Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Man (219 Quotes)


    The machine unmakes the man. Now that the machine is so perfect, the engineer is nobody.



    The world is full of judgment-days, and into every assembly that a man enters, in every action he attempts, he is gauged and stamped.



    THE POET A moody child and wildly wise Pursued the game with joyful eyes, Which chose, like meteors, their way, And rived the dark with private ray They overleapt the horizon's edge, Searched with Apollo's privilege Through man, and woman, and sea, and star, Saw the dance of nature forward far Through worlds, and races, and terms, and times, Saw musical order, and pairing rhymes. Olympian bards who sung Divine ideas below, Which always find us young, And always keep us so.

    In conversation the game is, to say something new with old words. And you shall observe a man of the people picking his way along, step by step, using every time an old boulder, yet never setting his foot on an old place.


    Men wish to be saved from the mischiefs of their vices, but not from their vices.


    The power which resides in man is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.

    A sect or a party is an elegant incognito, devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.


    One lesson we learn early, that in spite of seeming difference, men are all of one pattern. We readily assume this with our mates, and are disappointed and angry if we find that we are premature, and that their watches are slower than ours.

    Men admire the man who can organize their wishes and thoughts in stone and wood and steel and brass.

    Liberty is slow fruit. It is never cheap it is made difficult because freedom is the accomplishment and perfectness of man.

    But I cannot recite, even thus rudely, laws of the intellect, without remembering that lofty and sequestered class of men who have been its prophets and oracles, the high-priesthood of the pure reason, the Trismegisti, the expounders of the principles of thought from age to age.

    Go where he will, the wise man is at home, His hearth the earth, his hall the azure dome.

    Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm. Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and the soul. Hence, the restorers of readings, the emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees....

    All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of you first.


    The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume, and do not invigorate men.

    There are geniuses in trade as well as in war, or state, or letters and the reason why this or that man is fortunate is not to be told. It lies in the man that is all anybody can tell you about it.

    There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man.

    A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace.

    The perception of the comic is a tie of sympathy with other men, a pledge of sanity, and a protection from those perverse tendencies and gloomy insanities in which fine intellects sometimes lose themselves. A rogue alive to the ludicrous is still convertible. If that sense is lost, his fellow-men can do little for him.

    It is implied in all superior culture that a complete man would need no auxiliaries to his personal presence

    If a man sits down to think, he is immediately asked if has a headache.

    Men do what is called a good action, as some piece of courage or charity, much as they would pay a fine in expiation of daily non-appearance on parade. Their works are done as an apology or extenuation of their living in the world as invalids pay a high board. Their virtues are penances. I do not wish to expiate, but to live my life is for itself, and not for spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. I ask for primary evidence that you are a man, and refuse this appeal from a man to his actions.

    If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, tho' he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door. Mrs. Yule stated in The Docket, Feb. 1912, that she copied this in her handbook from a lecture delivered by Emerson. The mouse-trap quotation was the occasion of a long controversy, owing to Elbert Hubbards claim to its authorship.


    More Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - World - Life - Nature - Mind - Wisdom & Knowledge - Love - Books - Time - Truth - Friendship - Thought & Thinking - God - Work & Career - Sense & Perception - People - Literature - Beauty - Actions - View All Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotations

    Related Authors


    William Blake - Shel Silverstein - John Keats - Dante Alighieri - William Somerville - Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Louis Aragon - Euripides - Elizabeth Bishop - Andrew Lang


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