Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Strange is this alien despotism of Sleep which takes two persons lying in each other's arms & separates them leagues, continents, asunder.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Concord and Discord (1835-1838)," quoted in Joel Porte, Emerson in His Journals (1982).
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  • ''We go to Europe to be Americanized.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The pleasure of life is according to the man that lives it, and not according to the work or the place.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''So all that is said of the wise man by Stoic or Oriental or modern essayist, describes to each reader his own idea, describes his unattained but attainable self.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). Here Emerson links notions of self-realization and reading, and in so doing, summarizes his philosophy of education. The philosopher Stanley Cavell has characterized this idea as "nextness," meaning that Emerson is continually in search of that perfect self which lies just next to our present selves and toward which we turn to become. Finding the right representative, whether it be a person or a text, is essential for this Emersonian type of growth.
  • ''Let ideas establish their legitimate sway again in society, let life be fair and poetic, and the scholars will gladly be lovers, citizens, and philanthropists.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, January 25, 1841, before the Mechanics' Apprentices' Library Association, Boston, Massachusetts. "Man the Reformer," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
  • ''We can never part with it; the mind loves its old home: as water to our thirst, so is the rock, the ground, to our eyes, and hands, and feet. It is firm water: it is cold flame: what health, what affinity!''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men of thought. Great havoc makes among our originalities. We have reached the mountain from which all these drift boulders were detached.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato; or, the Philosopher," Representative Men (1850). Alfred North Whitehead expresses strikingly similar sentiments about Plato in his Dialogues.
  • ''A moment is a concentrated eternity.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Quoted in Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire, ch. 41 (1995).
  • ''It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of a crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''An answer in words is delusive; it is really no answer to the questions you ask.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (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

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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