There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till.

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More from Ralph Waldo Emerson

I should as soon think of swimming across Charles River when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in originals when I have them rendered for me in my mother tongue.

Books

Imagination is not a talent of some men but is the health of every man.

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples.

"Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860)

In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.

We ought to celebrate this hour by expressions of manly joy. Not thanks, not prayer seem quite the highest or truest name for our communication with the infinite,-but glad and conspiring reception,-reception that becomes giving in its turn, as the receiver is only the All-Giver in part and infancy.

Speech, August 11, 1841