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Quotations From RALPH WALDO EMERSON


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  • You shall not come nearer a man by getting into his house.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Friendship," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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  • I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).

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  • Astronomy to the selfish becomes astrology.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • A mob is a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason, and traversing its work. The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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  • Proverbs, like the sacred books of each nation, are the sanctuary of the intuitions. That which the droning world, chained to appearances, will not allow the realist to say in his own words, it will suffer him to say in proverbs without contradiction.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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  • The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Address Delivered in Concord on the Anniversary of the Emancipation of the Negroes in the British West Indies, August 1, 1844," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).

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  • The university must be retrospective. The gale that gives direction to the vanes on all its towers blows out of antiquity.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Universities," English Traits (1856).
  • The sea, washing the equator and the poles, offers its perilous aid, and the power and empire that follow it.... "Beware of me," it says, "but if you can hold me, I am the key to all the lands."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).

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  • Things admit of being used as symbols, because nature is a symbol, in the whole, and in every part.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).

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  • The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison a more illustrious abode.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841).

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