Herman Melville

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

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''All the rest was indefinite, as the soundest advice ever is.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 93, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). With reference to advice.
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  • ''Man, "poor player," succeeds better in life's tragedy than comedy.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Israel Potter (1855), ch. 24, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 8, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1982).
  • ''Life folded Death; Death trellised Life; the grim god wived with youthful Life, and begat him curly-headed glories.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 102, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''Man was not made to succumb to the villain Woe.''
    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).
  • ''Never joke at funerals, or during business transactions.''
    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.
  • ''Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 85, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''The pleasure of leaving home, care-free, with no concern but to enjoy, has also as a pendant the pleasure of coming back to the old hearthstone, the home to which, however traveled, the heart still fondly turns, ignoring the burden of its anxieties and cares.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Traveling" (1859-60), 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). A lecture.
  • ''In the case of pirates, say, I would like to know whether that profession of theirs has any peculiar glory about it. It sometimes ends in uncommon elevation, indeed; but only at the gallows.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 53, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''The food of thy soul is light and space; feed it then on light and space. But the food of thy body is champagne and oysters; feed it then on champagne and oysters; and so shall it merit a joyful resurrection, if there is any to be.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''The women, who had congregated in the groves, set up the most violent clamors, as they invariably do here as elsewhere on every occasion of excitement and alarm, with a view of tranquilizing their own minds and disturbing other people.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 17, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968). On the occasion of minor hostilities between the Typees and a neighboring tribe.

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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

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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