Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''The subterranean miner that works in us all, how can one tell whither leads his shaft by the ever shifting, muffled sound of his pick?''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 41, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
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  • ''To certain temperaments, especially when previously agitated by any deep feeling, there is perhaps nothing more exasperating, and which sooner explodes all self-command, than the coarse, jeering insolence of a porter, cabman, or hack-driver.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XVI, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''If you are poor, avoid wine as a costly luxury; if you are rich, shun it as a fatal indulgence. Stick to plain water.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Israel Potter (1855), ch. 7, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 8, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1982). Spoken by a fictional Benjamin Franklin.
  • ''Juxtaposition marries men.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. III, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971). Spoken by Pierre's mother, Mary Glendinning.
  • ''all mankind, not excluding Americans, are sinners—miserable sinners, as even no few Bostonians themselves nowadays contritely respond in the liturgy.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "To Major John Gentian, Dean of the Burgundy Club" (posthumous), p. 358, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924).
  • ''A hermitage in the forest is the refuge of the narrow-minded misanthrope; a hammock on the ocean is the asylum for the generous distressed.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Israel Potter (1855), ch. 2, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 8, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1982).
  • ''A king's head is solemnly oiled at his coronation, even as a head of salad.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 25, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''It is not for man to follow the trail of truth too far, since by so doing he entirely loses the directing compass of his mind.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. IX, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''The western spirit is, or will yet be (for no other is, or can be) the true American one.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Israel Potter (1855), ch. 22, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 8, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1982).
  • ''The most mighty of nature's laws is this, that out of Death she brings Life.''
    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

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

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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