Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''Character teaches above our wills.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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  • ''The sentence must also contain its own apology for being spoken.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847). Here again Emerson anticipates certain post-modern literary concepts.
  • ''The attraction and superiority of California are in its days. It has better days & more of them, than any other country.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 16, p. 79 of the original manuscript, entry for 1871, eds. Ronald Bosco and Glen Johnson (1982).
  • ''Any relation to the land, the habit of tilling it, or mining it, or even hunting on it, generates the feeling of patriotism. He who keeps shop on it, or he who merely uses it as a support to his desk and ledger, or to his manufactory, values it less.''
    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).
  • ''I think sometimes, could I only have music on my own terms; could I live in a great city and know where I could go whenever I wished the ablution and inundation of musical waves,—that were a bath and a medicine.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap, than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Attributed. Ascribed to Emerson by Sarah Yule in the anthology Borrowings (1889), later said by her to originate in a lecture given by Emerson in 1871. A similar passage appears in Emerson's Journals (1909-1914), which provided material for many of his lectures and writings. The remark's authorship was also claimed by Elbert Hubbard in A Thousand and One Epigrams (1911). In The Worst Years of Our Lives, "The Cult of Busyness" (1991), Barbara Ehrenreich wrote: "Anyone who has invented a better mousetrap, or the contemporary equivalent, can expect to be harassed by strangers demanding that you read their unpublished manuscripts or undergo the humiliation of public speaking, usually on remote Midwestern campuses."
  • ''If a man knew anything, he would sit in a corner and be modest; but he is such an ignorant peacock, that he goes bustling up and down, and hits on extraordinary discoveries.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Cockayne," English Traits (1856).
  • ''Our life seems not present, so much as prospective; not for the affairs on which it is wasted, but as a hint of this vast- flowing vigor.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844). "Prospect" is a favorite word of Emerson's, implying, as it does, future fortunes, a place from which to gain an outlook, and a mining camp. All of these ideas can serve as metaphors for the Emersonian task.
  • ''We are such lovers of self-reliance, that we excuse in a man many sins, if he will show us a complete satisfaction in his position, which asks no leave to be, of mine, or any man's good opinion.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''We live in a system of approximations. Every end is prospective of some other end, which is also temporary; a round and final success nowhere. We are encamped in nature, not domesticated.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844). Emerson anticipates John Dewey's version of the pragmatic mode of knowing as a continuous, endless and ever-blossoming investigation.

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Best Poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Song Of Nature

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My ...

Read the full of Song Of Nature

Nemesis

Already blushes in thy cheek
The bosom-thought which thou must speak;
The bird, how far it haply roam
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
The maiden fears, and fearing runs
Into the charmed snare she shuns;
And every man, in love or pride,
Of his fate is never wide.

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