"Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This 19th-century transcendentalist essay argues that spending time in nature helps people resist conformity and become their truest selves. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for other works by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self-Reliance, The Young American
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. solitude
    the state or situation of being alone
    To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.
  2. chamber
    a room used primarily for sleeping
    To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.
  3. transparent
    able to be seen through with clarity
    One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.
  4. perpetual
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
    One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.
  5. sublime
    worthy of adoration or reverence
    One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.
  6. admonish
    warn strongly; put on guard
    But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
  7. reverence
    a feeling of profound respect for someone or something
    The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.
  8. inaccessible
    not capable of being obtained
    The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.
  9. kindred
    similar in quality or character
    The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.
  10. extort
    obtain by coercion or intimidation
    Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection.
  11. manifold
    many and varied; having many features or forms
    We mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects.
  12. indubitably
    in a manner or to a degree that could not be doubted
    The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms.
  13. integrate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
    There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet.
  14. superficial
    only concerned with what is apparent or obvious
    To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing.
  15. impertinent
    not relevant to the matter under consideration
    Nature says,—he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.
  16. correspond
    be compatible, similar, or consistent
    Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight.
  17. cordial
    strong highly flavored sweet liquor often drunk after a meal
    In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue.
  18. brink
    a region marking a boundary
    I am glad to the brink of fear.
  19. slough
    any outer covering that can be shed or cast off
    In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child.
  20. sanctity
    the quality of being holy
    Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years.
  21. befall
    become of; happen to
    There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes) which nature cannot repair.
  22. calamity
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes) which nature cannot repair.
  23. blithe
    carefree and happy and lighthearted
    Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes.
  24. egotism
    an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others
    Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes.
  25. particle
    (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
    I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
  26. trifle
    something of small importance
    The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances,—master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance.
  27. tranquil
    free from disturbance by heavy waves
    In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
  28. bough
    any of the larger branches of a tree
    The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old.
  29. temperance
    the act or process of abstaining from excess
    It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance.
  30. frolic
    light-hearted recreational activity for amusement
    For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today.
Created on March 8, 2013 (updated October 1, 2018)

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