Quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 April 27, 1882) was a famous American essayist and one of America's most influential thinkers and writers. more

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Manners are the happy way of doing things; each once a stroke of genius or of love --now repeated and hardened into usage. They form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. If they are superficial, so are the dewdrops which give such depth to the morning meadows.

The basis of good manners is self-reliance.
Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?
The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison a more illustrious abode.
The masses have no habit of self reliance or original action.
My chief want in life is someone who shall make me do what I can.
We cannot see things that stare us in the face until the hour comes that the mind is ripened.
All history is a record of the power of minorities, and of minorities of one.
Murder in the murderer is no such ruinous thought as poets and romancers will have it; it does not unsettle him, or fright him from his ordinary notice of trifles; it is an act quite easy to be contemplated.
A man is related to all nature.
Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of hidden stuff.
Make yourself necessary to somebody.
By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. In fact it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.
That which we do not believe, we cannot adequately say; even though we may repeat the words ever so often.
Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated about among men of thought.
Few people have any next, they live from hand to mouth without a plan, and are always at the end of their line.
It does not need that a poem should be long. Every word was once a poem. Every new relationship is a new word.
Oh man! There is no planet sun or star could hold you, if you but knew what you are.
The greatest man in history was the poorest.
Wherever there is power there is age.
Those who live to the future must always appear selfish to those who live to the present.
The artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like the bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.
The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it.
Dear to us are those who love us... but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.
Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves.
It is very easy in the world to live by the opinion of the world. It is very easy in solitude to be self-centered. But the finished man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourselves.
The never-ending task of self improvement.
Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.
Sincerity is the luxury allowed, like diadems and authority, only to the highest rank. Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.
Skepticism is unbelief in cause and effect.
Our spontaneous action is always the best. You cannot, with your best deliberation and heed, come so close to any question as your spontaneous glance shall bring you.
Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books. Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the book-worm.
The studious class are their own victims: they are thin and pale, their feet are cold, their heads are hot, the night is without sleep, the day a fear of interruption --pallor, squalor, hunger, and egotism.
The wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting.
The laws of each are convertible into the laws of any other.
If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.
An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.
The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine.
Of course, money will do after its kind, and will steadily work to unspiritualize and unchurch the people to whom it was bequeathed.
Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?
Our expenses are all for conformity.
Every man is an impossibility until he is born.
Imagination is not a talent of some people but is the health of everyone.
Science does not know its debt to imagination.
The quality of the imagination is to flow and not to freeze.
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.
It is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself.
Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events.
I look on that man as happy, who, when there is question of success, looks into his work for a reply.
My evening visitors, if they cannot see the clock should find the time in my face.
The search after the great men is the dream of youth, and the most serious occupation of manhood.
The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men around to his opinion twenty years later.
Those who cannot tell what they desire or expect, still sigh and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.