Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Knowledge, Virtue, Power are the victories of man over his necessities, his march to the dominion of the world.''
    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).
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  • ''We are thus assisted by natural objects in the expression of particular meanings. But how great a language to convey such pepper-corn informations!''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 4 (1836, revised and repr. 1849). Emerson muses that language may be more than a mere tool to signify objects. It might indeed transcend utility and embody in itself unheard-of regions of significance.
  • ''The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Lecture, March 3, 1884, in Amory Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. "New England Reformers," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Perpetual modernness is the measure of merit, in every work of art; since the author of it was not misled by anything short- lived or local, but abode by real and abiding traits.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato; or, the Philosopher," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''Every word we speak is million-faced or convertible to an indefinite number of applications. If it were not so we could read no book. Your remark would only fit your case, not mine.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Quoted in Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire, ch. 16 (1995).
  • ''For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Do not shut up the young people against their will in a pew, and force the children to ask them questions for an hour against their will.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Conservatism is affluent and openhanded, but there is a cunning juggle in riches. I observe that they take somewhat for everything they give. I look bigger, but am less; I have more clothes, but am nit so warm; more armor, but less courage; more books, but less wit.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 9, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Conservative," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
  • ''Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds. Each man seeks those of different quality from his own, and such as are good of their kind; that is, he seeks other men, and the otherest.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is Doomsday.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870).

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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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