Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''Appalling is the soul of a man! Better might one be pushed off into the material spaces beyond the uttermost orbit of our sun, than once feel himself fairly afloat in himself.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXI, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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  • ''Boy, take my advice, and never try to invent any thing but—happiness.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "The Happy Failure" (1854), 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). Spoken by the failed inventor.
  • ''Vivenza was a braggadocio in Mardi; the only brave one ever known.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 146, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Vivenza, an allegorical representation of the United States.
  • ''Bless my soul, Sir, will you Britons not credit that an American can be a gentleman, & have read the Waverly Novels, tho every digit may have been in the tar-bucket?''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, Mar. 25, 1848, to his publisher, John Murray. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993). In performing his duties as a common sailor, Melville would have dipped his hand in tar.
  • ''Students of history are horror-struck at the massacres of old; but in the shambles, men are being murdered to-day.''
    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.
  • ''One would like to know, what were foes made for except to be used?''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''man rebounds whole aeons back in nature.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. poet, novelist. The House-Top (l. 16). . . Selected Poems of Herman Melville. Hennig Cohen, ed. (1991) Fordham University Press.
  • ''The two great things yet to be discovered are these—The Art of rejuvenating old age in men, & oldageifying youth in books.—Who in the name of the trunk-makers would think of reading Old Burton were his book published for the first to day.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, Apr. 5, 1849, to Evert A. Duyckinck. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
  • ''Yet, rather, are we scabbards to our souls. And the drawn sword of genius is more glittering than the drawn cimeter of Saladin.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 32, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
  • ''If there be any thing a man might well pray against, that thing is the responsive gratification of some of the devoutest prayers of his youth.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. I, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).

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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

Shiloh - A Requiem

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh --
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh--

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