Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Success, Love, Education, Friendship, Nature & Marriage

A man is the whole encyclopedia of facts.

Ralph-Waldo-Emerson quotes

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

Every artist was first an amateur.

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.

Good men must not obey the laws too well.

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.

It was high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘always do what you are afraid to do.’

Men are what their mothers made them.

No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.

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

Revolutions go not backward.

The earth laughs in flowers.

The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison a more illustrious abode.

The sum of wisdom is that time is never lost that is devoted to work.

There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

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

Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change.

A man in debt is so far a slave.

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?

Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding.

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

Every wall is a door.

Getting old is a fascination thing. The older you get, the older you want to get.

If a man can… make a better mousetrap, the world will make a beaten path to his door.

It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

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

Nature hates calculators.

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.

People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never.

The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence.

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.

The reward of a thing well done is having done it.

There is more difference in the quality of our pleasures than in the amount.

Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.

We are wiser than we know.

When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless.

A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

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

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

Beauty is an outward gift, which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Every known fact in natural science was divined by the presentiment of somebody, before it was actually verified.

Every spirit makes its house, and we can give a shrewd guess from the house to the inhabitant.

Genius always finds itself a century too early.

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

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

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.

Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.

One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing.

People that seem so glorious are all show; underneath they are like everyone else.

The ancestor of every action is a thought.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

The revelation of thought takes men out of servitude into freedom.

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.

Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none.

We are symbols, and inhabit symbols.

When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.

A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.

All mankind love a lover.

Cause and effect are two sides of one fact.

Earth laughs in flowers.

Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.

Give a boy address and accomplishments and you give him the mastery of palaces and fortunes where he goes.

If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

Make yourself necessary to somebody.

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

Our best thoughts come from others.

Pictures must not be too picturesque.

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.

The highest revelation is that God is in every man.

The search after the great men is the dream of youth, and the most serious occupation of manhood.

There is no chance and anarchy in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

We do not yet possess ourselves, and we know at the same time that we are much more.

Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, a possession for all time.

A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes.

Always do what you are afraid to do.

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

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.

Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults.

Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.

God enters by a private door into every individual.

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

It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay.

Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

Power and speed be hands and feet.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.

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

The secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting.

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.

Use what language you will, you can never say anything but what you are.

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.

A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace.

America is another name for opportunity.

Children are all foreigners.

Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.

Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer. He is by constitution expensive, and needs to be rich.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.

God screens us evermore from premature ideas.

If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground.

It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events, or of actors, that imports.

Men admire the man who can organize their wishes and thoughts in stone and wood and steel and brass.

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual.

Reality is a sliding door.

The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit.

The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.

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

We acquire the strength we have overcome.

We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.

Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?

A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.

As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey.

Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Every man supposes himself not to be fully understood or appreciated.

Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.

Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.

Hitch your wagon to a star.

In every society some men are born to rule, and some to advise.

Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.

Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant.

Science does not know its debt to imagination.

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

The method of nature: who could ever analyze it?

The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.

There are other measures of self-respect for a man, than the number of clean shirts he puts on every day.

To be great is to be misunderstood.

We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.

We see God face to face every hour, and know the savor of Nature.

Wisdom has its root in goodness, not goodness its root in wisdom.

A man is what he thinks about all day long.

As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.

Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.

Every burned book enlightens the world.

Every mind must make its choice between truth and repose. It cannot have both.

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.

Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.

Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.

Men’s actions are too strong for them. Show me a man who has acted, and who has not been the victim and slave of his action.

Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.

People disparage knowing and the intellectual life, and urge doing. I am content with knowing, if only I could know.

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

The faith that stands on authority is not faith.

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

The value of a principle is the number of things it will explain.

There is a blessed necessity by which the interest of men is always driving them to the right; and, again, making all crime mean and ugly.

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

We are always getting ready to live but never living.

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

With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.

A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.

A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.

As soon as there is life there is danger.

Beauty without expression is boring.

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

Every experiment, by multitudes or by individuals, that has a sensual and selfish aim, will fail.

Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.

For every benefit you receive a tax is levied.

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.

I hate the giving of the hand unless the whole man accompanies it.

In the morning a man walks with his whole body; in the evening, only with his legs.

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.

Money often costs too much.

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

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

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

Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense.

The first wealth is health.

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike.

There is a tendency for things to right themselves.

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

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

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

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

A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

A great man is always willing to be little.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.

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

Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side.

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

Great men or men of great gifts you shall easily find, but symmetrical men never.

I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons.

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

Mysticism is the mistake of an accidental and individual symbol for an universal one.

Nothing external to you has any power over you.

O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught.

People only see what they are prepared to see.

Some books leave us free and some books make us free.

The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all.

The reason why men do not obey us, is because they see the mud at the bottom of our eye.

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.

There is always safety in valor.

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

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

What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

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

A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.

All diseases run into one, old age.

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

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

Doing well is the result of doing good. That’s what capitalism is all about.

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

Every sentence spoken by Napoleon, and every line of his writing, deserves reading, as it is the sense of France.

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.

I have thought a sufficient measure of civilization is the influence of good women.

It is my desire, in the office of a Christian minister, to do nothing which I cannot do with my whole heart. Having said this, I have said all.

Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

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

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

The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.

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

The years teach much which the days never know.

There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.

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

We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.

What you are comes to you.

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

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