Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that line will be quoted east and west.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Journal entry, 1867. Journals, vol. 16, eds. Ronald Bosco and Glen Johnson (1982). The passage later appeared in Letters and Social Aims, "Quotation and Originality" (1876), in which Emerson commented, "By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."
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  • ''She gave high counsels. It was the privilege of certain boys to have this immeasurably high standard indicated to their childhood; a blessing which nothing else in education could supply.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Mary Moody Emerson," Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883, repr. 1904).
  • ''When the literary class betray a destitution of faith, it is not strange that society should be disheartened and sensualized by unbelief.''
    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).
  • ''We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star. In our barbarous society the influence of character is in its infancy.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Politics," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''We walk on molten lava on which the claw of a fly or the fall of a hair makes its impression, which being received, the mass hardens to flint and retains every impression forevermore.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Quoted in Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire, ch. 20 (1995).
  • ''Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Each man has an aptitude born with him. Do your work.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Success," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''All reform aims, in some one particular, to let the soul have its way through us; in other words, to engage us to obey.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''We swim, day by day, on a river of delusions, and are effectually amused with houses and towns in the air, of which the men about us are dupes. But life is a sincerity.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''These arts open great gates of a future, promising to make the world plastic and to lift human life out of its beggary to a god- like ease and power.''
    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

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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