Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

The light by which we see in this world comes out from the soul of the observer. Wherever any noble sentiment dwelt, it made the faces and houses around to shine. Nay, the powers of this busy brain are miraculous and illimitable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Success," Society and Solitude (1870).
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I want the necessity of supplying my own wants. All this costly culture of yours is not necessary. Greatness does not need it. Yonder peasant, who sits neglected, carries a whole revolution of man and nature in his head, which shall be a sacred history to some future ages.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, December 9, 1841, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Conservative," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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The things we now esteem fixed shall, one by one, detach themselves, like ripe fruit, from our experience, and fall. The wind shall blow them none knows whither.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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But man crouches and blushes, Absconds and conceals; He creepeth and peepeth, He palters and steals; Infirm, melancholy, Jealous glancing around, An oaf, an accomplice, He poisons the ground.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Sphinx," Poems (1847).
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Every novel is a debtor to Homer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
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The reverence for the deeds of our ancestors is a treacherous sentiment. Their merit was not to reverence the old, but to honor the present moment; and we falsely make them excuses of the very habit which they hated and defied.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870).
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Language must be raked, the secrets of slaughter-houses and infamous hole that cannot front the day, must be ransacked, to tell what negro slavery has been. These men, our benefactors, as they are producers of corn and wine, of coffee, of tobacco, of cotton, of sugar, of rum and brandy; gentle and joyous themselves, and producers of comfort and luxury for the civilized world,—there seated in the finest climates of the globe, children of the sun,—I am heart-sick when I read how they came there, and how they are kept there. Their case was left out of the mind and out of the heart of their brothers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Address Delivered in Concord on the Anniversary of the Emancipation of the Negroes in the British West Indies, August 1, 1884," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
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A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Behavior," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Circles," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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Our chief want in life, is, someone who shall make us do what we can. This is the service of a friend. With him we are easily great.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Considerations by the Way," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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