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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, April 27, 2012 @ 12:32 AM EDT
Apr 27 2012

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882):

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

A good indignation makes an excellent speech.

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

A little integrity is better than any career.

A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.

A man's library is a sort of harem.

A man's wife has more power over him than the state has.

A sufficient and sure method of civilization is the influence of good women.

Adapt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

Alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine are weak dilutions. The surest poison is time.

All are needed by each one. Nothing is fair or good alone.

All conservatives are such from personal defects. They have been effeminated by position or nature, born halt and blind, through luxury of their parents, and can only, like invalids, act on the defensive.

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.

Always do what you are afraid to do.

America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race.

An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.

As soon as there is life there is danger.

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.

Believe in magnetism, not needles.

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

Can anyone remember when times were not hard, and money not scarce?

Children are all foreigners.

Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.

Culture is one thing and varnish is another.

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

Evermore in the world is this marvelous balance of beauty and disgust, magnificence and rats.

Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.

Every advantage has its tax.

Every burned book enlightens the world.

Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.

Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moment.

Every mind must make its choice between truth and repose. It cannot have both.

Every reform is only a mask under cover of which a more terrible reform, which dares not yet name itself, advances.

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.

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

God hides things by putting them near us.

I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I am not afraid of falling into my inkpot.

I like the silent church before the service begins better than any preaching.

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

If the stars should appear just one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore!

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

In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.

Insist upon yourself. Be original.

It is not length of life, but depth of life.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

It is the wounded oyster that mends it shell with pearl.

Lawyers are a prudent race though not very fond of liberty.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

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

Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous, or when they are most luxurious. They are conservatives after dinner.

Money often costs too much.

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.

Most presidents are merely clerks of some real power which stands erect at their side and does its will by them.

Nature, as we know her, is no saint.

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

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

Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit.

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

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

People only see what they are prepared to see.

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

People who know how to act are never preachers.

Pictures must not be too picturesque.

Quotation confesses inferiority.

Reality has a sliding floor.

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

Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

The Americans have little faith. They rely on the power of the dollar.

The craft of the merchant is this bringing a thing from where it abounds, to where it is costly.

The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.

The efforts which we make to escape from our destiny only serve to lead us into it.

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

The first wealth is health.

The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant.

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

The human body is the magazine of inventions, the patent office, where are the models from which every hint is taken. All the tools and engines on earth are only extensions of its limbs and senses.

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

The only sin which we will never forgive in each other is difference of opinion.

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

There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

To be great is to be misunderstood.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

We are always getting ready to live but never living.

We boil at different degrees.

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

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.

We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors.

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

What torments of grief you endured, from evils that never arrived.

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

When believers and unbelievers live in the same manner, I distrust the religion.

When I cannot brag about knowing something, I brag about not knowing it.

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

Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances.

You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Ralph Waldo Emerson


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