Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

  • ''What is well done, I feel as if I did; what is ill-done, I reck not of.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844). Emerson is speaking in particular of literature and writing.
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  • ''The day is always his, who works in it with serenity and great aims.''
    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).
  • ''There is this to be said in favor of drinking, that it takes the drunkard first out of society, then out of the world.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 16, 1866 entry, eds. Ronald Bosco and Glen Johnson.
  • ''Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Poet," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Whatever events in progress shall disgust men with cities, and infuse into them the passion for country life, and country pleasures, will render a service to the whole face of this continent, and will further the most poetic of all the occupations of real life, the bringing out by art the native but hidden graces of the landscape.''
    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).
  • ''Wise men are not wise at all hours, and will speak five times from their taste or their humor, to once from their reason.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Miracle comes to the miraculous, not to the arithmetician.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''Glittering generalities! They are blazing ubiquities!''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Attributed. Remark made referring to the criticism by Rufus Choate of the Declaration of Independence in a letter to the Maine Whig Central Committee, August 9, 1856: "Its constitution the glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence." Published in The Works of Rufus Choate with a Memoir of his Life, vol. 1, ed. S.G. Brown (1862).
  • ''Men admire the man who can organize their wishes and thoughts in stone and wood and steel and brass.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Courage," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • ''If the vast and the spiritual are omitted, so are the practical and the moral.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Education," Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883, repr. 1904).

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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...

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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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