Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Nothing can be colder than his head, when the lightnings of his imagination are playing in the sky.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato; or, the Philosopher," Representative Men (1850).
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  • '''Tis a queer life, and the only humour proper to it seems quiet astonishment. Others laugh, weep, sell, or proselyte. I admire.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Quoted in Gay Wilson Allen, Waldo Emerson (1981).
  • ''Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''The permanence of all books is fixed by no effort friendly or hostile, but by their own specific gravity, or the intrinsic importance of their contents to the constant mind of man.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''A state of war or anarchy, in which law has little force, is so far valuable, that it puts every man on trial. The man of principle is known as such, and even in the fury of faction is respected.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 9, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Conservative," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
  • ''But genius is religious. It is a larger imbibing of the common heart.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''America is not civil, whilst Africa is barbarous.''
    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). Edward Emerson notes that "Boston Hymn" sings a similar sentiment. Emerson is not commenting on the nature of African civilization, but noting the barbarity of the slave trade on its shores.
  • ''A little integrity is better than any career.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Behavior," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''But the heart refuses to be imprisoned; in its first and narrowest pulses it already tends outward with a vast force and to immense and innumerable expansions.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Circles," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Jesus and Shakespeare are fragments of the soul, and by love I conquer and incorporate them in my own conscious domain. His virtue,—is not that mine? His wit,—if it cannot be made mine, it is not wit.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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Best Poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fate

Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell's measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is...

Read the full of Fate

Terminus

It is time to be old,
To take in sail:--
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Come to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: "No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs; no more invent;

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