Best 609 of Herman Melville quotes - MyQuotes

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Herman Melville
By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain's exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without - oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Thrusted light is worse than presented pistols.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

No town-bred dandy will compare with a country-bred one- I mean a downright bumpkin dandy- a fellow that, in the dog-days of summer, will mow his two acres in buckskin gloves for fear of tanning his hands.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

If some books are deemed most baneful and their sale forbid, how then with deadlier facts, not dreams of doting men? Those whom books will hurt will not be proof against events. Events, not books should be forbid.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

And, as for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me; if I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of ; if hereafter I shall do anything that, upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone ; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honour and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of feeling.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

There was about all the Romans a heroic tone peculiar to ancient life. Their virtues were great and noble, and these virtues madethem great and noble. They possessed a natural majesty that was not put on and taken off at pleasure, as was that of certain eastern monarchs when they put on or took off their garments of Tyrian dye. It is hoped that this is not wholly lost from the world, although the sense of earthly vanity inculcated by Christianity may have swallowed it up in humility.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Where is there such an one who has not a thousand times been struck with a sort of infidel idea, that whatever other worlds God may be Lord of, he is not the Lord of this; for else this world would seem to give the lie to Him; so utterly repugnant seem its ways to the instinctively known ways of Heaven.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it, and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Those peculiar social sensibilities nourished by our own peculiar political principles, while they enhance the true dignity of a prosperous American, do but minister to the added wretchedness of the unfortunate; first, by prohibiting their acceptance of what little random relief charity may offer; and, second, by furnishing them with the keenest appreciation of the smarting distinction between their ideal of universal equality and their grind-stone experience of the practical misery and infamy of poverty.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Herman Melville

The sight of little Flask mounted upon gigantic Daggoo was yet more curious, for sustaining himself with a cool, indifferent, easy, unthought of, barbaric majesty, the noble negro to every roll of the sea harmoniously rolled his fine form. On his broad back, flaxen-haired Flask seemed a snow-flake. The bearer looked nobler than the rider.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Herman Melville

Oh, boys, don't be sentimental; it's bad for the digestion!

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

It is impossible to talk or to write without apparently throwing oneself helplessly open.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

There never was a great man yet who spent all his life inland.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

The phantom-host has faded quite, Splendor and Terror gone-- Portent or promise--and gives way To pale, meek Dawn.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Some dying men are the most tyrannical; and certainly, since they will shortly trouble us so little for evermore, the poor fellows ought to be indulged.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Herman Melville

When I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head. True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family in the land, the van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from the schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even this wears off in time. What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

Are there no Moravians in the Moon, that not a missionary has yet visited this poor pagan planet of ours, to civilise civilisation and christianise Christendom?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

We are not a nation, so much as a world; for unless we claim all the world for our sire, like Melchisedec, we are without father or mother.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

The consciousness of being deemed dead, is next to the presumable unpleasantness of being so in reality. One feels like his own ghost unlawfully tenanting a defunct carcass.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Herman Melville

...[T]here howl your pagans; where you ever find them, next door to you; under the long-flung shadow, and the snug patronizing lee of churches. For by some curious fatality, as it is often noted of your metropolitan freebooters that they ever encamp around the halls of justice, so sinners, gentlemen, most abound in holiest vicinities.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

The entire merit of a man can never be made known; nor the sum of his demerits, if he have them. We are only known by our names; as letters sealed up, we but read each other's superscriptions.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

It is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation. He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Where do murderers go, man! Who's to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Prayer draws us near to our own souls.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan possess an ocean-like expansiveness, with many of the ocean's noblest traits... they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Of all human events, perhaps, the publication of a first volume of verses is the most insignificant; but though a matter of no moment to the world, it is still of some concern to the author.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

Delight,--top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

For my part I love sleepy fellows, and the more ignorant the better. Damn your wide-awake and knowing chaps. As for sleepiness, itis one of the noblest qualities of humanity. There is something sociable about it, too. Think of those sensible & sociable millions of good fellows all taking a good long friendly snooze together, under the sod--no quarrels, no imaginary grievances, no envies, heart-burnings, & thinking how much better that other chap is off--none of this: but all equally free-&-easy, they sleep away & reel off their nine knots an hour, in perfect amity.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

No mercy, no power but its own controls it. Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean overruns the globe.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

What plays the mischief with the truth is that men will insist upon the universal application of a temporary feeling or opinion.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Surely no mere mortal who has at all gone down into himself will ever pretend that his slightest thought or act solely originates in his own defined identity.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

It is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realise the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

In our man-of-war world, Life comes in at one gangway and Death goes overboard at the other. Under the man-of-war scourge, cursesmix with tears; and the sigh and the sob furnish the bass to the shrill octave of those who laugh to drown buried griefs of their own.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

As a man-of-war that sails through the sea, so this earth that sails through the air. We mortals are all on board a fast-sailing,never-sinking world-frigate, of which God was the shipwright; and she is but one craft in a Milky-Way fleet, of which God is the Lord High Admiral.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Herman Melville

To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

When beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

Poor fish of Rodondo! in your victimized confidence, you are of the number of those who inconsiderately trust, while they do not understand, human nature.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

All things that God would have us do are hard for us to do--remember that--and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavours to persuade.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

A good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

And yet self-knowledge is thought by some not so easy. Who knows, my dear sir, but for a time you may have taken yourself for somebody else? Stranger things have happened.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herman Melville

Those of us who always abhorred slavery as an atheistical iniquity, gladly we join in the exulting chorus of humanity over its downfall.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Herman Melville

...in certain moods, no man can weigh this world without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Herman Melville

It is often to be observed, that as in digging for precious metals in the mines, much earthly rubbish has first to be troublesomely handled and thrown out ; so, in digging in one s soul for the fine gold of genius, much dulness and common-place is first brought to light. Happy would it be, if the man possessed in himself some receptacle for his own rubbish of this sort: but he is like the occupant of a dwelling, whose refuse cannot be clapped into his own cellar, but must be deposited in the street before his own door, for the public functionaries to take care of.