Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotations

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

Alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine are weak dilutions. The surest poison is time.

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

Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?

Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

Every man alone is sincere; at the entrance of a second person hypocrisy begins.

Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

Every man is a borrower and a mimic; life is theatrical and literature a quotation.

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

Fame is proof that people are gullible.

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 cumbered with your old nonsense.

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

Hitch your wagon to a star.

If you shoot at a king you must kill him.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

I pay the schoolmaster but 'tis the schoolboys who educate my son.

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

It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a great fortune, and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it.

I wish to say what I think and feel today, with the proviso that tomorrow perhaps I shall contradict it all.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen.

Lord Burleigh writes to his son that 'One ought never to devote more than two thirds of his income to the ordinary expenses of life, since the extraordinary will be certain to absorb the other third.'

Men wish to be saved from the mischiefs of their vices, but not from their vices.

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing on one's own sunshine.

Nature has made up her mind that what cannot defend itself shall not be defended.

Never read a book that is not a year old.

Our high respect for a well-read man is praise enough of literature.

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

Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.

Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts.

Some will always be above others. Destroy the equality today, and it will appear again tomorrow.

Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.

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

The chief mourner does not always attend the funeral.

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

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

The hater of property and of government takes care to have his warranty deed recorded, and the book written against fame and learning has the author's name on the title page.

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

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

There is this to be said in favor of drinking, that it takes the drunkard first out of society, then out of the world.

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

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

These times of ours are serious and full of calamity, but all times are essentially alike. As soon as there is life there is danger.

The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means to an education.

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

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

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.

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

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.

We boast our emancipation from many superstitions; but if we have broken any idols, it is through a transfer of idolatry.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.

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

When it's dark enough you can see the stars.

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

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

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed to the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.