17+ quotes from Nature and Selected Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes from Nature and Selected Essays

Ralph Waldo Emerson ·  416 pages

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“I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Standing on the bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Not the sun or summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not `studying a profession,' for he does not postpone his life, but lives already.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“If we suddenly plant our foot, and say, — I will neither eat nor drink nor wear nor touch any food or fabric which I do not know to be innocent, or deal with any person whose whole manner of life is not clear and rational, we shall stand still. Whose is so? Not mine; not thine; not his. But I think we must clear ourselves each one by the interrogation, whether we have earned our bread to-day by the hearty contribution of our energies to the common benefit? and we must not cease to tend to the correction of these flagrant wrongs, by laying one stone aright every day.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Thus to him, to this school-boy under the bending dome of day, is suggested, that he and it proceed from one root; one is leaf and one is flower; relation, sympathy, stirring in every vein. And what is that Root? Is not that the soul of his soul?―A thought too bold,―a dream too wild. Yet when this spiritual light shall have revealed the law of more earthly natures,―when he has learned to worship the soul, and to see that the natural philosophy that now is, is only the first gropings of its gigantic hand, he shall look forward to an ever expanding knowledge as to a becoming creator. He shall see, that nature is the opposite of the soul, answering to it part for part. One is seal, and one is print. Its beauty is the beauty of his own mind. Its laws are the laws of his own mind. Nature then becomes to him the measure of his attainments. So much of nature as he is ignorant of, so much of his own mind does he not yet possess. And, in fine, the ancient precept, "Know thyself," and the modern precept, "Study nature," become at last one maxim.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“What is the scholar, what is the man for, but for hospitality to every new thought of his time? Have you leisure, power, property, friends? you shall be the asylum and patron of every new thought, every unproven opinion, every untried project, which proceeds out of good will and honest seeking. All the newspapers, all the tongues of to-day will of course at first defame what is noble; but you who hold not of to-day, not of the times, but of the Everlasting, are to stand for it: and the highest compliment, man ever receives from heaven, is the sending to him its disguised and discredited angels.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of to-day.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“We spend our incomes for paint and paper, for a hundred trifles, I know not what, and not for the things of a man. Our expense is almost all for conformity. It is for cake that we run in debt; 't is not the intellect, not the heart, not beauty, not worship, that costs so much. Why needs any man be rich? Why must he have horses, fine garments, handsome apartments, access to public houses, and places of amusement? Only for want of thought.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


“What is the foundation of that interest all men feel in Greek history, letters, art, and poetry, in all its periods, from the Heroic or Homeric age down to the domestic life of the Athenians and Spartans, four or five centuries later? What but this, that every man passes personally through a Grecian period.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, quote from Nature and Selected Essays


About the author

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Born place: in Boston, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date May 25, 1803
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