American Transcendental quotes

“Nature is mythical and mystical always, and works with the license and extravagance of genius.

-Thoreau, “Excursions”

“Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.”

– Thoreau, Walden, chapter 11

“Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.”

-Emerson, “Nature”

“Instead of calling on some scholar, I paid many a visit to particular trees, of kinds which are rare in this neighborhood, standing far away in the middle of some pasture, or in the depths of a wood or swamp, or on a hilltop . . . some taller mast of a pine, or a more perfect hemlock than usual, standing like a pagoda in the midst of the woods. These were the shrines I visited both summer and winter.”

Thoreau, Walden, chapter 10

“At length we resolved to scale the blue wall which bound the western horizon, though not without misgivings that thereafter no visible fairyland would exist for us.”

-Thoreau, “Excursions”

“Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, having an instinct for it. Who does not remember the interest with which, when young, he looked at shelving rocks, or any approach to a cave? It was the natural yearning of that portion of our most primitive ancestor which still survived in us.

From the cave we have advanced to roofs of palm leaves, of bark and boughs, of linen woven and stretched, of grass and straw, of boards and shingles, of stones and tiles. At last, we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think. From the hearth the field is a great distance. It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies.

Thoreau, Walden, chapter 1

A Leaf,

A Drop,

A Crystal,

A Moment of Time

Is Related

To the Whole,

and Partakes

of the Perfection

of the Whole.”

-Emerson, “Nature”

“For myself, I am a Transcendentalist of the old New England sort. I believe myself to be a child of God; and if a child, then an heir – a very condensed way of saying that the spirit within me is the breath of the creative spirit, and therefore infinite in its reach, in its possibilities, and its final destiny.”

Caroline Dall, Transcendentalism in New England, 1897

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

-Thoreau, “Walden”


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