Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo

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

Author Quotes

A man is what he thinks about all day long.

A great man is always willing to be little.

A Day is a miniature Eternity.

A good indignation brings out all one's powers.

Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.

‘Tis weak and vicious people who cast the blame on fate.

Whoso would be a man, must be a non-conformist.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

When we preach unworthily it is not always in vain. There is poetic truth concealed in all the commonplaces of prayer and of sermons, and though foolishly spoken, they may be wisely heard.

Who you are shouts so loud, I cannot hear what you’re saying.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

When it is dark enough, men see stars.

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think.

What is imagination?… Only the precursor of the reason.

We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star. In our barbarous society the influences of character is in its infancy.

What are very near to greatness: one step and we are safe: can we not take the leap?

We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul. From within or from behind a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.

We live in succession, in division, in part, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE.

We estimate the wisdom of nations by seeing what they did with their surplus capital.

We forget ourselves and our destinies in health, and the chief use of temporary sickness is to remind us of these concerns.

We cannot overstate our debt to the Past, but the moment has the supreme claim.

We do not like those who unmask our illusions.

We boast of our emancipation from many superstitions; but if we have broken any idols, it is through a transfer of idolatry.

We cannot describe the natural history of the soul, but we know that it is divine.

Truth and goodness and beauty are but different faces of the same All. But beauty in nature is not ultimate. It is the herald of inward and eternal beauty.

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