Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

75 of the best book quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson
  1. #1
    “The secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting.”
  2. #2
    “Every man has a history worth knowing, if he could tell it, or if we could draw it from him.”
  3. #3
    “True courage is not ostentatious; men who wish to inspire terror seem thereby to confess themselves cowards. Why do they rely on it, but because they know how potent it is with themselves?”
  4. #4
    “We ask for long life, but ‘tis deep life, or grand moments, that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.”
  5. #5
    “One of the illusions is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is Doomsday.”
  6. #6
    “We do not believe our own thought; we must serve somebody; we must quote somebody; we dote on the old and the distant; we are tickled by great names; we import the religion of other nations; we quote their opinions; we cite their laws.”
  7. #7
    “Envy is ignorance,
    Imitation is Suicide.”
  8. #8
    “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”
  9. #9
    “God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself.”
  1. #10
    “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”
  2. #11
    “The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity.”
  3. #12
    “Nothing is quite beautiful alone: nothing but is beautiful in the whole. A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace.”
  4. #13
    “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,—that is genius.”
  5. #14
    “Nothing divine dies. All good is eternally reproductive. The beauty of nature reforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation.”
  6. #15
    “He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
  7. #16
    “I cannot consent to pay for a privilege where I have intrinsic right.”
  8. #17
    “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity, the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then, there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.”
  9. #18
    “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

Books about nature

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  1. #19
    “For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.”
  2. #20
    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
  3. #21
    “The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.”
  4. #22
    “But is there no intent of an analogy between man’s life and the seasons? And do the seasons gain no grandeur or pathos from that analogy?”
  5. #23
    “It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.”
  6. #24
    “Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.”
  7. #25
    “No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty.”
  8. #26
    “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.”
  9. #27
    “In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
  1. #28
    “Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.”
  2. #29
    “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.”
  3. #30
    “Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.”
  4. #31
    “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
  5. #32
    “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
  6. #33
    “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it.”
  7. #34
    “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of everyone of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”
  8. #35
    “In this pleasing, contrite wood-life which God allows me, let me record day by day my honest thought without prospect or retrospect, and, I cannot doubt, it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not, and see it not.”
  9. #36
    “In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.”

Books about health

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  1. #37
    “The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again.”
  2. #38
    “I see the spectacle of morning from the hill-top over against my house, from day-break to sun-rise, with emotions which an angel might share.”
  3. #39
    “I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.”
  4. #40
    “Virtues are, in the popular estimate, rather the exception than the rule.”
  5. #41
    “TO go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.”
  6. #42
    “My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.”
  7. #43
    “Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself.”
  8. #44
    “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?”
  9. #45
    “Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man.”
  1. #46
    “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!”
  2. #47
    “Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.”
  3. #48
    “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
  4. #49
    “Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.”
  5. #50
    “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”
  6. #51
    “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
  7. #52
    “You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.”
  8. #53
  9. #54
    “What I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”
  1. #55
    “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.”
  2. #56
    “Throw a stone into the stream and the ripples that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.”
  3. #57
    “Build therefore your own world.”
  4. #58
    “Words are finite organs of the infinite mind.”
  5. #59
    “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship”
  6. #60
    “Every natural action is graceful.”
  7. #61
    “The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul”
  8. #62
    “Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.”
  9. #63
    “Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire.”
  1. #64
    “It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul which animates all men.”
  2. #65
    “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
  3. #66
    “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  4. #67
    “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.”
  5. #68
    “We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision.”
  6. #69
    “The life of truth is cold.”
  7. #70
    “There is no great and no small
    To the Soul that maketh all:
    And where it cometh, all things are
    And it cometh everywhere.”
  8. #71
    “Every man is an impossibility until he is born; every thing impossible until we see a success.”
  9. #72
    “The soul is the perceiver and revealer of truth. We know the truth when we see it, let skeptic and scoffer say what they choose.”
  10. #73
    “Genius is religious.”
  11. #74
    “Eyes...They speak all languages.”
  12. #75
    “Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?”
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