No person for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
Nathaniel Hawthorne—The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Each person has their own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to them. They have faculties silently inviting them tither to endless exertion. They are like a ship in a river; they run against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and they sweep serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea.
Ralph Waldo Emerson—“Spiritual Laws” (1841)
The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and crimes of humanity, all lie in that one word LOVE. It is the divine vitality that pro- duces and restores life. To each and every one of us it gives the power of working miracles, if we will.
Lydia Maria Child—Letters from New York (1843)
Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but their Maker can teach them. No one yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare?
Ralph Waldo Emerson—Self-Reliance (1841)
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a person does not keep pace with their companions, perhaps it is because they hear a different drummer. Let them step to the music which they hear, however measured or far away. It is not important that you should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Shall you turn your spring into summer?
Henry David Thoreau—Walden (1854)