Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful. This is the reason why beauty is still escaping out of all analysis.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Beauty," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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  • ''Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841).
  • ''The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men round to his opinion twenty years later.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''In youth, we clothe ourselves with rainbows, with hope & love, & go as brave as the zodiack. In age we put out another sort of perspiration; gout, fever, rheumatism, caprice, doubt, fretting, and avarice.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Emerson in His Journals, October-November 1849, ed. Joel Porte (1982).
  • ''Intellect is a fire; rash and pitiless it melts this wonderful bone-house which is called man. Genius even, as it is the greatest good, is the greatest harm.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Farming," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''Men have sometimes exchanged names with their friends, as if they would signify that in their friend each loved his own soul.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Friendship," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''What is addressed to us for contemplation does not threaten us, but makes us intellectual beings.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Intellect," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''In all things I would have the island of a man inviolate. Let us sit apart as the gods, talking from peak to peak all round Olympus. No degree of affection need invade this religion.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Nature is thoroughly mediate. It is made to serve. It receives the dominion of man as meekly as the ass on which the Saviour rode. It offers all its kingdoms to man as the raw material which he may mould into what is useful. Man is never weary of working it up.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 5 (1836, revised and repr. 1849). This quotation might on its surface surprise some readers who believe that Emerson is the kind of environmentalist who is bent on leaving nature alone so humanity can learn from it. Like many religious thinkers, Emerson places the human mind and soul at the center of the universe. The key term here is "dominion," invoking Genesis 1:26 and suggesting wise, humble, connected, and responsible uses of the earth. Emerson is also proposing an epistemological theory here, namely that the world is created with every act of perception and thus humanity co-creates the world with God.
  • ''The use of natural history is to give us aid in supernatural history: the use of the outer creation, to give us language for the beings and changes of the inward creation.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 4 (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...

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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