Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books. Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the book-worm.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Lecture, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Harvard University. "The American Scholar," published in Nature, Addresses and Lectures (1849).
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  • ''The basis of political economy is non-interference. The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply. Do not legislate. Meddle, and you snap the sinews with your sumptuary laws.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The fatal trait is the divorce between religion and morality.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Without the great arts which speak to the sense of beauty, a man seems to me a poor, naked, shivering creature. These are his becoming draperies, which warm and adorn him.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Books," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''The highest proof of civility is that the whole public action of the State is directed on securing the greatest good of the greatest number.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Civilization," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''If government knew how, I should like to see it check, not multiply, the population. When it reaches its true law of action, every man that is born will be hailed as essential.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Considerations by the Way," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The dearest events are summer-rain, and we the Para coats that shed every drop. Nothing is left us now but death. We look to that with grim satisfaction, saying, there at least is reality that will not dodge us.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''But when you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Heroism," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). Unless, of course, "your part" turns out to be a "foolish consistency."
  • ''When I behold a rich landscape, it is less to my purpose to recite correctly the order and superposition of the strata, than to know why all thought of multitude is lost in a tranquil sense of unity.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 8 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
  • ''It is bad enough that our geniuses cannot do anything useful, but it is worse that no man is fit for society who has fine traits. He is admired at a distance, but he cannot come near without appearing a cripple.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).

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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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