Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''In conversation the game is, to say something new with old words. And you shall observe a man of the people picking his way along, step by step, using every time an old boulder, yet never setting his foot on an old place.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 11, entry for 1849, eds. A.W. Plumstead and William H. Gilman (1975).
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  • ''The wise and just man will always feel that he stands on his own feet; that he imparts strength to the state, not receives security from it; and if all went down, he and such as he would quite easily combine in a new and better constitution.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, February 7, 1844, the Mercantile Library Association, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Young American," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849). The message here anticipates the spirit of JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
  • ''Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness, and patience in the players.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''A man's personal defects will commonly have with the rest of the world precisely that importance which they have to himself. If he makes light of them, so will other men.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Cockayne," English Traits (1856).
  • ''The solitary knows the essence of the thought, the scholar in society only its fair face.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Education," Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883, repr. 1904).
  • ''Every ship is a romantic object, except that we sail in. Embark, and the romance quits our vessel, and hangs on every other sail in the horizon.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''In good company, the individuals merge their egotism into a social soul exactly co-extensive with the several consciousnesses there present.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Friendship," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''A great man scarcely knows how he dines, how he dresses; but without railing or precision, his living is natural and poetic.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Heroism," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''Speech is better than silence; silence is better than speech.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''All the great speakers were bad speakers at first. Stumping it through England for seven years made Cobden a consummate debater. Stumping it through New England for twice seven trained Wendell Phillips.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Power," The Conduct of Life (1860).

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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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