Quotations From RALPH WALDO EMERSON


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  • How dare I read Washington's campaigns, when I have not answered the letters of my own correspondents? Is not that a just objection to much of our reading? It is a pusillanimous desertion of our work to gaze after our neighbours. It is peeping.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

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  • No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. 'Tis a step out of the chalk circle of imbecility into fruitfulness.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Power," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • There is a genius of a nation, which is not to be found in the numerical citizens, but which characterizes the society.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • A drop of water has the properties of the sea, but cannot exhibit a storm. There is beauty of a concert, as well as of a flute; strength of a host, as well as of a hero.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Swedenborg; or, the Mystic," Representative Men (1850).

    Read more quotations about / on: hero, strength, water, sea, beauty
  • The highest praise we can attribute to any writer, painter, sculptor, builder, is, that he actually possessed the thought or feeling with which he has inspired us.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Art," Society and Solitude (1870).
  • Marriage (in what is called the spiritual world) is impossible, because of the inequality between every subject and every object.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).

    Read more quotations about / on: marriage, world
  • Society is a masked ball, where everyone hides his real character, and reveals it by hiding.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • Liberation of the will from the sheaths and clogs of organization which he has outgrown, is the end and aim of this world.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).

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  • Graceful women, chosen men
    Dazzle every mortal:
    Their sweet and lofty countenance
    His enchanting food.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Behavior," The Conduct of Life (1860).

    Read more quotations about / on: food, women
  • We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter, we stand by the old; reformers in the morning, conservers at night.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 9, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Conservative," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).

    Read more quotations about / on: autumn, winter, summer, spring, night
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