Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo
Emerson
1803
1882

American Lecturer, Essayist and Poet, Leader of the Transcendentalist Movement, Champion of Individualism

Author Quotes

Whoever fights, whoever falls, Justice conquers evermore. And he who battles on her side, God, Though he were ten times slain, Crowns him victim, glorified: Victor over death and pain.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.

Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth. I look upon the simple and child-like virtues of veracity and honesty as the root of all that is sublime in character.

What is the hardest task in the world? To think.

What is the matter with the world that it is so out of joint? Simply that men do not rule themselves but let circumstances rule them.

We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.

We judge of man's wisdom by his hope.

To fill the hour - that is happiness.

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men; that is genius.

There is a time when a man distinguishes the idea of felicity from the idea of wealth; it is the beginning of wisdom.

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. 'Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. 'Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.

Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.

There is a soul at the center of nature, and over the will of every man... Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.

The years teach much which the days never know.

There are many who are living far below their possibilities because they are continually handing over their individualities to other. Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself. Be true to the highest within your soul, and then allow yourself to be governed by no customs or conventionalities or arbitrary man-made rules that are not founded on principle.

The secret of genius is...first, last, midst, and without end to honor every truth by use.

The things taught in school are not an education but the means of an education.

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

The meaning of good and bad, or better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.

Author Picture
First Name
Ralph Waldo
Last Name
Emerson
Birth Date
1803
Death Date
1882
Bio

American Lecturer, Essayist and Poet, Leader of the Transcendentalist Movement, Champion of Individualism