Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''The socialism of our day has done good service in setting men to thinking how certain civilizing benefits, now only enjoyed by the opulent, can be enjoyed by all.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860). Emerson sees, therefore, the question of the redistribution of wealth as essentially a cultural problem i.e., how to open access to the cultural riches, art, books, science, painting, music, literature to the greatest number of persons. These are at heart concerns of education.
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  • ''Thus, historically viewed, it has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty. We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Art," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Be sure then to read no mean books. Shun the spawn of the press on the gossip of the hour. Do not read what you shall learn, without asking, in the street and the train.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Books," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''Cause and effect are two sides of one fact.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Circles," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence, and need not to be flattered but to be schooled.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Considerations by the Way," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Who can ... guess how much industry and providence and affection we have caught from the pantomime of brutes?''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Discipline," Nature (1836).
  • ''Expediency of literature, reason of literature, lawfulness of writing down a thought, is questioned; much is to say on both sides, and, while the fight waxes hot, thou, dearest scholar, stick to thy foolish task, add a line every hour, and between whiles add a line.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''A man must thank his defects, and stand in some terror of his talents. A transcendent talent draws so largely on his forces as to lame him; a defect pays him revenues on the other side.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The genius is a genius by the first look he casts on any object. Is his eye creative? Does he not rest in angles and colors, but beholds the design,—he will presently undervalue the actual object.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Montaigne; or, the Skeptic," Representative Men (1850).
  • ''The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 6 (1836, revised and repr. 1849). Ever since Plato banned poetry from the Republic, statements like this have been controversial, at least in the minds of philosophers. Here, Emerson anticipates the late 20th-century work in philosophy of literature, hermeneutics, and literary theory that seeks to heal the ancient rift between philosophy and poetry.

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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

My Garden

If I could put my woods in song
And tell what's there enjoyed,
All men would to my gardens throng,
And leave the cities void.

In my plot no tulips blow,--
Snow-loving pines and oaks instead;
And rank the savage maples grow
From Spring's faint flush to Autumn red.

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