Herman Melville Quotes

Here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 9, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Spoken by Father Mapple.
(0) (0)
I saw a ship of martial build (Her standards set, her brave apparel on) Directed as by madness mere Against a stolid iceberg steer, Nor budge it, though the infatuate ship went down.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. poet, novelist. The Berg (l. 1-5). ATCBP. Selected Poems of Herman Melville. Hennig Cohen, ed. (1991) Fordham University Press.
(0) (0)
Oh, give me again the rover's life—the joy, the thrill, the whirl! Let me feel thee again, old sea! let me leap into thy saddle once more. I am sick of these terra firma toils and cares; sick of the dust and reek of towns.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket (1850), ch. 19, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
(0) (0)
Oh! thou clear spirit of clear fire, whom on these seas I as Persian once did worship, till in the sacramental act so burned by thee, that to this hour I bear the scar; I now know thee, thou clear spirit, and I now know that thy right worship is defiance. To neither love nor reverence wilt thou be kind; and e'en for hate thou canst but kill; and all are killed. No fearless fool now fronts thee.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Captain Ahab, in Moby Dick, ch. 119 (1851).
(0) (0)
After many centuries, those crescents yet unwaning shine, and count a devotee for every worshiper of yonder crosses. Truth and Merit have other symbols than success.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 168, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher, about the Christian and Muslim faiths.
(0) (0)
However baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 58, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
(0) (0)
Adrift dissolving, bound for death; Though lumpish thou, a lumbering one— A lumbering lubbard loitering slow, Impingers rue thee and go down, Sounding thy precipice below, Nor stir the slimy slug that sprawls Along thy dead indifference of walls.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. poet, novelist. The Berg (l. 31-37). . . Selected Poems of Herman Melville. Hennig Cohen, ed. (1991) Fordham University Press.
(0) (0)
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.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. White-Jacket "The End" (1850), The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 5, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1969).
(0) (0)
There is something wrong about the man who wants help. There is somewhere a deep defect, a want, in brief, a need, a crying need, somewhere about that man.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Charlie Noble, in The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, ch. 39 (1857). To Frank Goodman, who had asked Noble for a loan and assistance.
(0) (0)
Are twelve wise men more wise than one? or will twelve fools, put together, make one sage? Are twelve honest men more honest than one?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 60, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970). Spoken by King Media about juries.
(0) (0)