Ralph Waldo Emerson

Literary Birthday – 25 May – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born 25 May 1803, and died 27 April 1882.


  1. The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
  2. A man is what he thinks about all day long.
  3. Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  4. Imagination is not a talent of some men, but is the health of every man.
  5. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
  6. Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it.
  7. Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
  8. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
  9. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
  10. Art is a jealous mistress.
  11. If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
  12. Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
  13. I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.
  14. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
  15. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. His books include Nature, The American Scholar, and Divinity School Address.

Source for Image: Wikimedia Commons


Josiah Johnson Hawes, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th May 2013

0 thoughts on “Literary Birthday – 25 May – Ralph Waldo Emerson”

  1. A great service in the cause of transfer of human knowledge from one generation to another,particularly in a world of excessive knowledge .