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Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Nature Mystic, Philosopher, Journalist, Poet

A portrait of Emerson done in 1878

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. After studying at Harvard and teaching for a brief time, Emerson entered the ministry. After the death of his young wife of tuberculosis, Emerson resigned his pastorate in 1831.

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 1832 Emerson traveled to Europe, where he met with literary figures Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Upon his return home he soon settled in Concord, Massachusetts. It is said that Emerson's early preaching had often touched on the personal nature of spirituality. He now began to lecture on topics of spiritual experience and ethical living. He found kindred spirits in a circle of writers and thinkers who lived in Concord, including Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau and Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott).

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1857

Emerson Under the Influence of Nature

Emerson had illuminations in nature. He describes himself just watching a brook and sitting. One time he was just thinking on a tree stump and all of a sudden the scene faded out and he beheld the inner aspect of that physical scene. He was never the same afterwards. This helped lead him to be a glorious individualist in his writing, which Flower felt had pure excellence about it.

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