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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ralph Waldo Emerson and quotes


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American philosopher and writer best known for his contributions to transcendentalism. Poet Edmund Clarence Stedman said,


"Emerson's prose is full of poetry, and his poems are light and air... His modes of expression, like his epithets, are imaginative." (Poets of America, 1885)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Emerson.




"Poetry teaches the enormous force of a few words, and, in proportion to the inspiration, checks loquacity." (Parnassus, 1874)


"Some men's words I remember so well that I must often use them to express my thought. Yes, because I perceive that we have heard the same truth, but they have heard it better." (Lectures and Biographical Sketches, 1883 posthumous)


"Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it." (Quotation and Originality, 1859)


"The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it." (Quotation and Originality, 1859)




"Explore, and explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatize yourself, nor accept another's dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house and barn? (Literary Ethics, 1838)


"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." (Journals, 1842)




"We must have kings, and we must have nobles. Nature provides such in every society - only let us have the real instead of the titular." (The Young American, 1844)


"The world is upheld by the veracity of good men: they make the earth wholesome." (Representative Men, 1850)


"Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it." (The Conduct of Life, 1860)


Self reliance


"A man contains all that is needful to his government within himself. He is made a law unto himself... He only can do himself any good or any harm." (Journals, 1883)


"It will never make any difference to a hero what the laws are. His greatness will shine and accomplish itself unto the end, whether they second him or not." (The Conservative, 1841)


"We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching." (Self-Reliance, 1841)


"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world." (Self-Reliance, 1841)