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"

Share with your friends

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

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)

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day.