Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''He that writes to himself writes to an eternal public. That statement only is fit to be made public, which you have come at in attempting to satisfy your own curiosity.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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  • ''Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983). The popgun metaphor is a wonderful imagistic summary of Emerson's confidence in the authentic individual being able to access truth. As always, we should be cautioned against interpreting Emerson as a radical individualist or separatist. The notion is that by staying true to our instincts we may enter a more universal community. He says a bit later in "The American Scholar": "He then learns, that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds."
  • ''I cannot forgive a scholar his homeless despondency.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Man of Letters," Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883).
  • ''If thou fill thy brain with Boston and New York, with fashion and covetousness, and wilt stimulate thy jaded senses with wine and French coffee, thou shalt find no radiance of wisdom in the lonely waste of the pinewoods.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''A farm is a good thing, when it begins and ends with itself, and does not need a salary, or a shop, to eke it out.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''From a great heart secret magnetisms flow incessantly to draw great events.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Beauty," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''If your friend has displeased you, you shall not sit down to consider it, for he has already lost all memory of the passage, and has doubled his power to serve you, and, ere you can rise up again, will burden you with blessings.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Character," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Commit a crime and the world is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Keep the town for occasions, but the habits should be formed in retirement.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''A Scholar is a candle which the love & desire of men will light. Let it not lie in a dark box.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Emerson in His Journals, March 25, 1847, ed. Joel Porte (1982).

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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

Eros

The sense of the world is short, -
Long and various the report, -
To love and be beloved;
Men and gods have not outlearned it;
And, how oft soe'er they've turned it,
'Tis not to be improved.

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