 1850)

But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

Take those lips away which so sweetly were forsworn; and those eyes, — the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Idealism (Nature, 1836)

Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, and handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Do not waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Success (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Nor can we express a deeper sense than when we say, Beauty is the pilot of the young soul.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Flowers…are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gifts (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait. Beauty, without expression, is boring.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Let him go where he will, he can only find so much beauty or worth as he carries.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

All things are for the sake of the good, and it is the cause of everything beautiful.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato or The Philosopher (Representative Man, 1850)

The ornament of beauty is Suspect, A crow which flies in heaven’s sweetest air.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Idealism (Nature, 1836)

Beauty rests on necessities. The line of beauty is the result of a perfect economy.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Farming (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old but of the natural.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, History (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Beauty is the mark God sets upon virtue. Every natural action is graceful.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

Truth, and goodness, and beauty are but different faces of the same all.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

Ever does natural beauty steal in like air, and envelope great actions.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Art (Essays: First Series, 1841)

This Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

The invisible things of God, before things seen and known.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Biographical Sketches (1883)

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Top Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Happiness And Peace

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, and the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity When the star Canape shines in May, Shepherds are thankful and nations gay. The music that can deepest reach, And cure all ill, is cordial speech: Mask thy wisdom with delight, Toy with the bow, yet hit the white. Of all wit’s uses, the main one is to live well with those who have none.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Merlin’s Song (Poems)

But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

There are graces in the demeanor of a polished and noble person which are lost upon the eye of a churl. These are like the stars whose light has not yet reached us.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Happy will that house be in which the relations are formed from character, after the highest, and not after the lowest order; the house in which character marries.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Domestic Life (Society and Solitude, 1870)

A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Some of your hurts you have cured, and the sharpest you still have survived, But what torments of grief you endured from evils which never arrived!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Borrowing From the French (May-Day and Other Pieces, 1867)

A cultivated person fitly surrounded by a happy home, with “Honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,” is of all institutions the best.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Personal (English Traits, 1856)

There can never be deep peace between two spirits, never mutual respect until, in their dialogue, each stands for the whole world.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Illusions (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard for any.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Considerations by the Way, (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spirit (Nature, 1836)

Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Intellect (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Manners (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Happy is the house that shelters a friend!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Music is the poor man’s Parnassus.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poetry and Imagination (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

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Motivational Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Life And Time

Today is a king in disguise. Today always looks mean to the thoughtless, in the face of a uniform experience, that all good and great and happy actions are made up precisely of these blank to-days. Let us not be so deceived. Let us unmask the king as he passes. Let us not inhabit times of wonderful and various promise without divining their tendency.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Introductory Lecture on the Times (December 2, 1841)

The wings of Time are black and white, pied with morning and with night. Mountain tall and ocean deep trembling balance duly keep. In changing moon, in tidal wave, glows the feud of Want and Have. Gauge of more and less through space electric star and pencil plays. The lonely Earth amid the balls That hurry through the eternal halls.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

We cannot overstate our debt to the Past, but the moment has the supreme claim. The Past is for us, but the sole terms on which it can become ours are its subordination to the Present. Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor. We must not tamper with the organic motion of the soul.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old. Beware when the great God lets lose a thinker on this planet.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, (Source: Unknown)

Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many-colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

We live by desire to live; we live by choice; by will, by thought, by virtue, by the vivacity of the laws which we obey, and obeying share their life,—or we die by sloth, by disobedience, by losing hold of life, which ebbs out of us.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

If there is the desire to live, and in a larger sphere, with more knowledge and power, it is because life and knowledge and power are good for us, and we are the natural depositaries of these gifts.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

The present moment gives the motion and the color of the flake, Past (Antiquity) its form and properties. All things wear a lustre which is the gift of the present, and a tarnish of time.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

It is inevitable that you are indebted to the past. You are fed and formed by it. The old forest is decomposed for the composition of the new forest.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

It is not the length of life, but depth of life. It is not duration, but a taking of the soul out of time, as all high action of the mind does.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. All is riddle and the key to a riddle is another riddle.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Illusions (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The name of death was never terrible to him that knew to live. A man of thought is willing to die, willing to live.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality

Tobacco, coffee, alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, and strychnine, are weak dilutions. The surest poison is time.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poetry and Imagination (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Tomorrow will be like today. Life wastes itself whilst we are preparing to live.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence (Essays: First Series, 1841)

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Time shall teach him that the scholar loses no hour which the man lives.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

That the days spent in the chase are not counted in the length of life.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits (1856)

We do not count a man’s years until he has nothing else to count.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Old Age (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Life is not so short but there is always time enough for courtesy.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

We are always getting ready to live but never living.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (12 April 1834)

The years teach much which the days never know.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

How much of human life is lost in waiting!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence

Let us leave hurry to slaves.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Manners (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Knowledge, Thoughts & Wisdom

Man is his own star; and the soul that can render an honest and perfect man, commands all light, all influence, all fate; Nothing to him falls early or too late. Our acts our angels are, or good or ill, our fatal shadows that walk by us still. Cast the bantling on the rocks, suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat wintered with the hawk and fox, power and speed be hands and feet.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Thought is all light and publishes itself to the universe. It will speak, though you were dumb, by its own miraculous organ. It will flow out of your actions, your manners, and your face. It will bring you friendships. It will impledge you to the truth by the love and expectation of generous minds.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Literary Ethics (1838)

Every thought is also a prison; every heaven is also a prison. Therefore we love the poet, the inventor, who in any form, whether in an ode or in an action or in looks and behavior, has yielded us a new thought. He unlocks our chains and admits us to a new scene.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Genius borrows nobly. When Shakespeare is charged with debts to his authors, Landor replies: “Yet he was more original than his originals. He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life”.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Thoughts let us into realities. Neither miracle nor magic nor any religious tradition, nor the immortality of the private soul is incredible after we have experienced an insight, a thought.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Inspiration (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and perfect contentment.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (1841)

Genius sheds wisdom like perfume and advertises to us that it flows out of a deeper source than the foregoing silence, that it knows so deeply and speaks so musically.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Method of Nature (August 1841)

For every grain of wit, there is a grain of folly. For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Intelligence makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good intellect.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Comic (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Nature, 1836)

Immortality. I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (May 1849), A Remark Made by Emerson

A man is a golden impossibility. The line he must walk is a hair’s breadth. The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men — that is genius.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The wise man throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Power (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The most wonderful inspirations die with their subject if he has no hand to paint them to the senses.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Intellect (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Of course, he who has put forth his total strength in fit actions, has the richest return of wisdom.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Behavior (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The religions of the world are the ejaculations of a few imaginative men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prospects (Nature, 1836)

There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Demonology (Lectures and Biographical Sketches, 1883)

True genius always purifies. Genius is always on the side of morals.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

But the quality of the imagination is to flow, and not to freeze.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet

There is no knowledge that is not power.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Old Age (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Knowledge is the antidote to fear.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Courage (Society and Solitude, 1870)

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About God, Religion & Spirituality

The nature and soul of things takes on itself the guarantee of the fulfillment of every contract so that honest service cannot come to loss. If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withheld, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night, and history is an impertinence and an injury if it be anything more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (1 October 1848)

Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it and had his being there. Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, An Address (The American Scholar, July 15, 1838)

Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree to which it enters into all lower forms. All things real are so by so much virtue as they contain.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

In how many churches, by how many prophets, tell me, is man made sensible that he is an infinite Soul; that the earth and heavens are passing into his mind; that he is drinking forever the soul of God?

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul (Essays: First Series, 1841)

All the good of nature is the soul’s and may be had, if paid for in nature’s lawful coin, that is, by labor which the heart and the head allow.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever only rejoices me, and the heart appoints.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer and shall pass into the immortal as gently as we awake from dreams.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prospects (Nature, 1836)

The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

The inviolate spirit turns its spite against the wrongdoers. The martyr cannot be dishonored.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

The soul knows only the soul; the web of events is the flowing robe in which she is clothed.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul

It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul which animates all men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Circles, like the soul, are neverending and turn round and round without a stop.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The soul answers never by words, but by the thing itself that is inquired after.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul

A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Men are better than their theology. Their daily life gives it the lie.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

Let us be silent

– so that we may hear the whisper of the Gods.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Language (Nature, 1836)

God enters by a private door into every individual.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Intellect (Essays: First Series, 1841)

We must be our own before we can be another’s.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship

You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

Revelation is the disclosure of the soul.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Greatness & Great People

The great man knew not that he was great. It took a century or two for that fact to appear. What he did, he did because he must; it was the most natural thing in the world and grew out of the circumstances of the moment. But now, everything he did, even the lifting of his finger or the eating of bread, looks large, all-related, and is called an institution.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Nature stretcheth out her arms to embrace man, only let his thoughts be of equal greatness. Willingly does she follow his steps with the rose and the violet, and bend her lines of grandeur and grace to the decoration of her darling child.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

When nature removes a great man, people explore the horizon for a successor; but none comes, and none will. His class is extinguished with him. In some other and quite different field, the next man will appear.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Uses of Great Men (Representative Men, 1850)

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

I delight in the man of resources. I am cheered by the bold and resolved mind. I like to see that every mind is born with a bias or talent and has a way of its own in Nature.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Resources (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate, The Conduct of Life (1860)

A philosopher must be more than a philosopher. Plato is clothed with the powers of a poet and stands in the highest place of the poet.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Uses of Great Men

A great man is a new statue in every attitude and action. A beautiful woman is a picture which drives all beholders nobly mad.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Art (Essays: First Series, 1841)

A great man scarcely knows how he dines, how he dresses; but without railing or precision, his living is natural and poetic.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Follow the great man, and you shall see what the world has at heart in these ages. There is no omen like that.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Method of Nature (August 11, 1841)

It is almost a proverb that a great man has not a great son. Bacon, Newton, and Washington were childless.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Boston

The child quotes his father, and the man quotes his friend. Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Whenever Heaven sends a great man into the world, it whispers the secret to one or two confidants.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The great man is not convulsible or tormentable; events pass over him without much impressions…

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, History, Essays: First Series (1841)

Gold and iron are good to buy iron and gold; All earth’s fleece and food for their like are sold.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Politics (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

He is great who is what he is from Nature, and who never reminds us of others.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Uses of Great Men

The fame of a great man is not rigid and stony like his bust. It changes with time.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Milton

The best lightning-rod for your protection is your own spine.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Every great man is unique.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

What is not good for virtue, is good for knowledge.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato or The Philosopher (Representative Men, 1850)

Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato, or The Philosopher

The great man makes the great thing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

This world belongs to the energetic.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Resources (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Culture, Society & Wealth

An immoral law makes it a man’s duty to break it, at every hazard. For virtue is the very self of every man. It is, therefore, a principle of law that an immoral contract is void, and that an immoral statute is void. For, as laws do not make right, and are simply declaratory of a right which already existed, it is not to be presumed.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Address to Citizens of Concord (The Fugitive Slave Law, 3 May 1851)

Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is Christianized, it is rich, and it is scientific, but this change is not amelioration. For everything that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts and loses old instincts.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well. Hence, the less government we have, the better — the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Politics (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation today, next year die, and their experience with them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If you would lift me, you must be on higher ground. If you would liberate me you must be free. If you would correct my false view of facts, — hold up to me the same facts in the true order of thought, and I cannot go back from the new conviction.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eloquence (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not take away your property in all men’s possessions, in all men’s affections, in art, in nature, and in hope.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Literary Ethics (1838)

He who knows the most; he who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star. In our barbarous society, the influence of character is in its infancy.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Politics

Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, and has no invention; it is all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence, no husbandry.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conservative (December 1841)

The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops – no, but the kind of man the country turns out.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Civilization (Society and Solitude, 1870)

A cheerful intelligent face is the end of culture, and success enough. For it indicates the purpose of nature and wisdom attained.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

A great man quotes bravely, and will not draw on his invention when his memory serves him with a word just as good.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The reason why the world lacks unity and lies broken and in heaps is because man is disunited with himself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prospects (Nature, 1836)

He is the richest man who knows how to draw a benefit from the labor of the greatest number of men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Fortune…Make the most of it. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The secret of success lies never in the amount of money but in the relation of income to outgo.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth

Give no bounties: make equal laws: secure life and property, and you need not give alms.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth

People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Society everywhere is in a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

As there is a use in medicine for poisons, so the world cannot move without rogues.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Power (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

He chose to be rich by making his wants few and supplying them himself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson on Henry David Thoreau

Man exists for his own sake and not to add a laborer to the state.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Fortune of the Republic

Every man is wanted and no man is wanted much.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist and Realist

The world is his, who has money to go over it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth

Goodbye, proud world! I’m going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Good-bye (Poems, 1847)

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Truth, Honesty And Fate

People go out to look at sunrises and sunsets who do not recognize their own quietly and happily, but know that it is foreign to them. As they do by books, so they quote the sunset and the star and do not make them theirs. Worse yet, they live as foreigners in the world of truth, and quote thoughts, and thus disown them. Quotation confesses inferiority.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely… but by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature and can then draw him at every attitude.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, History (Essays: First Series, 1841)

There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (Essays: First Series, 1841)

No man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hindrances or talents of men until he has suffered from the one, and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of the same.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds… A nation of men will for the first time exist because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Self-trust is the essence of heroism. It speaks the truth, and it is just, generous, hospitable, temperate, scornful of petty calculations, and scornful of being scorned.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Speak the truth, and all nature and all spirits help you with unexpected furtherance. Speak the truth, and all things alive or brute are vouchers.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, An Address (July 15, 1838)

You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

We are to dignify to each other the daily needs and offices of man’s life and embellish it with courage, wisdom, and unity.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship (Essays: First Series, 1841)

If we look wider, things are all alike; laws and letters and creeds and modes of living seem a travesty of truth.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it — else it is none.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar but is a stab at the health of human society.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence (Essays: First Series, 1841)

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, “Let there be truth between us two forevermore”.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Behavior (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

Truth is always present: it only needs to lift the iron lids of the mind’s eye to read its oracles.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Quotation and Originality

God may forgive sins, he said, but awkwardness has no forgiveness in heaven or earth.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Deep in the man sits fast his fate to mold his fortunes, mean or great.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate (May-Day and Other Pieces, 1867)

Fate is nothing but deeds committed in a prior state of existence.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Intellect (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Not in nature but in man is all the beauty and worth he sees.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Self-respect is the early form in which greatness appears.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The kindness of kings consists in justice and strength.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Abraham Lincoln (1865)

It came into him life; it went out from him truth.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

The faith that stands on authority is not faith.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-Soul

To live without duties is obscene.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Aristocracy (Biographical Sketches, 1883)

 

Great Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Success And Work

The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secret. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Education (Lectures and Biographical Sketches, 1883)

Success treads on every right step. For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns, that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds. He learns that he who has mastered any law in his private thoughts is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic, and faithful, and you will accomplish your object.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals

Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

It will never make any difference to a hero what the laws are. His greatness will shine and accomplish itself unto the end, whether they second him or not. Of the past he will take no heed; for its wrongs, he will not hold himself responsible.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conservative (December 9, 1841)

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immortality (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, New England Reformers (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

The boy wishes to learn to skate, to coast, to catch a fish in the brook, to hit a mark with a snowball or a stone; and a boy a little older is just as well pleased to teach him these sciences.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Education

The college, which should be a place of delightful labor, is made odious and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Education

Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: Every man I meet is my master at some point, and in that, I learn of him.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Greatness (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Every man has his own courage, as his own talent; and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Courage (Society and Solitude, 1870)

There is no king, rich man, fairy, or demon who possesses such power as that. The days are ever divine as to the first Aryans.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Work and Days (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Every man is an impossibilty until he is born; everything is impossible until we see a success.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Books are the best type of influence of the past… The theory of books is noble.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

Self-command is the main elegance. Self-trust is the first secret to success.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

The sum of wisdom is that the time is never lost that is devoted to work.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Success (Society and Solitude, 1870)

Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by overinfluence.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar (1837)

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, New England Reformers (1844)

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (1841)

A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eloquence (Society and Solitude, 1870)

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Every artist was first an amateur.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Attitude, Power And Health

The spirit only can teach. Not any profane man, not any sensual, not any liar, not any slave can teach, but only he can give, who has; he only can create, who is. The man on whom the soul descends, through whom the soul speaks, alone can teach. Courage, piety, love, and wisdom, can teach; and every man can open his door to these angels, and they shall bring him the gift of tongues.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, An Address (July 15, 1838)

He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (Essays: First Series, 1841)

When it (Man) breathes through his intellect it is genius; when it breathes through his will, it is virtue; when it flows through his affection, it is love. And the blindness of the intellect begins when it would be something of itself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Knowledge, Virtue, and Power are the victories of man over his necessities, his march to the dominion of the world. Every man ought to have this opportunity to conquer the world for himself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Man the Reformer (January 25, 1841)

The influence of the senses has in most men overpowered the mind to the degree that the walls of time and space have come to look real and insurmountable

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-Soul

As we grow older we value total powers and effects, as the impression, the quality, and the spirit of men and things. The genius is all.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist And Realist (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue, and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth (The Conduct of Life, 1860)

But Coolness and absence of heat and haste indicate fine qualities. A gentleman makes no noise; a lady is serene.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Manners (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

One man’s justice is another’s injustice; one man’s beauty another’s ugliness; one man’s wisdom another’s folly.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (Essays: First Series, 1841)

No man can learn what he has not prepared for learning, however near to his eyes is the object.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Forgive his crimes, forgive his virtues too, Those smaller faults, half converts to the right.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

Nature abhors the old, and old age seems the only disease; all others run into this one.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

In youth, we are mad for persons. Childhood and youth see all the world in them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-soul

It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (May 3, 1845)

Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty (Nature, 1836)

Imagination is not a talent of some men but is the health of every man.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poetry and Imagination (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

Health is the first muse, and sleep is the condition to produce it.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Inspiration (Letters and Social Aims, 1876)

All are needed by each one, Nothing is fair or good alone.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Each and All, Poems (1847)

Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Sport is the bloom and glow of a perfect health.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Heroism (Essays: First Series, 1841)

Long-lived trees make roots first – and the like.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Language (Nature, 1836)

But whilst you wait, you grow old and useless.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Transcendentalist

A man is the prisoner of his power.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Culture

Blame is safer than praise.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation

 

Fake R.W Emerson Quotes That Are Misattributed To Him

To laugh often and much: To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.

– Bessie A. Stanley (Emporia Gazette of Emporia, 1905), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.

– Harrington Emerson (American Efficiency Engineer), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

For this new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

– Anonymous (Father We Thank Thee Poem, widely reprinted in Hymnals), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

The purpose of life is not to be happy at all. It is to be useful, to be honorable. It is to be compassionate. It is to matter, to have it make some difference that you lived.

– Leo Rosten, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault.

– Saint Bernard, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.

– Georg Fabricius, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

– Ronald E. Osborn, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

– Henry Stanley Haskins (Meditations in Wall Street), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

– Muriel Strode (Wind-Wafted Flowers, 1909), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

– Oliver Goldsmith, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson & Others, Quote Investigator

Don’t choose the better person, choose the person who makes a better you.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

– Nike Advertisement (Crafted by Wieden & Kennedy, 1991), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once you make a decision, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.

– Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.

– Theodore Roosevelt, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live well, learn plenty, laugh often, love much.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Character is built on the debris of despair.

– Anonymous, Misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

As soon as there is life, there is danger.

– Madame de Stael (De l’Allemagne, 1813) Misattributed to Emerson

Always do what you are afraid to do.

– Misattributed to Emerson, He credited the quote to an Anonymous Person (Heroism)

In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, and popular lecturer. The above quotes have been taken from his famous literary pieces like Nature, The American Scholar, An Address, The Transcendentalist, The Lord’s Supper, Conduct of Life, Society And Solitude, Farming, and from several of his Poems.

His first two collections of essays, Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844), represent the core of his thinking. These collections include – Compensation, Spiritual Laws, Love, Friendship, Prudence, Circles, Intellect And Art, The Poet, Experience, Character, Manners, Gifts, Nature, Politics, Nominalist and Realist, New England Reformers, Plato or The Philosopher, And Napoleon or The Man of The World and many others.

We hope you have liked all these genuine Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes. As the whole of the Internet is flooded with fake Emerson quotes, We have carefully compiled these Emerson quotes from his literary works.

However, there are a few quotes that could not be verified against the available sources. If you have information about any reliable source, then do share it in our email or comment box so that we could update it in the future.

“He needs No library, for he has not done thinking; No church, for he is himself a prophet; No statute book, for he hath the Lawgiver; No money, for he is value itself; No road, for he is at home where he is; No experience, for the life of the creator, shoots through him, and looks from his eyes.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Politics (Essays: Second Series, 1844)

References:
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Centenary ed., 12 vols. Boston and New York, 1903-1904
The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson., 10 vols. Boston and New York
The Heart of Emerson’s Journals, ed. Bliss Perry. Boston and New York
The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Rusk, 6 vols. New York
The Complete Essays And Other Writings of Emerson, Modern Library, New York
Emerson at LucidCafe Library
The Complete Works of Emerson
Emerson at LucidCafe Library
Reading Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson Central
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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