Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Inspiration," Letters and Social Aims (1876).
I find the Englishman to be him of all men who stands firmest in his shoes. They have in themselves what they value in their horses, mettle and bottom.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," English Traits (1856).
To the intelligent, nature converts itself into a vast promise, and will not be rashly explained. Her secret is untold. Many and many an Oedipus arrives: he has the whole mystery teeming in his brain. Alas! the same sorcery has spoiled his skill; no syllable can he shape on his lips.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844).
Words are finite organs of the infinite mind. They cannot cover the dimensions of what is in truth. They break, chop, and impoverish it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 5 (1836, revised and repr. 1849). Clearly Emerson is ambivalent about the nature and uses of language.
For, rightly, every man is a channel through which heaven floweth, and, whilst I fancied I was criticising him, I was censuring or rather terminating my own soul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Power," The Conduct of Life (1860).
And so the reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
Not out of those, on whom systems of education have exhausted their culture, comes the helpful giant to destroy the old or to build the new, but out of unhandselled savage nature, out of terrible Druids and Berserkirs, come at last Alfred and Shakespeare.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).
Luckily for us, now that steam has narrowed the Atlantic to a strait, the nervous, rocky West is intruding a new and continental element into the national mind, as we shall yet have an American genius.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, February 7, 1844, the Mercantile Library Association, Boston, Massachusetts. "The Young American," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
A man should not be a silkworm; nor a nation a tent of caterpillars.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," English Traits (1856).