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.

Books

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is Doomsday.

"Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870)

Who you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.

Attributed

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.

Essays: First Series (1841) Essay XII, "Art"

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

The Conduct of Life, "Worship," (1870)