Famous Quotes & Sayings

Herman Melville Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Herman Melville.

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Herman Melville Quotes 1415026

Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1384554

What could be more full of meaning? - for the pulpit is ever this earth's foremost part; all the rest come in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 223072

Such dreary streets! blocks of blackness, not houses, on either hand, and here and there a candle, like a candle moving about in a tomb. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1771873

Time itself now held long breaths with keen suspense. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1751398

At length I fell asleep, with the volume in my hand; and never slept so sound before — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1015963

Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me, and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-labourers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally, as much as to say, - Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill humour or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 294474

Let America add Mexico to Texas, and pile Cuba upon Canada; let the English overswarm all India, and hang out their blazing banner from the sun; two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's. For the sea is his; he owns it. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1861979

They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1972267

Thus we see how that the spine of even the hugest of living things tapers off at last into simple child's play. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 828086

Time is made up of various ages; and each thinks its own a novelty. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1835819

It does seem to me, that herein we see the rare virtue of a strong individual vitality, and the rare virtue of thick walls, and the rare virtue of interior spaciousness. Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 173455

Evil is the chronic malady of the universe, and checked in one place, breaks forth in another. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 665432

In some things, we Americans leave to other countries the carrying out of the principle that stands at the head of our Declaration of Independence. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 128880

Climate of Egypt in winter is the reign of spring upon earth, & summer in the air, and tranquility in the heat. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 378624

One trembles to think of that mysterious thing in the soul, which seems to acknowledge no human jurisdiction, but in spite of the individual's own innocence self, will still dream horrid dreams, and mutter unmentionable thoughts. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2253301

Oh! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; who standing among flowers can say - here, HERE lies my beloved; ye know not the desolation that broods in bosoms like these. What bitter blanks in those black-bordered marbles which cover no ashes! What despair in those immovable inscriptions! What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave. As well might those tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1216578

Glimpses do you seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?
But as in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God
so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing
straight up, leaps thy apotheosis! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1943829

*The ancient whale-cry upon first sighting a whale from the mast-head, still used by whalemen in hunting the famous Gallipagos terrapin. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2100216

My means are sane, my motives and my object mad. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2260703

for immortality is but ubiquity in time — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1044995

And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 540340

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. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1970380

The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition! Finally, — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1725303

Perseus, St. George, Hercules, Jonah, and Vishnoo! there's a member-roll for you! What club but the whaleman's can head off like that? — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1603363

War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1320234

In an instant's compass, great hearts sometimes condense to one deep pang, the sum total of those shallow pains kindly diffused through feebler men's whole lives. And so, such hearts, though summary in each one suffering; still, if the gods decree it, in their lifetime aggregate a whole age of woe, wholly made up of instantaneous intensities; for even in their pointless centres, those noble natures contain the entire circumferences of inferior souls. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 570728

Indeed, it was his wonderful mildness chiefly, which not only disarmed me, but unmanned me, as it were. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 638277

Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius crater for an inkstand! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2180788

What business have I with this pipe? This thing that is meant for sereneness, to send up mild white vapors among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine. I'll smoke no more. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2015530

There is all the different in the world between paying and being paid. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 815094

Throwing aside the counterpane, there lay the tomahawk sleeping by the savage's side, as if it were a hatchet-faced baby. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 837936

But the past is passed; why moralize upon it? Forget it. See, yon bright son has forgotten it all, and the blue sea, and the blue sky; these have turned over new leaves.
Because they have no memory ... because they are not human. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 388261

If in some cases a bit of a nautical Murat in setting forth his person ashore, the Handsome Sailor of the period in question evinced nothing of the dandified Billy-be-Dam, an amusing character all but extinct now, but occasionally to be encountered, and in a form yet more amusing than the original, at the tiller of the boats on the tempestuous Erie Canal or, more likely, vaporing in the groggeries along the towpath. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1271091

Not so much thy skill, then, O hunter, as the great necessities that strike the victory to thee! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 791871

And how nobly it raises our conceit of the mighty, misty monster, to behold him solemnly sailing through a calm tropical sea; his vast, mild head overhung by a canopy of vapor, engendered by his incommunicable contemplations, and that vapor- as you will sometimes see it- glorified by a rainbow, as if Heaven itself had put its seal upon his thoughts. For d'ye see, rainbows do not visit the clear air; they only irradiate vapor. And so, through all the thick mists of the dim doubts in my mind, divine intuitions now and then shoot, enkindling my fog with a heavenly ray. And for this I thank God; for all have doubts; many deny; but doubts or denials, few along with them, have intuitions. 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

Herman Melville Quotes 105775

Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 114826

The warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed, overflowing, redundant days, were as crystal goblets of Persian sherbet, heaped up - flaked up, with rose-water snow. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 162444

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

Herman Melville Quotes 190166

1
These have been corrected in this EPUB3 edition. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 190950

We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 240871

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. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 267096

I do not know where I can find a better place than just here, to make mention of one or two other things, which to me seem important, as in printed form establishing in all respects the reasonableness of the whole story of the White Whale, more especially the catastrophe. For this is one of those disheartening instances where truth requires full as much bolstering as error. So ignorant are most landsmen of some of the plainest and most palpable wonders of the world, that without some hints touching the plain facts, historical and otherwise, of the fishery, they might scout at Moby Dick as a monstrous fable, or still worse and more detestable, a hideous and intolerable allegory. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 318035

Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is - which was the only way he could get there - thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surely his was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be a true philosopher, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have 'broken his digester. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 332589

Aside from higher considerations, charity often operates as a vastly wise and prudent principle-a great safeguard to its possessor. Men have committed murder for jealousy's sake, and anger's sake, and hatred's sake, and selfishness' sake, and spiritual pride's sake; but no man that ever I heard of, ever committed a diabolical murder for sweet charity's sake. Mere self-interest, then, if no better motive can be enlisted, should, especially with high-tempered men, prompt all beings to charity and philanthropy. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 336653

Men have committed murder for jealousy's sake, and anger's sake, and hatred's sake, and selfishness' sake, and spiritual pride's sake; but no man that ever I heard of, ever committed a diabolical murder for sweet charity's sake. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 367556

How often is the term 'savages' incorrectly applied! None really deserving of it were ever yet discovered by voyagers or by travellers. They have discovered heathens and barbarians whom by horrible cruelties they have exasperated into savages. It may be asserted without fear of contradictions that in all the cases of outrages committed by Polynesians, Europeans have at some time or other been the aggressors, and that the cruel and bloodthirsty disposition of some of the islanders is mainly to be ascribed to the influence of such examples. But — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 396411

Thou wine art the friend of the friendless, though a foe to all. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 418710

Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 429937

All deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 447749

As in digging for precious metals in the mines, much earthy rubbish has first to be troublesomely handled and thrown out; so, in digging in one's soul for the fine gold of genius, much dullness and common-place is first brought to light. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 532067

Not one man in five cycles, who is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows, or any one of them. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 539760

To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 588634

Hope proves a man deathless. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 770428

Bowing over still further his chronically broken back, he toiled away, as if toil were life itself, and the heavy beating of his hammer the heavy beating of his heart. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 823362

an eight day clock. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 873640

When a companion's heart of itself overflows, the best one can do is to do nothing. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 896419

Reality outran apprehension; Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 947081

Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 960072

So seemed it to me, as I stood at her helm, and for long hours silently guided the way of this fire-ship on the sea. Wrapped, for that interval, in darkness myself, I but the better saw the redness, the madness, the ghastliness of others. The continual sight of the fiend shapes before me, capering half in smoke and half in fire, these at last begat kindred visions in my soul, so soon as I began to yield to that unaccountable drowsiness which ever would come over me at a midnight helm. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 971316

Of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are the most apt to get out of order. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 985738

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. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1095087

So, when on one side you hoist in Locke's head, you go over that way; but now, on the other side, hoist in Kant's and you come back again; but in very poor plight. Thus, some minds for ever keep trimming boat. Oh, ye foolish! throw all these thunder-heads overboard, and then you will float light and right. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1153826

Toil is man's allotment; toil of brain, or toil of hands, or a grief that's more than either, the grief and sin of idleness. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1224069

I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious obligations, never mind how comical, — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1288527

A whale would sell for thirty times what you would, Pip, in Alabama. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1301978

In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows of angels in paradise, each with his hands in a jar of spermaceti. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1307659

What is an atheist, but one who does not, or will not, see in the universe a ruling principle of love; and what a misanthrope, but one who does not, or will not, see in man a ruling principle of kindness? — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1394795

Gradually I slid into the persuasion that these troubles of mine touching the scrivener, had been all predestinated from eternity, and Bartleby was billeted upon me for some mysterious purpose of an all-wise Providence, which it was not for a mere mortal like me to fathom. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1545787

Because a laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to all that's queer; and come what will, one comfort's always left - that unfailing comfort is, it's all predestinated. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1558355

Best followed now is this life, by hurrying, like itself, to a close.
Few things remain.
He was repulsed in efforts after a pension by certain caprices of law. His scars proved his only medals. He dictated a little book, the record of his fortunes. But long ago it faded out of print--himself out of being--his name out of memory. He died the same day that the oldest oak on his native hills was blown down. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1563090

What he ate did not so much relieve his hunger, as keep it immortal in him. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1602778

Hast seen the white whale? — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1604692

[T]hen all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1613179

Students of history are horror-struck at the massacres of old; but in the shambles, men are being murdered to-day. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1648254

The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Everything was mute and calm; everything gray. The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter's mould. The sky seemed a gray surtout. Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1660912

Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1691122

Ignorance is the parent of fear. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1691643

There is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1730279

In their precise tracings-out and subtle causations, the strongest and fieriest emotions of life defy all analytical insight. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1763188

That before living agent, now became the living instrument. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1800841

Slowly it floats more and more away, — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1825117

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. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1827567

I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1858767

The Navy is the asylum for the perverse, the home of the unfortunate. Here the sons of adversity meet the children of calamity, and here the children of calamity meet the offspring of sin. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1866586

It is upon record, that three centuries ago the tongue of the Right Whale was esteemed a great delicacy in France, and commanded large prices there. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1915105

might be; and by this difference in the concluding blow producing a corresponding contrast in the final aspect of the completed fabric; this savage's sword, — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1946393

One would like to know, what were foes made for except to be used? — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 1995386

That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2028682

I say, White-Jacket, d'ye mind me? there never was a very great man yet who spent all his life inland. A snuff of the sea, my boy, is inspiration; and having been once out of sight of land, has been the making of many a true poet and the blasting of many pretenders; for, d'ye see, there's no gammon about the ocean; it knocks the false keel right off a pretender's bows; it tells him just what he is, and makes him feel it, too. A sailor's life, I say, is the thing to bring us mortals out. What does the blessed Bible say? Don't it say that we main-top-men alone see the marvellous sights and wonders? Don't deny the blessed Bible, now! don't do it! How it rocks up here, my boy!" holding on to a shroud; "but it only proves what I've been saying - the sea is the place to cradle genius! Heave and fall, old sea! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2052217

It stayed for a twelvemonth or more; when I gave him an emetic, and he heaved it up in small tacks, d'ye see. No possible way for him to digest that jack-knife, and fully incorporate it into his general bodily system. Yes, Captain Boomer, if you are quick enough about it, and have a mind to pawn one arm for the — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2066895

But the third Emir, now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-deck, seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe right over the Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the deck, reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music. But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask enters King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the Slave. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2077703

The dinner-hour is the summer of the day: full of sunshine, I grant; but not like the mellow autumn of supper. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2088300

Whatever fortune brings, don't be afraid of doing things. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2098882

Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet the angel must hang! — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2142412

Speaking of bones recalls an ugly custom of theirs, now obsolete - that of making fish-hooks and gimlets out of those of their enemies. This beats the Scandinavians turning people's skulls into cups and saucers. But — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2144672

If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die. True, you may say that, by exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances of life. But handle Queequeg's monkey-rope heedfully as I would, sometimes he jerked it so, that I came very near sliding overboard. Nor could I possibly forget that, do what I would, I only had the management of one end of it. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2166051

Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2183176

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. — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2198139

conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my — Herman Melville

Herman Melville Quotes 2213005

In this particular Billy was a striking instance that the arch interferer, the envious marplot of Eden, still has more or less to do with every human consignment to this planet of Earth. In every case, one way or another he is sure to slip in his little card, as much as to remind us - I too have a hand here. The — Herman Melville