Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Science is nothing but the finding of analogy, identity, in the most remote parts.''
    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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  • ''We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Method of Nature," Nature, Addresses and Lectures (1849).
  • ''Language is fossil poetry.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''In rhetoric, this art of omission is a chief secret of power, and, in general, it is proof of high culture to say the greatest matters in the simplest way.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Beauty," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''I remember the thought which occurred to me when some ingenious and spiritual foreigners came to America, was, Have you been victimized in being brought hither?—or, prior to that, answer me this, "Are you victimizable?"''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Character," Essays, Second Series (1844). Here, Emerson anticipates certain contemporary debates about the status of victims in America. Just who he is referring to here is opaque.
  • ''I hate to be defended in a newspaper. As long as all that is said is said against me, I feel a certain assurance of success. But as soon as honeyed words of praise are spoken for me, I feel as one that lies unprotected before his enemies.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The only joy in his being mine, is that the not mine is mine.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Friendship," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''The love of beauty is mainly the love of measure or proportion. The person who screams, or uses the superlative degree, or converses with heat, puts whole drawing-rooms to flight.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''To the wise, therefore, a fact is true poetry, and the most beautiful of fables.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 8 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).

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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...

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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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