Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Men consort in camp and town But the poet dwells alone.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Saadi," Poems (1847).
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Never read any book that is not a year old.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Society and Solitude, "Books," (1870). One of Emerson's three "practical rules" for reading.
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Young men of the fairest promise, who begin life upon our shores, inflated by the mountain winds, shined upon by all the stars of God, find the earth below not in unison with these,—but are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust,—some of them suicides.
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).
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Whenever the pulpit is usurped by a formalist, then is the worshipper defrauded and disconsolate.
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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With each divine impulse the mind rends the thin rinds of the visible and finite, and comes out into eternity, and inspires and expires its air. It converses with truths that have always been spoken in the world, and becomes conscious of a closer sympathy with Zeno and Arrian, than with persons in the house.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "The Over-Soul," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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Much of our reading, much of our labor, seems mere waiting: it was not that we were born for. Any other could do it as well or better. So little skill enters into these works, so little do they mix with the divine life, that it really signifies little what we do, whether we turn a grindstone, or ride, or run, or make fortune, or govern the state.
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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Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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The religion which is to guide and fulfill the present and coming ages, whatever else it be, must be intellectual. The scientific mind must have a faith which is science.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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I now require this of all pictures, that they domesticate me, not that they dazzle me. Pictures must not be too picturesque. Nothing astonishes men so much as common-sense and plain dealing. All great actions have been simple, and all great pictures are.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Art," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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I do not hesitate to read ... all good books in translations. What is really best in any book is translatable—any real insight or broad human sentiment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Books," Society and Solitude (1870).
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