Inspirational and Inspiring Gifts


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Give all to love; obey thy heart." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The only way to have a friend is to be one." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A believer is never disturbed, because others do not yet see the fact which he sees." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The world belongs to the energetic." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Enthusiasm is the leaping lightning, not to be measured by the horse-power of the understanding." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ideas must work though the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be too timid and squeamish. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every hero becomes a bore at last." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Great men are they that see spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Children are all foreigners." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

"Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The ancestor of every action is a thought." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Hitch your wagon to a star." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude: Civilization, 1870

"Every artist was first an amateur." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims: Progress of Culture, 1876

"In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson



"Glory is a light which shines from us to others, not from others to us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, 'Fate,' 1860

"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. " -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and squirrel." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"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 cumbered with your old nonsense." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When you strike at a king, you must kill him." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Here is the world, sound as a nut, perfect, not the smallest piece of chaos left, never a stitch nor an end, not a mark of haste, or botching, or second thought; but the theory of the world is a thing of shreds and patches." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People only see what they are prepared to see." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nature and Books belong to the eyes that see them." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"My evening visitors, if they cannot see the clock, should find the time in my face." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Each man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well -- he has changed his market-cart into a chariot of the sun." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We aim above the mark to hit the mark." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around you own." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Without ambition one starts nothing.
Without work one finishes nothing.
The prize will not be sent to you.
You have to win it.
The man who knows how will always have a job.
The man who also knows why will always be his boss.
As to methods there may be a million and then some,
but principles are few.
The man who grasps principles can successfully
select his own methods. The man who tries methods,
ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. In fact, it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is no thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He is great who confers the most benefits." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for many." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Take egotism out and you would castrate the benefactors." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I look on that man as happy, who, when there is question of success, looks into his work for a reply." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It makes a great difference in the force of a sentence, whether a man be behind it or no." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The greatest homage we can pay truth is to use it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is very easy in the world to live by the opinion of the world. It is very easy in solitude to be self-centered. But the finished man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. I knew a man of simple habits and earnest character who never put out his hands nor opened his lips to court the public, and having survived several rotten reputations of younger men, honor came at last and sat down with him upon his private bench from which he had never stirred." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Science does not know its debt to imagination. Goethe did not believe that a great naturalist could exist without this faculty. Ralph Waldo Emerson

""Man was born to be rich, or grow rich by use of his faculties,
by the union of thought with nature. Property is an intellectual production.
The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness,
and patience in the players. Cultivated labor drives out brute labor." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us "like the fabled specter-ships," which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Proverbs are the literature of reason, or the statements of absolute truth, without qualification. Like the sacred books of each nation, they are the sanctuary of its intuitions." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end. though you can render no reason." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Work is victory." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson