Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''There are some persons in this world, who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 6, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984). Spoken by the wooden-legged man.
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  • ''So far as I am individually concerned, & independent of my pocket, it is my earnest desire to write those sort of books which are said to "fail."''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, Oct. 6, 1849, to his father-in-law, Lemuel Shaw. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
  • ''Civilization has not ever been the brother of equality. Freedom was born among the wild eyries in the mountains; and barbarous tribes have sheltered under her wings, when the enlightened people of the plain have nestled under different pinions.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 161, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Read from a scroll.
  • ''Behold here the fate of a sailor! They give him the last toss, and no one asks whose child he was.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 12, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968). On the occasion of a burial at sea.
  • ''Mystery is in the morning, and mystery in the night, and the beauty of mystery is everywhere; but still the plain truth remains, that mouth and purse must be filled.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 37, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984). Spoken by Mark Winsome, the transcendentalist.
  • ''Old Abe is much better looking than I expected & younger looking. He shook hands like a good fellow—working hard at it like a man sawing wood at so much per cord.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, Mar. 24 and 25, 1861, to his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993). Written shortly after attending a White House levee.
  • ''These South savannahs may yet prove battle-fields.''
    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 Mohi, the historian, about slavery.
  • ''Charge a man with one misdemeanor, and all his peccadilloes are raked up and assorted before him.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 79, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
  • ''Something further may follow of this Masquerade.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 45, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984). The last sentence of the work.
  • ''He who is ready to despair in solitary peril, plucks up a heart in the presence of another. In a plurality of comrades is much countenance and consolation.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 34, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).

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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

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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