Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Whatever has made, or does make, or may make music, should be held sacred as the golden bridle-bit of the Shah of Persia's horse, and the golden hammer, with which his hoofs are shod.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 49, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
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  • ''We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in the New World that is ours.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''The retaliation is apt to be in monstrous disproportion to the supposed offense; for when in anybody was revenge in its exactions aught else but an inordinate usurer?''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 13, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).
  • ''I will live and die by this testimony: that I loved a good conscience; that I never invaded another man's liberty; and that I preserved my own.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 124, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Babbalanja, the philosopher, reading from a book.
  • ''There is a touch of divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should forever exempt him from indignities.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 40, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''Like all high functionaries, he deemed it indispensable religiously to sustain his dignity; one of the most troublesome things in the world, and one calling for the greatest self-denial.''
    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). Concerning the commodore aboard the Neversink.
  • ''Coke and Blackstone hardly shed so much light into obscure spiritual places as the Hebrew prophets.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 11, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962). Coke and Blackstone were authorities on the law.
  • ''Better to sink in boundless deeps, than float on vulgar shoals; and give me, ye gods, an utter wreck, if wreck I do.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 169, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''It is plain and demonstrable, that much ale is not good for Yankee, and operates differently upon them from what it does upon a Briton; ale must be drank in a fog and a drizzle.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 28, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
  • ''Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 114, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).

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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

Shiloh - A Requiem

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh --
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh--

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