Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

For splendor, there must somewhere be rigid economy. That the head of the house may go brave, the members must be plainly clad, and the town must save that the State may spend.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, September 12, 1835, on the occasion of the second centennial anniversary of the town of Concord. "Historical Discourse at Concord," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
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It is the dissenter, the theorist, the aspirant, who is quitting this ancient domain to embark on seas of adventure, who engages our interest. Omitting then for the present all notice of the stationary class, we shall find that the movement party divides itself into two classes, the actors, and the students.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 2, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "Introductory Lecture on the Times," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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As the farmer casts into the ground the finest ears of his grain, the time will come when we too shall hold nothing back, but shall eagerly convert more than we now possess into means and powers, when we shall be willing to sow the sun and the moon for seeds.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, January 25, 1841, before the Mechanics' Apprentices' Library Association, Boston, Massachusetts. "Man the Reformer," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 5 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
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She is gamesome and good, But of mutable mood,— No dreary repeater now and again, She will be all things to all men.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature II," May-Day and Other Pieces (1867).
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Great geniuses have the shortest biographies. Their cousins can tell you nothing about them. They lived in their writings, and so their house and street life was trivial and commonplace. If you would know their tastes and complexions, the most admiring of their readers most resembles them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Plato; or, the Philosopher," Representative Men (1850).
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The good husband finds method as efficient in the packing of fire-wood in a shed, or in the harvesting of fruits in the cellar, as in Peninsular campaigns or the files of the Department of State.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Prudence," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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Power is, in nature, the essential measure of right. Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself. The genesis and maturation of a planet, its poise and orbit, the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind, the vital resources of every animal and vegetable, are demonstrations of the self-sufficing and therefore self-relying soul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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God screens us evermore from premature ideas. Our eyes are holden that we cannot see things that stare us in the face, until the hour arrives when the mind is ripened; then we behold them, and the time when we saw them not is like a dream.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Spiritual Laws," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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Art is a jealous mistress, and, if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. The Conduct of Life, "Wealth," (1860).
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