Study Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

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"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

"No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty. Beauty, in its largest and profoundest sense, is one expression for the universe. God is the all-fair. Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

"Brave; for fear is a thing, which a scholar by his very function puts behind him. Fear always springs from ignorance."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar"

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, -- that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

"Hitch your wagon to a star."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "American Civilization," The Atlantic Monthly, 1862

"Every artist was first an amateur."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims

"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. ... For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

"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. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

What makes a nation's pillars highAnd it's foundations strong? What makes it mighty to defyThe foes that round it throng? It is not gold. Its kingdoms grandGo down in battle shock; Its shafts are laid on sinking sand, Not on abiding rock. .....Not gold but only men can makeA people great and strong; Men who for truth and honor's sakeStand fast and suffer long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "A Nation's Strength"

"Only so much do I know, as I have lived."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

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