Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

I find nothing healthful or exalting in the smooth conventions of society. I do not like the close air of saloons. I begin to suspect myself to be a prisoner, though treated with all this courtesy and luxury. I pay a destructive tax in my conformity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Lecture, March 3, 1884, in Amory Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. "New England Reformers," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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What satire on government can equal the severity of censure conveyed in the word politic, which now for the ages has signified cunning, intimating that the state is a trick?
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Politics," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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But you must pay for conformity. All goes well as long as you run with conformists. But you, who are honest men in other particulars, know, that there is alive somewhere a man whose honesty reaches to this point also, that he shall not kneel to false gods, and, on the day when you meet him, you sink into the class of counterfeits.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Religion," English Traits (1856).
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The world still wants its poet-priest, a reconciler, who shall not trifle with Shakspeare the player, nor shall grope in graves with Swedenborg the mourner; but who shall see, speak, and act, with equal inspiration. For knowledge will brighten the sunshine; right is more beautiful than private affection; and love is compatible with universal wisdom.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Shakspeare; or, the Poet," Representative Men (1850).
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A drop of water has the properties of the sea, but cannot exhibit a storm. There is beauty of a concert, as well as of a flute; strength of a host, as well as of a hero.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Swedenborg; or, the Mystic," Representative Men (1850).
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Always the seer is a sayer. Somehow his dream is told: somehow he publishes it with solemn joy: sometimes with pencil on canvas: sometimes with chisel on stone; sometimes in towers and aisles of granite, his soul's worship is builded; sometimes in anthems of indefinite music; but clearest and most permanent, in words.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Address, July 15, 1838, delivered before the senior class in Divinity College, Cambridge. "The Divinity School Address," repr. in The Portable Emerson, ed. Carl Bode (1946, repr. 1981).
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God will not make himself manifest to cowards.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events, or of actors, that imports.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. speech, January 1842, at the Masonic Temple in Boston, repr. In The Dial (1843) and Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849). "The Transcendentalist," repr. in The Portable Emerson, ed. Carl Bode (1946, repr. 1981).
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There is a power in love to divine another's destiny better than that other can, and, by heroic engagements, hold him to his task.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
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Hume's doctrine was that the circumstances vary, the amount of happiness does not; that the beggar cracking fleas in the sunshine under a hedge, and the duke rolling by in his chariot; the girl equipped for her first ball, and the orator returning triumphant from the debate, had different means, but the same quantity of pleasant excitement.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870). David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher whose extreme brand of skepticism had agitated Emerson since Emerson had first read Hume's work in his youth. This quotation refers to Hume's utilitarian philosophy of happiness.
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