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Quotations From RALPH WALDO EMERSON

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  • 1.
    Empirical science is apt to cloud the sight, and, by the very knowledge of functions and processes, to bereave the student of the manly contemplation of the whole.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 8 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
  • 2.
    Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Heroism," Essays, First Series (1841).
  • 3.
    For, the experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).

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  • 4.
    The boy is a Greek; the youth, romantic; the adult, reflective.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).

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  • 5.
    The world is full of judgment-days, and into every assembly that a man enters, in every action he attempts, he is gauged and stamped.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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  • 6.
    Our housekeeping is mendicant, our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlor soldiers. We shun the ragged battle of fate, where strength is born.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). Society.

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  • 7.
    The rule for hospitality and Irish "help," is, to have the same dinner every day throughout the year. At last, Mrs. O'Shaughnessy learns to cook it to a nicety, the host learns to carve it, and the guests are well served.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Power," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • 8.
    If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap, than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Attributed. Ascribed to Emerson by Sarah Yule in the anthology Borrowings (1889), later said by her to originate in a lecture given by Emerson in 1871. A similar passage appears in Emerson's Journals (1909-1914), which provided material for many of his lectures and writings. The remark's authorship was also claimed by Elbert Hubbard in A Thousand and One Epigrams (1911). In The Worst Years of Our Lives, "The Cult of Busyness" (1991), Barbara Ehrenreich wrote: "Anyone who has invented a better mousetrap, or the contemporary equivalent, can expect to be harassed by strangers demanding that you read their unpublished manuscripts or undergo the humiliation of public speaking, usually on remote Midwestern campuses."

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  • 9.
    If thought makes free, so does the moral sentiment. The mixtures of spiritual chemistry refuse to be analyzed.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • 10.
    Plato is philosophy, and philosophy, Plato,—at once the glory and the shame of mankind, since neither Saxon nor Roman have availed to add any idea to his categories.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato; or, the Philosopher," Representative Men (1850).
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