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American essayist and poet
(1803 - 1882)
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Only so much do I know, as I have lived.
      - Oration--The American Scholar [Experience]

The writer, like a priest, must be exempted from secular labor. His work needs a frolic health; he must be at the top of his condition.
      - Poetry and Imagination--Creation

He that despiseth small things will perish by little and little.
      - Prudence [Trifles]

Too busy with the crowded hour to fear to live or die.
      - Quatrains--Nature [Work]

Though love repine and reason chafe,
  There came a voice without reply,
    "'Tis man's perdition to be safe,
      When for the truth he ought to die."
      - Quatrains--Sacrifice [Truth]

The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue; and no genius can long or often utter anything which is not invited and gladly entertained by men around him.
      - Race [Genius]

Glittering generalities! They are blazing ubiquities.
      - Remark on Choate's words [Oratory]

Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in.
      - Representative Men--Montaigne [Matrimony]

The secrets of life are not shown except to sympathy and likeness.
      - Representative Men--Montaigne [Sympathy]

The studious class are their own victims; they are thin and pale, their feet are cold, their heads are hot, the night is without sleep, the day a fear of interruption,--pallor, squalor, hunger, and egotism. If you come near them and see what conceits they entertain--they are abstractionists, and spend their days and nights in dreaming some dream; in expecting the homage of society to some precious scheme built on a truth, but destitute of proportion in its presentment, of justness in its application, and of all energy of will in the schemer to embody and vitalize it.
      - Representative Men--Montaigne [Students]

What point of morals, of manners, of economy, of philosophy, of religion, of taste, of the conduct of life, has he not settled? What mystery has he not signified his knowledge of? What office, or function, or district of man's work, has he not remembered? What king has he not taught state, as Talma taught Napoleon? What maiden has not found him finer than her delicacy? What lover has he not outloved? What sage has he not outseen? What gentleman has he not instructed in the rudeness of his behavior?
      - Representative Men--Shakespeare

Behold the Sea,
  The opaline, the plentiful and strong,
    Yet beautiful as is the rose in June,
      Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July;
        Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds,
          Purger of earth, and medicine of men;
            Creating a sweet climate by my breath,
              Washing out harms and griefs from memory,
                And, in my mathematic ebb and flow,
                  Giving a hint of that which changes not.
      - Sea Shore [Ocean]

It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion.
      - Shakespeare [Plagiarism]

The finest poetry was first experience.
      - Shakespeare [Poetry]

Life is not so short that there is always time enough for courtesy.
      - Social Aims [Courtesy]

God may forgive sins, he said, but awkwardness has no forgiveness in heaven or earth.
      - Society and Solitude [Awkwardness]

In sculpture did ever anybody call the Apollo a fancy piece? Or say of the Laocoon how it might be made difference? A masterpiece of art has in the mind a fixed place in the chain of being, as much as a plant or a crystal.
      - Society and Solitude--Art [Sculpture]

The conscious utterance of thought, by speech or action, to any end, is art.
      - Society and Solitude--Art [Art]

Hitch your wagon to a star.
      - Society and Solitude--Civilization [Stars]

Conversation is the laboratory and workshop of the student.
      - Society and Solitude--Clubs [Conversation]

The lover of letters loves power too.
      - Society and Solitude--Clubs [Authorship]

Knowledge is the antidote to fear,--
  Knowledge, Use and Reason, with its higher aids.
      - Society and Solitude--Courage [Knowledge]

The charm of the best courages is that they are inventions, inspirations, flashes of genius.
      - Society and Solitude--Courage [Courage]

The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.
      - Society and Solitude--Farming

There is no knowledge that is not power.
      - Society and Solitude--Old Age [Knowledge]

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