Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo

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

Author Quotes

God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions.

Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.

Every violation of truth is a stab at the health of human society.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Every evil to which we do not succumb is a benefactor.

Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house, a world; and beyond its world, a heaven.

Every burned book enlightens the world.

Every calamity is a spur and valuable hint.

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.

Do the thing you fear, and death of fear is certain.

Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.

Do not be timid and squeamish about your actions; all life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.

Do not go where the path may lead instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.

Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.

Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred.

Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.

Character is higher than intellect.

Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory.

Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls.

A political victory, a rise in rents, the recovery of your sickness, or the return of your absent friend, or some other quite external event raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. It can never be so. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

Are you not scared by seeing that the gypsies are more attractive to us than the apostles?

As soon as there is life, there is danger.

A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.

A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

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