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Scott Lincoln "Omar" Davis

Chapter XIII

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes


The following collected from various sources on the internet and reading texts.  (see below) - SLD

Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it, and had his being there. Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God incarnates himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of his world. He said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, `I am divine. Through me, God acts; through me, speaks. Would you see God, see me; or, see thee, when thou also thinkest as I now think.' But what a distortion did his doctrine and memory suffer in the same, in the next, and the following ages! There is no doctrine of the Reason which will bear to be taught by the Understanding. The understanding caught this high chant from the poet's lips, and said, in the next age, `This was Jehovah come down out of heaven. I will kill you, if you say he was a man.'

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence, no husbandry.

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

The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant.

Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.

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

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

Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.

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

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

Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts.

There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement.

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

Let us treat men and women well; treat them as if they were real. Perhaps they are.

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

To be great is to be misunderstood.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched 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 with his friendship.

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.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.

There is properly no history; only biography.

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing.

Nor knowest thou what argument

Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.

All are needed by each one;

Nothing is fair or good alone.

I wiped away the weeds and foam,

I fetched my sea-born treasures home;

But the poor, unsightly, noisome things

Had left their beauty on the shore,

With the sun and the sand and the wild uproar.

Not from a vain or shallow thought

His awful Jove young Phidias brought.

Out from the heart of Nature rolled

The burdens of the Bible old.

The hand that rounded Peter's dome,

And groined the aisles of Christian Rome,

Wrought in a sad sincerity;

Himself from God he could not free;

He builded better than he knew:

The conscious stone to beauty grew.

Earth proudly wears the Parthenon

As the best gem upon her zone.

Earth laughs in flowers to see her boastful boys

Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;

Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet

Clear of the grave.

Good bye, proud world! I 'm going home;

Thou art not my friend, and I 'm not thine.

For what are they all in their high conceit,

When man in the bush with God may meet?

If eyes were made for seeing,

Then Beauty is its own excuse for being.

Things are in the saddle,

And ride mankind.

Olympian bards who sung

vine ideas below,

Which always find us young

d always keep us so.

Heartily know,

When half-gods go,

The gods arrive.

Love not the flower they pluck and know it not,

And all their botany is Latin names.

The silent organ loudest chants

The master's requiem.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattl'd farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.

Hymn sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument.

What potent blood hath modest May!

And striving to be man, the worm

Mounts through all the spires of form.

And every man, in love or pride,

Of his fate is never wide.

None shall rule but the humble,

And none but Toil shall have.

Oh, tenderly the haughty day

Fills his blue urn with fire.

Go put your creed into your deed,

Nor speak with double tongue.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,

So near is God to man,

When Duty whispers low, Thou must,

The youth replies, I can!

Whoever fights, whoever falls,

Justice conquers evermore.

Nor sequent centuries could hit

Orbit and sum of Shakespeare's wit.

Born for success he seemed,

With grace to win, with heart to hold,

With shining gifts that took all eyes.

Nor mourn the unalterable Days

That Genius goes and Folly stays.

Fear not, then, thou child infirm;

There 's no god dare wrong a worm.

He thought it happier to be dead,

To die for Beauty, than live for bread.

Wilt thou seal up the avenues of ill?

Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill!

Too busy with the crowded hour to fear to live or die.

Though love repine, and reason chafe,

There came a voice without reply,--

"'T is man's perdition to be safe

When for the truth he ought to die."

For what avail the plough or sail,

Or land or life, if freedom fail?

If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.

There is no great and no small

To the Soul that maketh all;

And where it cometh, all things are;

And it cometh everywhere.

Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts.

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

A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world.

The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.

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

To be great is to be misunderstood.

Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will.

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

It is as impossible for a man to be cheated by any one but himself, as for a thing to be and not to be at the same time.

Proverbs, like the sacred books of each nation, are the sanctuary of the intuitions.

Every action is measured by the depth of the sentiment from which it proceeds.

All mankind love a lover.

A ruddy drop of manly blood

The surging sea outweighs;

The world uncertain comes and goes,

The lover rooted stays.

A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

There is nothing settled in manners, but the laws of behaviour yield to the energy of the individual.

And with Csar to take in his hand the army, the empire, and Cleopatra, and say, "All these will I relinquish if you will show me the fountain of the Nile."

He is great who is what he is from Nature, and who never reminds us of others.

Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?


Thought is the property of him who can entertain it, and of him who can adequately place it.

The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue.

I find the Englishman to be him of all men who stands firmest in his shoes.

A creative economy is the fuel of magnificence.

The manly part is to do with might and main what you can do.

The alleged power to charm down insanity, or ferocity in beasts, is a power behind the eye.

Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.

Good is a good doctor, but Bad is sometimes a better.

God may forgive sins, he said, but awkwardness has no forgiveness in heaven or earth.

Hitch your wagon to a star.

I rarely read any Latin, Greek, German, Italian, sometimes not a French book, in the original, which I can procure in a good version. I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven. I should as soon think of swimming across Charles River when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in originals when I have them rendered for me in my mother tongue.

We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it.

When Shakespeare is charged with debts to his authors, Landor replies, "Yet he was more original than his originals. He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life."

In fact, it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.

The passages of Shakespeare that we most prize were never quoted until within this century.

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

I do not find that the age or country makes the least difference; no, nor the language the actors spoke, nor the religion which they professed, whether Arab in the desert or Frenchman in the Academy. I see that sensible men and conscientious men all over the world were of one religion.



Emerson, Ralph Waldo: An Address Delivered Before the Senior Class in Divinity College (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The American Scholar (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Conduct of Life

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson (HTML and SGML at Michigan)

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: English Traits (text at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Essays (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Essays: Second Series (text at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Literary Ethics: An Oration Delivered Before the Literary Societies of Dartmouth College, July 24, 1838 (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Man the Reformer (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Method of Nature (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Poems (HTML and SGML at Michigan)

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Representative Men (text at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Selected works and commentary. (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Self-Reliance (HTML at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Young American (HTML at

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