Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo

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

Author Quotes

No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.

No man really understands the truth until he has contended against it.

Money often costs too much.

Men are respectable only as they respect.

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is for you.

Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duties to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given; forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote these books.

Knowledge is the knowing that we cannot know.

Life is a festival only to the wise.

It is easy to live for others; everybody does. I call on you to live for yourselves.

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do."

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Intellect annuls fate. So far as a man thinks, he is free.

Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?

If man's eye is on the Eternal, his intellect will grow.

If we must accept Fate, we are no less compelled to affirm liberty, the significance of the individual, the grandeur of duty, the power of character.

Health is the condition of wisdom, and the sign is cheerfulness, - an open and noble temper.

I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass thread or frostwork, but the solidest thing we know.

I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, At the sophist schools and their learned clan; For what are they all, in their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet?

He has not learned the lesson of life who does not each day surmount a fear.

He who commits wrong must suffer wrong.

Great men are they who see the spiritual is stronger than material force, that thoughts rule the world.

Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to meet it.

Goodness that preaches undoes itself.

Great geniuses have the shortest biographies: Their cousins can tell you nothing about them.

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