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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A good indignation brings out all one's powers.

Do the thing and you will have the power. But they that do not the thing, had not the power.
When I was praised I lost my time, for instantly I turned around to look at the work I had thought slightly of, and that day I made nothing new.
Some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise.
Preaching is the expression of moral sentiments applied to the duties of life.
The good rain, like a bad preacher, does not know when to leave off.
Give me insight into today and you may have the antique and future worlds.
Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.
The President has paid dear for his White House. It has commonly cost him all his peace, and the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne.
The walking of Man is falling forwards.
All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.
All promise outruns performance.
If a man owns land, the land owns him.
No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic also.
Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness, and patience in the players.
I know of no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that of tenacity of purpose...
Men achieve a certain greatness unawares, when working to another aim.
The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.
Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that line will be quoted east and west.
The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem.
He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself.
The spirit of our American radicalism is destructive and aimless; it is not loving; it has no ulterior and divine ends; but is destructive only out of hatred and selfishness.
You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.
Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be a private opinion again, it will solve the problem of the age.
If there is any period one would desire to be born in, is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side, and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era?
Man was born to be rich, or grow rich by use of his faculties, by the union of thought with nature. Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness, and patience in the players.
I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I am not afraid of falling into my inkpot.
We must set up a strong present tense against all rumors of wrath, past and to come.
I cannot forgive a scholar his homeless despondency.
The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He plies the slow, unhonored, and unpaid task of observation. He is the world's eye.
What terrible questions we are learning to ask! The former men believed in magic, by which temples, cities, and men were swallowed up, and all trace of them gone. We are coming on the secret of a magic which sweeps out of men's minds all vestige of theism and beliefs which they and their fathers held and were framed upon.
Do what we can, summer will have its flies.
No one has a prosperity so high and firm that two or three words can't dishearten it.
Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit.
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.
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. The gods loved him because men hated him.
A low self-love in the parent desires that his child should repeat his character and fortune.
This gives force to the strong -- that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or original action.
The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.
Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper.
Society is infested by persons who, seeing that the sentiments please, counterfeit the expression of them. These we call sentimentalists--talkers who mistake the description for the thing, saying for having.
He is great who confers the most benefits.
It the proof of high culture to say the greatest matters in the simplest way.
That which we call sin in others, is experiment for us.
Sincerity is the highest complement you can pay,
The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Slavery is an institution for converting men into monkeys.
Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts.
Society is a hospital of incurables.
Society always consists in the greatest part, of young and foolish persons.
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Sorrow makes us all children again, destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest knows nothing.
The soul's emphasis is always right.
The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul.
All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.
Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol and an audience is electrified.
Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.
The foundations of a person are not in matter but in spirit.