Herman Melville Quotes

If the gods think to speak outright to man, they will honorably speak outright; not shake their heads, and give an old wives' darkling hint.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 133, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Spoken by Captain Ahab, about omens.
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Whenever we discover a dislike in us, toward any one, we should ever be a little suspicious of ourselves.
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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There is something in us, somehow, that, in the most degraded condition, we snatch at a chance to deceive ourselves into a fancied superiority to others, whom we suppose lower in the scale than ourselves.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 67, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969). Referring to black and white people.
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the negro Babo took by succession each Spaniard forward, and asked him whose skeleton that was, and whether, from its whiteness, he should not think it a white's.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Benito Cereno" (1855), 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). Describing a speech by a leader of revolted slaves.
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Know, thou, that the lines that live are turned out of a furrowed brow.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 180, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher, about poetry.
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"Ego non baptizo te in nomine patris, sed in nomine diaboli!" deliriously howled Ahab, as the malignant iron scorchingly devoured the baptismal blood.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Ahab to his harpoon ("I baptize thee, not in the name of the father, but in the name of the devil."
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The scene of suffering is a scene of joy when the suffering is past; and the silent reminiscence of hardships departed, is sweeter than the presence of delight.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Redburn (1849), ch. 60, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 4, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
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He who goes oftenest round Cape Horn goes the most circumspectly.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 24, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
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"what has cast such a shadow upon you" "The negro."
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Benito Cereno" (1855), 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). First Amasa Delano, then Benito Cereno.
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The shadows of things are greater than themselves; and the more exaggerated the shadow, the more unlike the substance.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 117, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher.
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