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 Mound By The Lake

The grass shall never forget this grave.
When homeward footing it in the sun
After the weary ride by rail,
The stripling soldiers passed her door,
Wounded perchance, or wan and pale,
She left her household work undone -
Duly the wayside table spread,
With evergreens shaded, to regale
Each travel-spent and grateful one.

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