Ralph Waldo Emerson (26 – 50)

Through this week By George Journal is posting one hundred of our favourite quotes of Ralph Waldo Emerson – a deep, provocative 19th century author and, we believe, one of the most remarkable of thinkers of our modern age. Here are the next 25 RWE-gems to reflect upon:

  •  The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.
  • A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
  • The first wealth is health.
  • A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
  • Every man passes his life in the search after friendship.
  • The shoemaker makes a good shoe because he makes nothing else.
  • Sanity is very rare; every man almost, and every woman, has a dash of madness.
  • There are three wants which can never be satisfied: that of the rich, who want something more; that of the sick, who want something different; and that of the traveler, who says, “Anywhere but here.”
  • 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.
  • When there is no vision, people perish.
  • Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.
  • Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.
  • Play out the game, act well your part, and if the gods have blundered, we will not.
  • The eloquent man is he who is no beautiful speaker, but who is inwardly and desperately drunk with a certain belief.
  • Strong men greet war, tempest, hard times. They wish, as Pindar said, to tread the floors of hell, with necessities as hard as iron.
  • Every man is a borrower and a mimic; life is theatrical and literature a quotation.
  • We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action.
  • The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men round to his opinion 20 years later.
  • Five great enemies to peace inhabit us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.
  • As a man thinketh, so is he, and as a man chooseth, so is he.
  • No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
  • A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.
  • Whatever limits us we call Fate.
  • Patience and fortitude conquer all things.
  • All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

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