"Ralph Waldo Emerson " was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalism/Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature (Emerson)/Nature. Following this ground-breaking work, he gave a speech entitled "The American Scholar" in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence".

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The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

What you are comes to you.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

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

If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.

The ancestor of every action is a thought.

Every artist was first an amateur.

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Self-trust is the essence of heroism.

We become what we think about all day long.

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

A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.

Before we acquire great power, we must acquire wisdom to use it well.

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experience.

What a new face courage puts on everything.

Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.

Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.

In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.

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

Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.

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.

The essence of all jokes, of all comedy, seems to be an honest or well intended halfness; a non performance of that which is pretended to be performed, at the same time that one is giving loud pledges of performance. The balking of the intellect, is comedy and it announces itself in the pleasant spasms we call laughter.

To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.

A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

I see her not dispirited, not weak, but well, remembering that she has seen dark times before, indeed with a kind of instinct that she sees a little better in a cloudy day.

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.

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

The bitterest tragic element in life to be derived from an intellectual source is the belief in a brute Fate or Destiny.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight. This love of beauty is taste. Others have the same love in such success that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is art.

...the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness, the independence of solitude.

For each thorn, there's a rosebud... for each twilight — a dawn... for each trial — the strength to carry on, For each stormcloud — a rainbow... for each shadow — the sun... for each parting — sweet memories when sorrow is done.

What can we see, read, acquire, but ourselves. Take the book, my friend, and read your eyes out, you will never find there what I find.

Pure by impure is not seen.

Courtesy: Wishes not to be loved, but to be lovely; Not to be benefitted, but to be a benevolence.

A scholar is the favorite of Heaven and of earth; The excellence of one's country, The happiest of mankind.

All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

Hitch your wagon to a star.

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.

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

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.

The world belongs to the energetic.

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

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence.

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.

People only see what they are prepared to see.

So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains.

My evening visitors, if they cannot see the clock, should find the time in my face.

Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. In fact, it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly, until he know that every day is Doomsday.

The faith that stand on authority is not faith.

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears apples.

Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain.

Who so would be a man, must be a nonconformist.

You must pay for conformity. All goes well as long as you run with conformists. But you, who are honest men in other particulars, know that there is alive somewhere a man whose honesty reaches to this point also, that he shall not kneel to false gods, and, on the day when you meet him, you sink into the class of counterfeits.

A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness.

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 or system for truth, ambition for greatest, ingenuity for poetry, sensuality for art.

If a man's eye is on the Eternal, his intellect will grow.

The power of love, as the basis of a State, has never been tried.

Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity.

Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses.

Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same.

Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified.

Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.

Work is victory.

You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.

Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs.

A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind.

Science does not know its debt to imagination. Goethe did not believe that a great naturalist could exist without this faculty.

The greatest homage we can pay truth is to use it.

It makes a great difference in the force of a sentence, whether a man be behind it or no.

I look on that man as happy, who, when there is question of success, looks into his work for a reply.

The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.

There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for many.

Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success.

The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own.

Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for competitors.

Don't SAY things. What you ARE stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

The less government we have the better.

Being perfectly well-dressed gives a feeling of tranquility that religion is powerless to bestow.

The more he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines.

What you are shouts so loud in my ears I cannot hear what you say.

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

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

The reward for a thing well done is to have done it.

Talent finds its models, methods, and ends in society, exists for exhibition, and goes to the soul only for power to work. Genius is its own end, and draws its means and the style of its architecture from within.

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

Always do what you are afraid to do.

We do what we must, and call it by the best names.

To be great is to be misunderstood.

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

There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.

Tis the good reader that makes the good book.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

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.

Insist on yourself; never imitate... Every great man is unique.

I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the Stern Fact, the Sad Self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.

For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.

A man's library is a sort of harem.

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

As we grow old…the beauty steals inward.

Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.

The first wealth is health.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invated by worry, fret and anxiety.

Common sense is as rare as genius.

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.

Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.

Our life is not so much threatened, As our perception.

Not nail a great star to its track, . . . Tell when to go and when come back;. . . But open up thy heart to know What rainbows teach and sunsets show.

The very thought of the Diety, Is as bright, effulgent daybeams.

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

Misunderstood! It is a right fool's word. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Now everyone must do after his kind, be he asp or angle.

The highest price you can pay for a thing is to ask for it.

We all boil at different degrees.

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.

In every work of genius we see our own rejected thoughts.

Solitude is impractical and yet society is fatal.

Children are all foreigners.

Give all to love; obey thy heart.

Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit.

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

There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and squirrel.

Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance.

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

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

When you strike at a king, you must kill him.

Here is the world, sound as a nut, perfect, not the smallest piece of chaos left, never a stitch nor an end, not a mark of haste, or botching, or second thought; but the theory of the world is a thing of shreds and patches.

A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

Each man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well - he has changed his market-cart into a chariot of the sun.

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams.

A man makes inferiors his superiors by heat; self-control is the rule.

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

There is nothing capricious in nature and the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature that feel it.

Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world is the triumph of some enthusiasm.

Those who cannot tell what they desire or expect, still sigh and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.

No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.

The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men around to his opinion twenty years later.

What a searching preacher of self-command is the varying phenomenon of health.

We are prisoners of ideas.

The life of man is the true romance, which when it is valiantly conduced, will yield the imagination a higher joy than any fiction.

Sooner or later that which is now life shall be poetry, and every fair and manly trait shall add a richer strain to the song.

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.

There are two classes of poets - the poets by education and practice, these we respect; and poets by nature, these we love.

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

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.

Proverbs are the literature of reason, or the statements of absolute truth, without qualification. Like the sacred books of each nation, they are the sanctuary of its intuitions.

The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem.

The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one.

Man was born to be rich, or grow rich by use of his faculties, by the union of thought with nature. Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness, and patience in the players. Cultivated labor drives out brute labor.

Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.

Take egotism out and you would castrate the benefactors.

He is great who confers the most benefits.

There is no thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power.

People wish to be settled. It is only as far as they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.

Do what you know and perception is converted into character.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others with out getting a few drops on yourself.

What omniscience has music! So absolutely impersonal, yet every sufferer feels his secret sorrow soothed.

Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.

We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our roof tight and our clothing sufficient, but who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting the best property of all -- friends?

When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.

To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone.

Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which all are practising every day while they live.

Whoever is open, loyal, true; of humane and affable demeanour; honourable himself, and in his judgement of others; faithful to his word as to law, and faithful alike to God and man....such a man is a true gentleman.

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the ordinary.

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion. It is easy in solitude to live after our own. But the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.

The true test of a civilization is not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops—no, but the kind of man the country turns out.

The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eyes and the heart of the child.

If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air….

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.

Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous, or when they are most luxurious. They are conservatives after dinner.

Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think.

Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.

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 the good.

If eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being.

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show for any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

The glory of friendship is not the outstreched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

God enters by a private door into every individual.

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.

No one ever stated their troubles As lightly as they might.

There is a melody born of melody, That melts the world into a sea.

And did you think that such a guest Would in thy hall take up his rest? --High gifts ask diviner guess: Not to be conned to tediousness.

Nature: I give to thee for thy defence Thy formidable innocence.

Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world.

. . .but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil.

We love characters in proportion as they are impulsive and spontaneous.

To think is to act.

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

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.

We must be our own before we can be another's.

Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself.

Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves.

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.

The people are to be taken in very small doses.

Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.

As soon as there is life there is danger.

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.