Ralph Waldo Emerson (51 – 75)

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, poet and lecturer. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a founding father of the Transcendentalist movement (expressed first in his 1836 essay Nature). Emerson authored dozens of published essays and conducted more than 1,500 public lectures across the U.S. through the mid-1800s.  He wrote on the core ideas of individuality, freedom, the ability for humankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding natural world.

Here are 25 more bons mots of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  • Make yourself necessary to somebody.
  • With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.
  • This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.
  • The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.
  • Poetry must be as new as foam, and as old as the rock.
  • The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
  • To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.
  • Difficulties exist to be surmounted.
  • Pain, indolence, sterility, endless ennui have also their lesson for you.
  • The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast.
  • The only reward of virtue is virtue.
  • Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
  • The world belongs to the energetic.
  • Glittering generalities! They are blazing ubiquities.
  • Hitch your wagon to a star.
  • Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.
  • Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live.
  • We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
  • Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.
  • A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.
  • The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.
  • Give all to love; obey thy heart.
  • All mankind love a lover.
  • All men are poets at heart.
  • Vigor is contagious, and whatever makes us either think or feel strongly adds to our power and enlarges our field of action.


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