But hospitality must be for service, and not for show, or it pulls down the host. The brave soul rates itself too high to value itself by the splendor of its table and draperies. It gives what it hath, and all it hath, but its own majesty can lend a better grace to bannocks and fair water than belong to city feasts.

Essays, First Series, "Heroism"

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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.

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

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

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

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.

Self-Reliance