Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''His duty he always faithfully did; but duty is sometimes a dry obligation, and he was for irrigating its aridity, whensoever possible, with a fertilizing decoction of strong waters.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 1, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962). Referring to a British impressment officer visiting a merchant ship.
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  • ''As for the possible hereafter of the whales; a creature eighty feet long without stockings, and thirty feet round the waist before dinner, is not inconsiderately to be consigned to annihilation.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 94, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''The universe is finished; the copestone is on, and the chips were carried off a million years ago.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 2, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''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).
  • ''Time is made up of various ages; and each thinks its own a novelty.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), vol. 3, ch. 161, The Writings of Herman Melville, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Read from a scroll.
  • ''Delight,—top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 9, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Spoken by Father Mapple.
  • ''Personal prudence, even when dictated by quite other than selfish considerations, surely is no special virtue in a military man; while an excessive love of glory, impassioning a less burning impulse, the honest sense of duty, is the first.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 5, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).
  • ''Let us only hate hatred; and once give love a play, we will fall in love with a unicorn.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 13, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Talk to me not of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 36, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Spoken by Captain Ahab.
  • ''There are times when even the most potent governor must wink at transgression, in order to preserve the laws inviolate for the future.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 85, 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

Stonewall Jackson

Mortally Wounded at Chancellorsville

The Man who fiercest charged in fight,
Whose sword and prayer were long -
Stonewall!
Even him who stoutly stood for Wrong,
How can we praise? Yet coming days
Shall not forget him with this song.

Dead is the Man whose Cause is dead,
Vainly he died and set his seal -
Stonewall!
Earnest in error, as we feel;
True to the thing he deemed was due,
True as John Brown or steel.

Relentlessly he routed us;
But we relent, for he is low -
Stonewall!
Justly his fame we outlaw; so
We drop a tear on the bold ...

Read the full of Stonewall Jackson

Immolated

Children of my happier prime,
When One yet lived with me, and threw
Her rainbow over life and time,
Even Hope, my bride, and mother to you!
O, nurtured in sweet pastoral air,
And fed on flowers and light and dew
Of morning meadows -spare, ah, spare
Reproach; spare, and upbraid me not
That, yielding scarce to reckless mood,

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