Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Much of a man's character will be found betokened in his backbone. I would rather feel your spine than your skull, whoever you are. A thin joist of a spine never yet upheld a full and noble soul.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 80, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
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  • ''We are not a nation, so much as a world; for unless we claim all the world for our sire, like Melchisedec, we are without father or mother.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 33, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''To study the stars upon the wide, boundless sea, is divine as it was to the Chaldean Magi, who observed their revolutions from the plains.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 19, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''I seem, in most of these verses, to have but placed a harp in a window, and noted the contrasted airs which wayward winds have played upon the strings.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Prefatory words. "Battle-Pieces" (1866), p. 446, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947). Describing the composition of his Civil War poetry.
  • ''The strong arm, my lord, is no argument, though it overcomes all logic.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 104, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
  • ''Whenever we discover a dislike in us, toward any one, we should ever be a little suspicious of ourselves.''
    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).
  • ''There is something in us, somehow, that, in the most degraded condition, we snatch at a chance to deceive ourselves into a fancied superiority to others, whom we suppose lower in the scale than ourselves.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 67, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969). Referring to black and white people.
  • ''Know, thou, that the lines that live are turned out of a furrowed brow.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 180, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher, about poetry.
  • ''The scene of suffering is a scene of joy when the suffering is past; and the silent reminiscence of hardships departed, is sweeter than the presence of delight.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 60, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''He who goes oftenest round Cape Horn goes the most circumspectly.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 24, 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

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.

He charged, and in that charge condensed
His all of hate and all of fire;
He sought to blast us in his scorn,
And wither us in his ire.
Before him went the shriek of shells-
Aerial screamings, taunts and yells;
Then the three waves in flashed advance
Surged, but were met,...

Read the full of Gettysburg

The Mound By The Lake

The grass shall never forget this grave.
When homeward footing it in the sun
After the weary ride by rail,
The stripling soldiers passed her door,
Wounded perchance, or wan and pale,
She left her household work undone -
Duly the wayside table spread,
With evergreens shaded, to regale
Each travel-spent and grateful one.

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