Herman Melville Quotes

The great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 26, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
(0) (0)
What man who carries a heavenly soul in him, has not groaned to perceive, that unless he committed a sort of suicide as to the practical things of this world, he never can hope to regulate his earthly conduct by that same heavenly soul?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XIV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971). Written by Plotinus Plinlimmon, in a pamphlet.
(0) (0)
The voluptuous Indian, with every desire supplied, whom Providence has bountifully provided with all the sources of pure and natural enjoyment, and from whom are removed so many of the ills and pains of life—what has he to desire at the hands of Civilization? She may "cultivate his mind,"Mmay "elevate his thoughts,"Mthese I believe are the established phrases—but will he be the happier? Let the once smiling and populous Hawaiian islands, with their now diseased, starving, and dying natives, answer the question.
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).
(0) (0)
"He's asleep, ain't he?" "With kings and counsellors," murmured I.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Bartleby" (1853), 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). An exchange prompted by Bartleby's death.
(0) (0)
Strange, how the coolest valour may go along with a hot brain-pan.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Major Gentian and Colonel J. Bunkum" (posthumous), p. 376, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Referring to Colonel Bunkum.
(0) (0)
That mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true—not true, or undeveloped.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 96, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
(0) (0)
Love's secrets, being mysteries, ever pertain to the transcendent and the infinite; and so they are as airy bridges, by which our further shadows pass over into the regions of the golden mists and exhalations; whence all poetical, lovely thoughts are engendered, and drop into us, as though pearls should drop from rainbows.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. IV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
(0) (0)
Stripped of the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden,—what a sorry set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear!
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 25, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
(0) (0)
Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Bartleby" (1853), 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). Summing up Bartleby's life and death.
(0) (0)
When the passage "All men are born free and equal," when that passage was being written were not some of the signers legalised owners of slaves?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Major Gentian and Colonel J. Bunkum" (posthumous), p. 374, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Spoken by Colonel Bunkum about the Declaration of Independence.
(0) (0)