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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The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue; and no genius can long or often utter anything which is not invited and gladly entertained by men around him.

It is always so pleasant to be generous, though very vexatious to pay debts.
I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.
Friends, such as we desire, are dreams and fables.
Nothing is more disgusting than the crowing about liberty by slaves, as most men are, and the flippant mistaking for freedom of some paper preamble like a Declaration of Independence, or the statute right to vote, by those who have never dared to think or to act.
Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
I can reason down or deny everything, except this perpetual Belly: feed he must and will, and I cannot make him respectable.
The only prudence in life is concentration.
The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land.
The course of everything goes to teach us faith.
Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other; given the upper, to find the under side.
I hate the giving of the hand unless the whole man accompanies it.
There is always a best way of doing everything.
There is no one who does not exaggerate!
As soon as there is life there is danger.
A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.
Don't be a cynic and disconsolate preacher. Don't bewail and moan. Omit the negative propositions. Challenge us with incessant affirmatives. Don't waste yourself in rejection, or bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.
Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring.
Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy.
When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.
He who would be a man must therefore be a non-conformist.
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.
Judge of your natural character by what you do in dreams.
People wish to be settled. It is only as far as they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.
There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
Beauty is the mark God sets on virtue. Every natural action is graceful; every heroic act is also decent, and causes the place and the bystanders to shine.
The line of beauty is the line of perfect economy.
The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world is the highest applause.
There is this to be said in favor of drinking, that it takes the drunkard first out of society, then out of the world.
We do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten.
The thirst for adventure is the vent which Destiny offers; a war, a crusade, a gold mine, a new country, speak to the imagination and offer swing and play to the confined powers.
A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.
Words so vascular and alive they would bleed if you cut them, words that walked and ran.
There is a time when a man distinguishes the idea of felicity from the idea of wealth; it is the beginning of wisdom.
The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.
Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit.
Of all debts men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is this on government! Everywhere they think they get their moneys worth, except for these.
As there is a use in medicine for poisons, so the world cannot move without rogues.
No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.
Wherever work is done, victory is attained.
The value of a principle is the number of things it will explain; and there is no good theory of disease which does not at once suggest a cure.
There is always safety in valor.
Valor consists in the power of self recovery.
I suffer whenever I see that common sight of a parent or senior imposing his opinion and way of thinking and being on a young soul to which they are totally unfit. Cannot we let people be themselves, and enjoy life in their own way? You are trying to make that man another you. One's enough.
Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fullness and completion?
No man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it.
All necessary truth is its own evidence.
Every mind has a choice between truth and repose. Take which you please you can never have both.
The greatest homage we can pay truth is to use it.
Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs.
Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.
No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby-so helpless and so ridiculous.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Traveling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places.

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