Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Master of all sorts of wood-craft, he seemed a part of the forest and the lake, and the secret of his amazing skill seemed to be that he partook of the nature and fierce instincts of the beasts he slew.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, September 12, 1835, on the occasion of the second centennial anniversary of the town of Concord. "Historical Discourse at Concord," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
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  • ''Give the slave the least elevation of religious sentiment, and he is not slave: you are the slave: he not only in his humility feels his superiority, feels that much deplored condition of his to be a fading trifle, but he makes you feel it too. He is the master.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 2, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "Introductory Lecture on the Times," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849). Although this quotation contains obvious Hegelian themes, Emerson would not begin a serious study of Hegel for another eight years.
  • ''Power first, or no leading class. In politics and trade, bruisers and pirates are of better promise than talkers and clerks.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 1 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
  • ''You cannot institute, without peril of charlatanism.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato: New Readings," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''Far off, men swell, bully, and threaten; bring them hand to hand, and they are feeble folk.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Prudence," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good, is vicious.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''All things are known to the soul.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, August 11, 1841, at Waterville College, Maine before the Society of the Adelphi. "The Method of Nature," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
  • ''The breadth of the problem is great, for the poet is representative. He stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the commonwealth.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).

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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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