Kings were wont to honour philosophers; but if I had such I would honour them as angels that should have such purity in them that they would not seek when they are the second to be the first, and when they are third to be the second.
(Elizabeth I (1533-1603), British monarch, Queen of England (1558-1603). As quoted in The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth, ch. 12, by Frederick Chamberlin (1923).
To a committee of both Houses of Parliament, which had demanded that she marry and name a successor.)
You would compliment a coxcomb doing a good act, but you would not praise an angel. The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world, is the highest applause.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Address, July 15, 1838, delivered before the senior class in Divinity College, Cambridge. "The Divinity School Address," repr. in The Portable Emerson, ed. Carl Bode (1946, repr. 1981).)
What angels invented these splendid ornaments, these rich conveniences, this ocean of air above, this ocean of water beneath, this firmament of earth between? this zodiac of lights, this tent of dropping clouds, this striped coat of climates, this fourfold year?
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 2 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).)