Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.

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More from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

Essays, First Series, "Self-Reliance"

Men achieve a certain greatness unawares, when working to another aim.

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

Essays: Second Series, New England Reformers (1844)

The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men round to his opinion twenty years later.

The Conduct of Life (1860)

A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

Essays, "Character," 1844