Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • '''T is good-will makes intelligence.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Titmouse," May-Day and Other Pieces (1867).
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  • ''The cheapness of man is every day's tragedy. It is as real a loss that others should be low, as that we should be low; for we must have a society.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''One definition of man is "an intelligence served by organs."''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870). Emerson may have taken this definition from Louis De Bonald's Théorie de Pouvoir Politique et Religieux (1796). The French writers Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, in an entry July 30, 1861, in The Goncourt Journals (1888-1896), wrote "Man is a mind betrayed, not served, by his organs," and Aldous Huxley proposed rather that "Man is an intelligence, not served by, but in servitude to his organs" (in Themes and Variations, "Variations on a Philosopher," 1950).
  • ''The highest compact we can make with our fellow is—"Let there be truth between us two forevermore."''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Behavior," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius, the stern friend, the cold, obscure shelter where moult the wings which will bear it farther than suns and stars.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The universe is the bride of the soul.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''The idiot, the Indian, the child and unschooled farmer's boy, stand nearer to the light by which nature is to be read, than the dissector or the antiquary.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''You sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into infamy if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy; and the name of this nation, hitherto the sweet omen of religion and liberty, will stink to the world.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Letter, April 23, 1838, written as a protest against the removal of the Cherokee from Georgia. "Letter to Martin Van Buren, President of the United States," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
  • ''Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. It is his, if he will. He may divest himself of it; he may creep into a corner, and abdicate his kingdom, as most men do, but he is entitled to the world by his constitution.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 3 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
  • ''If you would rule the world quietly, you must keep it amused.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "New England Reformers," Essays, Second Series (1844). Here Emerson paraphrases the maxim of a tyrant.

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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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