Ralph Waldo Emerson
American philosopher, poet, essayist
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
“A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the
return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your
spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but
the triumph of your principles.”
(closing lines of his essay on “Self-Reliance”)
“A more secret, sweet, and overpowering beauty appears to man when his heart and mind open to the sentiment of virtue. Then he is instructed in what is above him. He learns that his being is without bound; that to the good, to the perfect, his is born.”
"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered."
“There are two classes of poets – the poets by education and practice, these we respect; and poets by nature, these we love.”
“Plato is philosophy, and philosophy is Plato...Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men of thought.”
“Poetry must be new as foam, and as old as the rock.”
“Poetry teaches the enormous force of a few words, and, in proportion to the inspiration, checks loquacity.”
"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
“Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think.”
“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.”
“A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.”
“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”
“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”