Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

The too much contemplation of these limits induces meanness. They who talk much of destiny, their birth-star, &c., are in a lower dangerous plane, and invite the evils they fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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Society has really no graver interest than the well-being of the literary class.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Goethe; or, the Writer," Representative Men (1850).
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In America and Europe the nomadism is of trade and curiosity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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The vulgar call good fortune that which really is produced by the calculations of genius.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, July 24, 1838, at Dartmouth College. "Literary Ethics," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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Who shall forbid a wise skepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which any thing more than an approximate solution can be had? Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Montaigne; or, the Skeptic," Representative Men (1850).
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When much intercourse with a friend has supplied us with a standard of excellence, and has increased our respect for the resources of God who thus sends a real person to outgo our ideal; when he has, moreover, become an object of thought, and, whilst his character retains all its unconscious effect, is converted in the mind into solid and sweet wisdom,—it is a sign to us that his office is closing, and he is commonly withdrawn from our sight in a short time.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 5 (1836, revised and repr. 1849). Emerson is making an allusion to Jesus as well as to his fear that redemption, and for that matter reality itself, may always be just beyond our grasp. Stanley Cavell has seized on this tragic aspect of Emerson by highlighting his use of the terms "handsome and unhandsome" to characterize our ways of knowing the world, punning on "grasping," "hand" and "handsome."
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General ideas are essences. They are our gods: they round and ennoble the most partial and sordid way of living.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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A man has a right to be employed, to be trusted, to be loved, to be revered. The power of love, as the basis of a State, has never been tried.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Politics," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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The aristocrat is the democrat ripe, and gone to seed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Representative Men, "Napoleon, the Man of the World," (1850).
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The greatest meliorator of the world is selfish, huckstering Trade.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Society and Solitude, "Works and Days," (1870).
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