Herman Melville Quotes

One night, under cover of darkness, and further concealed in a most cunning disguisement, a desperate burglar slid into his happy home, and robbed them all of everything. And darker yet to tell, the blacksmith himself did ignorantly conduct this burglar into his family's heart. It was the Bottle Conjurer! Upon the opening of that fatal cork, forth flew the fiend, and shrivelled up his home.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 112, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Referring to the ship's blacksmith.
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We may have civilized bodies and yet barbarous souls. We are blind to the real sights of this world; deaf to its voice; and dead to its death. And not till we know, that one grief outweighs ten thousand joys will we become what Christianity is striving to make us.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn, ch. 58 (1849).
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Though an unpleasant sort of person, and even a queer threatener withal, yet, if one meets him, one must get along with him as one can; for his ignorance is extreme. And what under heaven indeed should such a phantasm as Death know, for all that the Appearance tacitly claims to be somebody that knows much?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Rip Van Winkle's Lilac." "Weeds and Wildings" (posthumous), p. 290, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947). Referring to death.
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There seems no reason why patriotism and narrowness should go together, or why intellectual fairmindedness should be confounded with political trimming, or why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Supplement." "Battle-Pieces" (1866), p. 461, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947). Referring to political debate.
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To be called one thing, is oftentimes to be another.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 89, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
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Look not too long in the face of the fire, O man! Never dream with thy hand on the helm! Turn not they back to the compass; accept the first hint of the hitching tiller; believe not the artificial fire, when its redness makes all things look ghastly.
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). Spoken of the try-works at night.
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Ladies are like creeds; if you cannot speak well of them, say nothing.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 51, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
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We should, if possible, prove a teacher to posterity, instead of being the pupil of by-gone generations. More shall come after us than have gone before; the world is not yet middle-aged.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 36, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
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Those of us who always abhorred slavery as an atheistical iniquity, gladly we join in the exulting chorus of humanity over its downfall.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Supplement." "Battle-Pieces" (1866), p. 465, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947).
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The knave of a thousand years ago seems a fine old fellow full of spirit and fun, little malice in his soul; whereas, the knave of to-day seems a sour-visaged wight, with nothing to redeem him.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 89, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Mohi, the historian.
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