Quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

But the mark of American merit in painting, in sculpture, in poetry, in fiction, in eloquence, seems to be a certain grace without grandeur, and itself not new but derivative; a vase of fair outline, but empty,—which whoso sees, may fill with what wit and character is in him, but which does not, like the charged cloud, overflow with terrible beauty, and emit lightnings on all beholders.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, July 24, 1838, at Dartmouth College. "Literary Ethics," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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