Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Humanity cries out against this vast enormity:Mnot one man knows a prudent remedy. Blame not, then, the North; and wisely judge the South.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 162, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Media, the king, about slavery.
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  • ''If a drunkard in a sober fit is the dullest of mortals, an enthusiast in a reason-fit is not the most lively.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 8, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984).
  • ''This country is at present engaged in furnishing material for future authors; not in encouraging its living ones.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Letter, July 20, 1851, to a publisher, Richard Bentley. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993). The subject was international copyright.
  • ''Toil is man's allotment; toil of brain, or toil of hands, or a grief that's more than either, the grief and sin of idleness.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 63, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''St Louis, that city of outward-bound caravans for the West, and which is to the prairies, what Cairo is to the Desert.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Mr Parkman's Tour" (1849), The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces 1839-1860, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 9, eds. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1987).
  • ''The grand points in human nature are the same to-day they were a thousand years ago. The only variability in them is in expression, not in feature.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984).
  • ''To you, ye stars, man owes his subtlest raptures, thoughts unspeakable, yet full of faith.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 58, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Nobody is so heartily despised as a pusillanimous, lazy, good-for-nothing, land-lubber; a sailor has no bowels of compassion for him.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
  • ''A thing may be incredible and still be true; sometimes it is incredible because it is true.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 97, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''Say what they will of the glowing independence one feels in the saddle, give me the first morning flush of your cheery pedestrian!''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 67, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).

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Best Poem of Herman Melville

Gettysburg

O Pride of the days in prime of the months
Now trebled in great renown,
When before the ark of our holy cause
Fell Dagon down-
Dagon foredoomed, who, armed and targed,
Never his impious heart enlarged
Beyond that hour; God walled his power,
And there the last invader charged.

He charged, and in that charge condensed
His all of hate and all of fire;
He sought to blast us in his scorn,
And wither us in his ire.
Before him went the shriek of shells-
Aerial screamings, taunts and yells;
Then the three waves in flashed advance
Surged, but were met,...

Read the full of Gettysburg

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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