Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''contempt is as frequently produced at first sight as love.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 20, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
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  • ''At sea a fellow comes out. Salt water is like wine, in that respect.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Letter, May 28, 1860, to Evert A. Duyckinck. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
  • ''There is a savor of life and immortality in substantial fare. Like balloons, we are nothing till filled.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 55, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''To be hated cordially, is only a left-handed compliment.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 50, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
  • ''It is with fiction as with religion: it should present another world, and yet one to which we feel the tie.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 33, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984).
  • ''Praise when merited is not a boon: yet to a generous nature, is it pleasant to utter it.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, [between 7 Apr. and 21 July 1886?], to [W. Clark Russell?].. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
  • ''The dinner-hour is the summer of the day: full of sunshine, I grant; but not like the mellow autumn of supper.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 181, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by King Media.
  • ''A thorough tar is unfit for any thing else; and what is more, this fact is the best evidence of his being a true sailor.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Omoo (1846), ch. 29, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 2, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
  • ''Where does any novelist pick up any character? For the most part, in town, to be sure.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The Confidence-Man (1857), ch. 44, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 10, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1984).
  • ''In things abstract, men but differ in the sounds that come from their mouths, and not in the wordless thoughts lying at the bottom of their beings.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 135, 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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Best Poem of Herman Melville

Misgivings

When ocean-clouds over inland hills
Sweep storming in late autumn brown,
And horror the sodden valley fills,
And the spire falls crashing in the town,
I muse upon my country's ills--
The tempest burning from the waste of Time
On the world's fairest hope linked with man's foulest crime.

Nature's dark side is heeded now--
(Ah! optimist-cheer dishartened flown)--
A child may read the moody brow
Of yon black mountain lone.
With shouts the torrents down the gorges go,
And storms are formed behind the storms we feel:
The hemlock shakes in the ...

Read the full of Misgivings

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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