Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''In youth, we clothe ourselves with rainbows, and go as brave as the zodiac. In age, we put out another sort of perspiration—out, fever, rheumatism, caprice, doubt, fretting, avarice.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. philosopher, essayist, poet. "Fate," Conduct of Life (1860).
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  • ''There is no chance and anarchy in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Illusions," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''It is that which you know not in yourself, and can never know.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Love," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''A man is fed, not that he may be fed, but that he may work.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 2 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
  • ''We fancy men are individuals; so are pumpkins; but every pumpkin in the field, goes through every point of pumpkin history.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''It is an esoteric doctrine of society that a little wickedness is good to make muscle; as if conscience were not good for hands and legs.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Power," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). One of Emerson's more celebrated puns. Here, Emerson speaks especially to educators, as he attempts to erode the dominance of the rational wherever we seek to teach and to learn. In "The Poet," he will say essentially the same thing when he chides the artist to throw up his reigns and trust to the instinct of his horse.
  • ''Can anybody remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Society and Solitude, "Works and Days," (1870).
  • ''Thus to him, to this schoolboy under the bending dome of day, is suggested that he and it proceed from one root; one is leaf and one is flower; relation, sympathy, stirring in every vein. And what is that root? Is not that the soul of his soul?''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).
  • ''The best political economy is the care and culture of men; for, in these crises, all are ruined except such as are proper individuals, capable of thought, and of new choice and the application of their talent to new labor.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," English Traits (1856). The crises Emerson refers to here are the cyclical depressions and recessions inherent in the capitalist system. He is specifically referring to the advent of new technologies and raw materials that supersede and then destroy existing industries and products, robbing workers of their jobs and, as Emerson puts it, sacrificing whole towns "like ant hills."

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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

Terminus

It is time to be old,
To take in sail:--
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Come to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: "No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs; no more invent;

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