Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''We die, because we live.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 178, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
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  • ''There seems no reason why patriotism and narrowness should go together, or why intellectual fairmindedness should be confounded with political trimming, or why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Supplement." "Battle-Pieces" (1866), p. 461, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947). Referring to political debate.
  • ''To be called one thing, is oftentimes to be another.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 89, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Ladies are like creeds; if you cannot speak well of them, say nothing.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 51, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''We should, if possible, prove a teacher to posterity, instead of being the pupil of by-gone generations. More shall come after us than have gone before; the world is not yet middle-aged.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 36, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''Those of us who always abhorred slavery as an atheistical iniquity, gladly we join in the exulting chorus of humanity over its downfall.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Supplement." "Battle-Pieces" (1866), p. 465, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947).
  • ''The knave of a thousand years ago seems a fine old fellow full of spirit and fun, little malice in his soul; whereas, the knave of to-day seems a sour-visaged wight, with nothing to redeem him.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 89, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Mohi, the historian.
  • ''I felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 10, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Concerns the effect of Queequeg on Ishmael.
  • ''There is no dignity in wickedness, whether in purple or rags; and hell is a democracy of devils, where all are equals.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 55, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''So long as a man-of-war exists, it must ever remain a picture of much that is tyrannical and repelling in human nature.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 49, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).

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Best Poem of Herman Melville

Misgivings

When ocean-clouds over inland hills
Sweep storming in late autumn brown,
And horror the sodden valley fills,
And the spire falls crashing in the town,
I muse upon my country's ills--
The tempest burning from the waste of Time
On the world's fairest hope linked with man's foulest crime.

Nature's dark side is heeded now--
(Ah! optimist-cheer dishartened flown)--
A child may read the moody brow
Of yon black mountain lone.
With shouts the torrents down the gorges go,
And storms are formed behind the storms we feel:
The hemlock shakes in the ...

Read the full of Misgivings

Gettysburg

O Pride of the days in prime of the months
Now trebled in great renown,
When before the ark of our holy cause
Fell Dagon down-
Dagon foredoomed, who, armed and targed,
Never his impious heart enlarged
Beyond that hour; God walled his power,
And there the last invader charged.

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