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

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.

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