Emerson: the Sage of Concord


by Burt Dubin on June 28, 2011

Emerson:  the Sage of Concord

This is the 4th in my series, “Great Speakers From the Past.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882: We remember Emerson today as the author of  his Essays.  Few today know he was a brilliant speaker, possibly the most brilliant of his era.

I mean to correct this lapse right now!   The quoted words below, slightly edited, are from my copy of Encyclopedia Britannica:

1. He was brought up in an atmosphere of hard work, moral discipline and self-sacrifice.  His cheerful serenity, his tranquil mirthfulness and the steady charm of his personality made him a favourite with others in spite of a certain reserve . . .

2. There was a homely elevation in Emerson’s speeches, a natural freshness, a quiet enthusiasm that charmed hearers.

3. Something in his imperturbable, kindly presence, his commanding style, announced him as the possessor of the great secret many were seeking, the secret of a more harmonious life.

4. More and more, as his fame spread, people came to listen to the voice and to sit at the feet of the Sage of Concord.  It was on the platform that he found his power and won his fame.

5. The simplicity and symmetry of his sentences, the modulations of his thrilling voice, the radiance of his face, even his slight hesitations and pauses, lent a strange charm to his speech.

6. For more than a generation he went around the country lecturing.  There was no person on the platform who excelled him in distinction, in authority, or in stimulating eloquence.

7. The genius from which this came, the swift faculty of perception, the lofty imagination, were the secret source of Emerson’s greatness as a speaker.

Are any of these 7 insights of value to you, dear reader?  Do you see any practices worth of emulation?  Does his noble approach offer you any insights regarding practices you can engage as you enjoy “the privilege of the platform?”



John Ipalo June 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Thank you very much, sir. this is very enlightening and insightful. Your materials are excellent. I like them.

John Ipalo

Mike Radford June 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Warm, short, and to the point.
(That’s the Burt Dubin style.) I loved it.
Thanks for doing this research.


Loren Ekroth June 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm

These insights are of huge value, Burt.

Thank you for this reminder.


Elizabeth Kearney, PhD June 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm


I love his work.


Linda Clements June 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I so enjoy your messages, Burt. I always discover something new from them and then I attempt to apply the principles you share.

Please continue to send them.

Best Regards,


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: