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

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

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