Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalist philosopher and critic of religion, was a popular lecturer in his day. Many have quoted him from his essays, journals, and speeches.
If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.
[Often paraphrased as: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”]
Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.
For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
There never was a child so lovely, but his mother was glad to get him asleep.
Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Violence is not power, but the absence of power.
God enters by a private door into every individual.
In failing circumstances no one can be relied on to keep their integrity.
The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true.
Self-command is the main elegance.
Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds.
No great man ever complains of want of opportunities.
What your heart thinks is great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.
To be great is to be misunderstood.
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
But it is a cold, lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy something, which does not represent your life and talent, but a goldsmith’s.
The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.
The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up of some 20 or 30 farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet.
‘Tis curious that we only believe as deeply as we live.
Truth, and goodness, and beauty are but different faces of the same all.
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.
We ask for long life, but ’tis deep life, or noble moments that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.
The years teach much which the days never know.
The thing done avails, and not what is said about it.
Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.
Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines.
It is the duty of men to judge men only by their actions. Our faculties furnish us with no means of arriving at the motive, the character, the secret self. We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works.
If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.