Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Truth is in things, and not in words.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 93, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
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  • ''Of all mortals, some dying men are the most tyrannical; and certainly, since they will shortly trouble us so little for evermore, the poor fellows ought to be indulged.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 110, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''The public is one thing, Jack, and the people another.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 45, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969). Spoken by the poet Lemsford to Jack Chase.
  • ''Let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Captain Ahab, in Moby-Dick, ch. 132 (1851).
  • ''Fame is an accident; merit a thing absolute.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 126, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
  • ''The lightning flashes through my skull; mine eyeballs ache and ache; my whole beaten brain seems as beheaded, and rolling on some stunning ground.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Captain Ahab, in Moby Dick, ch. 119 (1851).
  • ''The entire merit of a man can never be made known; nor the sum of his demerits, if he have them. We are only known by our names; as letters sealed up, we but read each other's superscriptions.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 126, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
  • ''There is no Champollion to decipher the Egypt of every man's and every being's face. Physiognomy, like every other human science, is but a passing fable.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 79, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''The only ugliness is that of the heart, seen through the face. And though beauty be obvious, the only loveliness is invisible.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 30, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.''
    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.

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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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