Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (c. 1889), ch. 28, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).
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  • ''Thou wine art the friend of the friendless, though a foe to all.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 85, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by King Donjalolo.
  • ''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).
  • '''Tis no dishonor when he who would dishonor you, only dishonors himself.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 87, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969). Spoken by Ushant, after being flogged.
  • ''Of the quaking recruit, three pitched battles make a grim grenadier; and he who shrank from the muzzle of a cannon, is now ready to yield his mustache for a sponge.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 9, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 26, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''As with ships, so with men; he who turns his back to his foe gives him an advantage.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 27, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''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).
  • ''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.
  • ''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.

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Best Poem of Herman Melville

Art

In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt--a wind to freeze;
Sad patience--joyous energies;
Humility--yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity--reverence. These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel--Art.

Read the full of Art

The Berg (A Dream)

I saw a ship of material build
(Her standards set, her brave apparel on)
Directed as by madness mere
Against a solid iceberg steer,
Nor budge it, though the infactuate ship went down.
The impact made huge ice-cubes fall
Sullen in tons that crashed the deck;
But that one avalanche was all--
No other movement save the foundering wreck.

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