Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''If I quake, what matters it what I quake at? Our proper vice takes form in one or another shape, according to the sex, age, or temperament of the person, and, if we are capable of fear, will readily find terrors.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Character," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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  • ''You must pay at last your own debt. If you are wise, you will dread a prosperity which only loads you with more.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Let us learn to live coarsely, dress plainly, and lie hard. The least habit of dominion over the palate has certain good effects not easily estimated.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''But in every constitution some large degree of animal vigor is necessary as material foundation for the higher qualities of the art.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Eloquence," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''Illusion, Temperament, Succession, Surface, Surprise, Reality, Subjectiveness,—these are the threads on the loom of time, these are the lords of life.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''The greater speed and success that distinguish the planting of the human race in this country, over all other plantations in history, owe themselves mainly to the new subdivisions of the State into small corporations of land and power.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, September 12, 1835, on the occasion of the second centennial anniversary of the town of Concord. "Historical Discourse at Concord," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
  • ''He who knows the most, he who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''The surest poison is time.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Old Age," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''Then climate is a great impediment to idle persons; we often resolve to give up the care of the weather, but still we regard the clouds and the rain.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Prudence," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say "I think," "I am," but quotes some saint or sage.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). Emerson is clearly referring to Descartes' cogito argument, giving it a more heroic treatment than a traditional philosopher would.

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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

Nemesis

Already blushes in thy cheek
The bosom-thought which thou must speak;
The bird, how far it haply roam
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
The maiden fears, and fearing runs
Into the charmed snare she shuns;
And every man, in love or pride,
Of his fate is never wide.

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