Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes
Most popular Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes
A man in the wrong may more easily be convinced than one half right.
Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it.
Envy is ignorance.
Genius borrows nobly.
Life is our dictionary.
Thoughts rule the world.
Earth laughs in flowers.
A man is a god in ruins.
All mankind love a lover.
Reality is a sliding door.
Language is fossil poetry.
What you are comes to you.
All mankind loves a lover.
Art is a jealous mistress.
The surest poison is time.
Money often costs too much.
Skill to do comes of doing.
The first wealth is health.
Invention breeds invention.
Hitch your wagon to a star.
To be simple is to be great.
Children are all foreigners.
Frankness invites frankness.
In dreams we are true poets.
We boil at different degrees.
Life is a search after power.
A day is a miniature eternity.
Thought is the seed of action.
Our distrust is very expensive.
It is a luxury to be understood.
The essence of age is intellect.
The house praises the carpenter.
Give all to love;Obey thy heart.
Knowledge exists to be imparted.
Beauty without expression tires.
The telltale body is all tongues.
Whatever limits us, we call Fate.
He is only rich who owns the day.
Every hero becomes a bore at last.
Be not the slave of your own past.
Every artist was first an amateur.
The dice of God are always loaded.
Self-command is the main elegance.
Everything is the cause of itself.
Whatever you do, you need courage.
You can not see the mountain near.
The world belongs to the energetic.
A man's library is a sort of harem.
So far as a man thinks, he is free.
Fear always springs from ignorance.
Wise men are not wise all the time.
To fill the hour—that is happiness.
Character is higher than intellect.
Language is the archive of history.
To be great is to be misunderstood.
People say law but they mean wealth.
Life is a festival only to the wise.
What we call results are beginnings.
Self-command is the main discipline.
The only reward of virtue is virtue.
Music causes us to think eloquently.
The instinct of the people is right.
Language is the archives of history.
We judge a man's wisdom by his hope.
Pictures must not be too picturesque.
Self-trust is the essence of heroism.
Men are what their mothers made them.
Books are for nothing but to inspire.
The key to every man is his thoughts.
We aim above the mark to hit the mark.
A man of no conversation should smoke.
If a man owns land, the land owns him.
The only gift is a portion of thyself.
The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Fame is proof that people are gullible.
Man sheds grief as his skin sheds rain.
Every man's task is his life preserver.
Fear is an instructor of great sagacity.
Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
Men are respectable only as they respect.
Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.
Wherever the truth is injured, defend it.
One man's justice is another's injustice.
Grow angry slowly—there's plenty of time.
Genius is sacrificed to talent every day.
It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Man is a piece of the universe made alive.
Good manners are made of petty sacrifices.
The people are to be taken in small doses.
Manners are the happy way of doing things.
The ancestor of every action is a thought.
Patience and fortitude conquer all things.
The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.
A man is what he thinks about all day long.
Every noble activity makes room for itself.
If you would liberate me, you must be free.
Things are in the saddle, And ride mankind.
Every calamity is a spur and valuable hint.
Manners are the happy ways of doing things.
Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
What a new face courage puts on everything!
Men only see what they are prepared to see.
A great man is always willing to be little.
Art is the path of the creator to his work.
A true talent delights the possessor first.
Nature delights in punishing stupid people.
A good intention clothes itself with power.
Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.
The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.
It is not length of life, but depth of life.
No facts to me are sacred; none are profane.
We put our love where we have put our labor.
A good indignation makes an excellent speech.
Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.
Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.
Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.
Cities give not the human senses room enough.
Science does not know its debt to imagination.
The world is his, who has money to go over it.
In good writing, words become one with things.
All great speakers were bad speakers at first.
If you can not be free, be as free as you can.
Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.
People only see what they are prepared to see.
The best part of health is a fine disposition.
In self-trust all the virtues are comprehended.
Genius always finds itself a century too early.
A little fact is worth a whole limbo of dreams.
The years teach much which the days never knew.
It is very hard to be simple enough to be good.
A good indignation brings out all one's powers.
The years teach much which the days never know.
A creative economy is the fuel of magnificence.
Sincerity is the highest compliment you can pay.
A man's fortunes are the fruit of his character.
The faith that stands on authority is not faith.
Everyone has a vocation. The talent is the call.
Manners make the fortune of the ambitious youth.
Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.
Every man believes he has a greater possibility.
Respect the child. Trespass not on his solitude.
Whoso would be a human must be a non-conformist.
Every burned book or house enlightens the world.
Science surpasses the old miracles of mythology.
There is a crack in everything that God has made.
Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual.
All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.
Without the rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.
No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.
That which befits us is cheerfulness and courage.
The reward of a thing well done is having done it.
Some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise.
Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.
We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.
Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.
All science is transcendental or else passes away.
We cannot forgive another for not being ourselves.
A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.
A man's action is only a picture-book of his creed.
An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.
No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.
Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.
I trust a good deal to common fame, as we all must.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.
God enters by a private door into every individual.
To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.
Dreams wherein we often see ourselves in masquerade.
Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.
The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings.
I knew a man scared by the rustle of his own hatband.
The solar system has no anxiety about its reputation.
Whenever you are sincerely pleased you are nourished.
Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.
Every man believes that he has greater possibilities.
Here's to the happy man: All the world loves a lover.
Some books leave us free and some books make us free.
The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.
The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.
Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.
Poetry must be as new as foam, and as old as the rock.
There can be no high civility without a deep morality.
The universe does not jest with us, but is in earnest.
I like the sayers of No better than the sayers of yes.
There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
The secret of education lies in respecting the student.
An action is the perfection and publication of thought.
The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moments.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature.
A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
Time dissipates to ether the shining angularity of fact.
The State is our neighbors; our neighbors are the State.
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.
Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of our science.
Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations.
'Tis weak and vicious people who cast the blame on Fate.
A man's wife has more power over him than the state has.
Accept the place the divine providence has found for you.
It is the wounded oyster that mends its shell with pearl.
Every man passes his life in the search after friendship.
A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can.
The question is whether it is the way out, or the way in.
The way to mend a bad world is to create the right world.
All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.
The affections cannot keep their youth any more than men.
Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
Nature works on a method of all for each and each for all.
If a man's eye is on the Eternal, his intellect will grow.
By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.
To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.
The finished man of the world must eat of every apple once.
Not in one's goals but in one's transitions is a man great.
Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
Intellect annuls fate. So far as a man thinks, he is free.
No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
When Duty whispers low, Thou must, the youth replies, I can.
Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.
Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of chance.
Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
The best lightning-rod for your protection is your own spine.
Nature is a mutual cloud, which is always and never the same.
Who drinks of Cupid's nectar cup loveth downward, and not up.
The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue.
You are trying to make that child another you; one is enough.
Heroism feels and never reasons and therefore is always right.
Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.
Nothing is beneath you if it is in the direction of your life.
Politeness is the ritual of society, as prayers are of church.
The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.
The purpose of life seems to be to acquaint a man with himself.
Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.
A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
In the vaunted works of Art the master-stroke is Nature's part.
Progress is the activity of today and the assurance of tomorrow.
The finest poems of the world have been expedients to get bread.
The imbecility of men is always inviting the impudence of power.
The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast.
The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.
Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
Within, I do not find wrinkles and used heart, but unspent youth.
The most advanced nations are always those who navigate the most.
Nature is no spendthrift, but takes the shortest way to her ends.
We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.
Money often costs too much, and power and pleasure are not cheap.
When we have arrived at the question, the answer is already near.
We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors.
The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
The revelation of Thought takes man out of servitude into Freedom.
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what some people think.
Language is the archives of history. ... Language is fossil poetry.
We are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears apples.
Can anyone remember when times were not hard, and money not scarce?
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight.
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
Religion is as effectually destroyed by bigotry as by indifference.
The perception of the comic is a tie of sympathy with other people.
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.
A sufficient measure of civilization is the influence of good women.
The good rain, like a bad preacher, does not know when to leave off.
For what avail the plough or sail, Or land or life, if freedom fail?
Imagination is not the talent of some men, but is the health of man.
Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well.
Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.
The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.
People do not deserve good writing, they are so pleased with the bad.
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
Every man supposes himself not to be fully understood or appreciated.
If eyes were made for seeing, then Beauty is its own excuse for being.
Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make yourself hard to any.
The power of a man increases steadily by continuance in one direction.
Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed!
A day for toil, an hour for sport, but for a friend is life too short.
The music that can deepest reach, and cure all ill, is cordial speech.
Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.
In failing circumstances no man can be relied on to keep his integrity.
Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense.
Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?
No man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it.
The less a man thinks or knows about his virtues the better we like him.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
Every vice is only an exaggeration of a necessary and virtuous function.
Use what language you will, you can never say anything but what you are.
Truth, and goodness, and beauty are but different faces of the same all.
Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.
The louder they talked of their honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.
The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.
Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all people.
Cheerfulness, without which no man can be a poet — for beauty is his aim.
Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food and an immense quiet.
Men who know the same things are not long the best company for each other.
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.
The torments of martyrdom are probably most keenly felt by the bystanders.
Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs.
There is ever a slight suspicion of the burlesque about earnest, good men.
Divine Providence send the chiefest benefits under the mask of calamities.
Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.
In youth, we clothe ourselves with rainbows, and go as brave as the zodiac.
Marriage is the perfection which love aimed at, ignorant of what it sought.
Yet a man may love a paradox, without either losing his wit or his honesty.
Every thought which genius and piety throw into the world alters the world.
The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers.
The condition which high friendship demands is the ability to do without it.
Wherever we go, whatever we do, self is the sole subject we study and learn.
A sufficient and sure method of civilization is the influence of good women.
Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines.
A friend is a man with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.
It is proof of high culture to say the greatest matters in the simplest way.
There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.
I like the silent church before the service begins better than any preaching.
He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
He has seen but half the universe who never has been shown the house of pain.
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.
He is great who is what he is from Nature, and who never reminds us of others.
In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Moral qualities rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic.
One of the benefits of a college education is to show the boy its little avail.
You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God; you shall not have both.
A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.
A man must ride alternately on the horses of his private and his public nature.
Every genuine work of art has as much reason for being as the earth and the sun.
A man is great who is what he is from nature and who never reminds us of others.
In the effort to unfold our thought to a friend we make it clearer to ourselves.
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains.
Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor.
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.
A dollar is not value, but representative of value, and at last of moral values.
A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.
The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.
You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him.
Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.
The god of Victory is said to be one-handed, but Peace gives victory to both sides.
Experience is the only teacher, and we get this lesson indifferently in any school.
There is a kind of latent omniscience not only in every man, but in every particle.
The efforts which we make to escape from our destiny only serve to lead us into it.
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit.
I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching.
Nature is reckless of the individual. When she has points to carry, she carries them.
Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.
The less government we have, the better — the fewer laws, and the less confided power.
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.
If we shall take the good we find, asking no questions, we shall have heaping measures.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world.
People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
Natures abhors the old and old age seems the only disease; all others run into this one.
He who has put forth his total strength in fit actions has the richest return of wisdom.
If you would know what nobody knows, read what everybody reads, just one year afterward.
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.
Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.
In every man there is something wherein I may learn from him, and in that I am his pupil.
In analyzing history, do not be too profound, for often the causes are quite superficial.
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education.
Though we travel the world over to find beauty, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Go where he will, the wise man is at home, his hearth the earth, — his hall the azure dome.
If the hive be disturbed by rash and stupid hands, instead of honey, it will yield us bees.
As we are, so we do; and as we do, so is it done to us; we are the builders of our fortunes.
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.
The charm of the best courages is that they are inventions, inspirations, flashes of genius.
Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.
The element running through entire nature, which we call fate, is known to us as limitation.
Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk.
The right eloquence needs no bell to call the people together, and no constable to keep them.
Society is a masked ball, where every one hides his real character, and reveals it by hiding.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world is the highest applause.
There is a capacity of virtue in us, and there is a capacity of vice to make your blood creep.
When a man says to me, 'I have the intensest love of nature', at once I know that he has none.
We acquire the strength we have overcome. Without war, no soldiers; without enemies, no hero.
If the stars should appear just one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore!
Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.
People don't seem to realize that their opinions of the world are also a confession of character.
There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.
Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances.... Strong men believe in cause and effect.
The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.
We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.
It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances.
To the dull mind all of nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world sparkles with light.
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young man, 'Always do what you are afraid to do.'
There is nothing settled in manners, but the laws of behavior yield to the energy of the individual.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
All men are poets at heart. They serve nature for bread, but her loveliness overcomes them sometimes.
[There's] no truth so sublime but it may be seen to be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thoughts.
The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, — 'Let there be truth between us two forevermore.'
Our first mistake is the belief that the circumstance gives the joy which we give to the circumstance.
The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.
If I should go out of church whenever I hear a false sentiment, I could never stay there five minutes.
The most wonderful inspirations die with their subject, if he has no hand to paint them to the senses.
The babe in arms is a channel through which the energies we call fate, love, and reason visibly stream.
I look on that man as happy, who, when there is a question of success, looks into his work for a reply.
The measure of a master is his success in bringing all people round to his opinions twenty years later.
It is the privilege of any human work which is well done to invest the doer with a certain haughtiness.
If a man will kick a fact out of the window, when he comes back he finds it again in the chimney corner.
Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.
Nature arms each man with some faculty which enables him to do easily some feat impossible to any other.
Ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams.
What is the imagination? Only an arm or weapon of the interior energy; only the precursor of the reason.
Talent working with joy in the cause of universal truth lifts the possessor to new power as a benefactor.
'Tis a short sight to limit our faith in laws to those of gravity, of chemistry, of botany, and so forth.
We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star.
The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, to guide people by showing them facts amidst appearances.
Fate, then, is a name for facts not yet passed under the fire of thought; for causes which are unpenetrated.
The artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.
To a dull mind all of nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.
These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.
A determined man, by his very attitude and the tone of his voice, puts a stop to defeat, and begins to conquer.
A mechanic is driven by his work all day, but it ends at night; it has an end. But the scholar's work has none.
For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.
I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.
There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.
Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.
Love, and you shall be loved. All love is mathematically just, as much as the two sides of an algebraic equation.
Eloquence is the power to translate a truth into language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak.
The martyr cannot be dishonered. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison a more illustrious abode.
Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him.
Those who cannot tell what they desire or expect, still sigh and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.
The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine.
Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs.
How much human life is lost in waiting?" "The philosophy of waiting is sustained by all the oracles of the universe.
I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech.
As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will by mocked by delusions.
We love flattery, even though we are not deceived by it, because it shows that we are of importance enough to be courted.
Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
The best of life is conversation, and the greatest success is confidence, or perfect understanding between sincere people.
Do not be too timid & squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each once a stroke of genius or of love,--now repeated and hardened into usage.
We forget ourselves and our destinies in health, and the chief use of temporary sickness is to remind us of these concerns.
There are two classes of poets — the poets by education and practice, these we respect; and poets by nature, these we love.
I can reason down or deny everything, except this perpetual Belly: feed he must and will, and I cannot make him respectable.
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men — that is genius.
It sometimes occurs that memory has a personality of its own and volunteers or refuses its information at its will, not at mine.
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.
A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history.
I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven.
Every really able man, if you talk sincerely with him, considers his work, however much admired, as far short of what it should be.
He who has acquired the ability may wait securely the occasion of making it felt and appreciated, and know that it will not loiter.
Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.
None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.
You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
The child is sincere, and the man when he is alone, if he be not a writer, but on the entrance of the second person hypocrisy begins.
The use of literature is to afford us a platform whence we may command a view of our present life, a purchase by which we may move it.
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet; he has a fine Geneva watch, but cannot tell the hour by the sun.
The true test of a civilization is, not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops — no, but the kind of man the country turns out.
Great men, great nations have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it.
The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops – no, but the kind of man the country turns out.
The universe is represented in every one of its particles. Everything is made of one hidden stuff. The world globes itself in a drop of dew.
Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring, a south wind, not an east wind.
Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which they are practicing every day while they live.
Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion who cannot write well under other circumstances.
The glance is natural magic. The mysterious communication established across a house between two entire strangers, moves all the springs of wonder.
For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.
Thoughts come into our minds by avenues which we never left open, and thoughts go out of our minds through avenues which we never voluntarily opened.
And of poetry, the success is not attained when it lulls and satisfies, but when it astonishes and fires us with new endeavors after the unattainable.
The orator must be, to some extent, a poet. We are such imaginative creatures that nothing so works on the human mind, barbarous or civil, as a trope.
No man ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and brain, which created all things new; which was the dawn in him of music, poetry, and art.
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.
Talent for talent's sake is a bauble and a show. Talent working with joy in the cause of universal truth lifts the possessor to new power as a benefactor.
Art is a jealous mistress, and, if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband, and an ill-provider.
No one has a prosperity so high or firm, but that two or three words can dishearten it; and there is no calamity which right words will not begin to redress.
As the Sandwich Islander believes that the strength and valor of the enemy he kills passes into himself, so we gain the strength of the temptation we resist.
Our faith comes in moments . . . yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences.
All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You first have an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit.
There are...books which take rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences, so medicinal, so stringent, so revolutionary, so authoritative.
Our strength grows out of our weakness. The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed.
I like to have a man's knowledge comprehend more than one class of topics, one row of shelves. I like a man who likes to see a fine barn as well as a good tragedy.
A dictionary...is full of suggestions—the raw material of possible poems and histories. Nothing is wanting but a little shuffling, sorting, ligature, and cartilage.
Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.
All persons are puzzles until at last we find in some word or act the key to the man, to the woman; straightway all their past words and actions lie in light before us.
The profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart find and publish it.
An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun, or can insult like hissing or kicking; or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance with joy.
Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-tomorrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.
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?
A virulent, aggressive fool taints the reason of a household. I have seen a whole family of quiet, sensible people unhinged and beside themselves, the victims of such a rogue.
Character wants room; must not be crowded on by persons, nor be judged from glimpses got in the press of affairs, or on few occasions. It needs perspective, as a great building.
The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes, and silly people.
The thirst for adventure is the vent which Destiny offers; a war, a crusade, a gold mine, a new country, speak to the imagination and offer swing and play to the confined powers.
An eye can threaten like a loaded and levelled gun, or it can insult like hissing or kicking, or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance with joy.
Life is a search after power: and this is an element with which the world is so saturated—there is no chink or crevice in which it is not lodged—that no honest seeking goes unrewarded.
Your manners are always under examination, and by committees little suspected, a police in citizens clothes, — but are awarding or denying you very high prizes when you least think of it.
The art of conversation, or the qualifications for a good companion, is a certain self-control, which now holds the subject, now lets it go, with a respect for the emergencies of the moment.
If a man can build a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.
If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.
'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; a good head cannot read amiss; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear.
In eloquence, the great triumphs of the art are when the orator is lifted above himself; when consciously he makes himself the mere tongue of the occasion and the hour, and says what cannot but be said.
The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.
The world looks like a mathematical equation, which, turn it how you will, balances itself. Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty.
Each man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day will come 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.
No doubt, to a man of sense, travel offers advantages. As many languages as he has, as many friends, as many arts and trades, so many times is he a man. A foreign country is a point of comparison, wherefrom to judge his own.
I know nothing which life has to offer so satisfying as the profound good understanding, which can subsist, after much exchange of good offices, between two virtuous men, each of whom is sure of himself, and sure of his friend.
A sympathetic person is placed in the dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him, and if he give so much as a leg or a finger, they will drown him. They wish to be saved from the mischiefs of their vices, but not from their vices.
The charm which Henry T uses for bird and frog and mink, is patience. They will not come to him, or show him aright, until he becomes a log among logs, sitting still for hours in the same place; then they come around him and to him, and show themselves at home.
I suffer whenever I see that common sight of a parent or senior imposing his opinion and way of thinking and being on a young soul to which they are totally unfit. Cannot we let people be themselves, and enjoy life in their own way? You are trying to make that man another you. One's enough.
It happens to us once or twice in a lifetime to be drunk with some book which probably has some extraordinary relative power to intoxicate us and none other; and having exhausted that cup of enchantment we go groping in libraries all our years afterwards in the hope of being in Paradise again.
Wealth brings with it its own checks and balances. The basis of political economy is non interference. The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply. Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands. In a free and just commonwealth, property rushes from the idle and imbecile to the industrious, brave, and persevering.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the 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 bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.
As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.
Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.
What is the hardest task in the world? To think.
In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.
Wit makes its own welcome and levels all distinctions.
That which we call sin in others, is experiment for us.
Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.
Must we always talk for victory, and never once for truth, for comfort, for joy?
Use what language you will, you can never say anything to others but what you are.
People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
We do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of some enthusiasm.
Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person—"Always do what you are afraid to do."
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your heart is true for all men - that is genius.
In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
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 high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness—whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or songs.
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun.
Courage charms us because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all the things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind.