Quotations by Author

Ralph Waldo Emerson

But in the mud and scum of things/There always, always something sings.

Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Let not the emphasis of hospitality lie in bed and board; but let truth and love and honour and courtesy flow in all thy deeds.

Fear always springs from ignorance.

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew.

Insist on yourself, never imitate…Every great man is unique.

Let not a man guard his dignity, but let his disnity guard him.

A friend is one whom I may think aloud.

Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of good.

He has not learned the lesson of life who does not everyday surmount a fear.

Immortality: I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.

Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any.

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.

The peril of every fine faculty is the delight of playing with it for pride. Talent is commonly developed at the expense of character and the greater it grows the more is the mischief. Talent is mistaken for genius, a dogma for system of truth, ambition for greatest, ingenuity for poetry, sensuality for art.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

We all boil at different degrees.

In the highest civilisation, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known it's satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.

The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.

Four snakes gliding up and down a hollow for no purpose that I could see -- not to eat, not for love, but only gliding.

I have heard with admiring submission the experience of the lady who declared that the sense of being well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquillity which religion is powerless to bestow.

Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind.

The reliance on property is...the want of self-reliance. [Men] measure the esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is. But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property..

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intellingent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded.

Tobacco, coffee, alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine, are weak dilutions; the surest poison is time.

The world is emblematic. Parts of speech are metaphors because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind.

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.

What greater pain could mortals have than this: To see their children dead before their eyes?

The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed; there is no winter and no night; all tragedies, all ennuis, vanish,-all duties even.

Life is a successon of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam that flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his own thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a sort of alienated majesty.

Thought is the seed of action.

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.

All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.

No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker with no Past at my back.

To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.

The education of the will is the object of our existence.

Fame is proof that people are gullible.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.

We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.

In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity.

The Religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.

A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of each man's genius contracts itself to a very few hours.

He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

Poverty, Frost, Famine, Rain, Disease, are the beadles and guardsmen that hold us to Common Sense.

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.

If we shall take the good we find, asking no questions, we shall have heaping measures.

All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do.... Build, therefore, your own world.

Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.

History is the action and reaction of these two, nature and thought - two boys pushing each other on the curbstone of the pavement.

Nature hates calculators.

The imbecility of men is always inviting the impudence of power.

Science does not know its debt to imagination.

He who loves the bristle of bayonets only sees in the glitter what beforehand he feels in his heart. It is avarice and hatred; it is that quivering lip, that cold, hating eye, which built magazines and powder-houses.

It is not length of life, but depth of life.

The secret of education is respecting the pupil.

To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.

Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.

If the tongue had not been framed for articulation, man would still be a beast in the forest.

Science does not know its debt to imagination.

The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself.

The religions of the world are the ejaculations of a few imaginative men.

We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.

Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.

Only to children children sing, Only to youth will spring be spring.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.