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

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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