Ralph Waldo Emerson

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, you shall begin it well and serenely...

A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

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

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

We are prisoners of ideas.

No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.

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

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity.

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

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

I hate quotations.

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

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

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.

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.

The first wealth is health.

Pure by impure is not seen.

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children are all foreigners.

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

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

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

Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.

People only see what they are prepared to see.

As soon as there is life there is danger.

The faith that stand on authority is not faith.

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

Give all to love; obey thy heart.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

Every artist was first an amateur.

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

To be great is to be misunderstood.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.

Always do what you are afraid to do.

Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Take egotism out and you would castrate the benefactors.

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.

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

The world belongs to the energetic.

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.

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

He is great who confers the most benefits.

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

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

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

Self-trust is the essence of heroism

Do what you know and perception is converted into character.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.

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

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

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

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.

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

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

Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.

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

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

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

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.

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

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.

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

The ancestor of every action is a thought.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

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.

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.

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

Hitch your wagon to a star.

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

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.

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

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.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.

For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.

We all boil at different degrees.

A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.

A man's library is a sort of harem.

The key to every man is his thought.... He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own.

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

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.

Imitation is suicide.

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

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

God enters by a private door into every individual.

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

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

As we grow old…the beauty steals inward.

Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

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.

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

What a new face courage puts on everything.

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

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

Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.

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.

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

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.

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.

No one ever stated their troublesAs lightly as they might.

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

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

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

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

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

Nature: I give to thee for thy defenceThy formidable innocence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To think is to act.

The two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made.

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.

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 memorieswhen sorrow is done.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Tis the good reader that makes the good book.

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

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

The teaching of politics is that the Government, which was set for protection and comfort of all good citizens, becomes the principal obstruction and nuisance with which we have to contend… The cheat and bully and malefactor we meet everywhere is the Government.

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.

If a man knows the law, find out, though he live in a pine shanty, and resort to him. And if a man can pipe or sing, so as to wrap the imprisoned soul in an elysium; or can paint a landscape, and convey into souls and ochres all the enchantments of Spring or Autumn; or can liberate and intoxicate all people who hear him with delicious songs and verses; it is certain that the secret cannot be kept; the first witness tells it to a second, and men go by fives and tens and fifties to his doors.

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.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch of a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.