Quotations From HERMAN MELVILLE


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  • While nature thus very early and very abundantly feeds us, she is very late in tutoring us as to the proper methodization of our diet.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XVIII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).

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  • The man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 5, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • Can it be, that the Greek grammarians invented their dual number for the particular benefit of twins?
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 53, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick, ch. 110 (1851).
  • Forty years after a battle it is easy for a noncombatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to have to direct the fighting while involved in the obscuring smoke of it.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 21, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962). A sham quotation.

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  • A ship is a bit of terra firma cut off from the main; it is a state in itself; and the captain is its king.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 6, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).

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  • Where do murderers go, man! Who's to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar?
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 132, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Spoken by Captain Ahab.
  • Vivenza might be likened to St. John, feeding on locusts and wild honey, and with prophetic voice, crying to the nations from the wilderness.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 146, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Vivenza, an allegorical representation of the United States.
  • If a well-constituted individual refrains from blazoning aught amiss or calamitous in his family, a nation in the like circumstance may without reproach be equally discreet.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (c. 1889), ch. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

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  • Something further may follow of this Masquerade.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 45, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984). The last sentence of the work.
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