Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Society and Solitude, "Old Age," (1870).
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  • ''The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''The philanthropists inquire whether Transcendentalism does not mean sloth: they had as lief hear that their friend is dead, as that he is a Transcendentalist; for then is he paralyzed, and can never do anything for humanity.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. speech, January 1842, at the Masonic Temple in Boston, repr. In The Dial (1843) and Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849). "The Transcendentalist," repr. in The Portable Emerson, ed. Carl Bode (1946, repr. 1981).
  • ''The energetic action of the times develops individualism, and the religious appear isolated. I esteem this a step in the right direction. Heaven deals with us on no representative system. Souls are not saved in bundles.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The pleasure of eloquence is in greatest part owing often to the stimulus of the occasion which produces it,—to the magic of sympathy, which exalts the feeling of each by radiating on him the feeling of all.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Art," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''The evolution of a highly destined society must be moral; it must run in the grooves of the celestial wheels.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Civilization," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''Mankind divides itself into two classes,—benefactors and malefactors. The second class is vast, the first a handful.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Considerations by the Way," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Let the man stand on his feet. Let religion cease to be occasional; and the pulses of thought that go to the borders of the universe, let them proceed from the bosom of the Household.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Domestic Life," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''I take this evanescence and lubricity of all objects, which lets them slip through our fingers then when we clutch hardest, to be the most unhandsome part of our condition.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844). Stanley Cavell bases a great deal of his Emersonian ruminations on this passage and the image of "unhandsomeness," which he links as much to the pun on "hand" and its relation to grasping, that is, understanding, as to lack a of beauty and grace.
  • ''The measure of action is the sentiment from which it proceeds. The greatest action may easily be one of the most private circumstance.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Goethe; or, the Writer," Representative Men (1850).

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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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