Herman Melville Quotes

That hour in the life of a man when first the help of humanity fails him, and he learns that in his obscurity and indigence humanity holds him a dog and no man: that hour is a hard one, but not the hardest. There is still another hour which follows, when he learns that in his infinite comparative minuteness and abjectness, the gods do likewise despise him, and own him not of their clan.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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Any appellative at all savouring of arbitrary rank is unsuitable to a man of liberal and catholic mind.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "The Marquis de Grandvin" (posthumous), p. 348, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924).
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It is hard to be finite upon an infinite subject, and all subjects are infinite.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Hawthorne and His Mosses" (1850), 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).
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Warmest climes but nurse the cruelest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. Skies the most effulgent but basket the deadliest thunders: gorgeous Cuba knows tornadoes that never swept tame northern lands.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick, ch. 119 (1851).
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That nameless and infinitely delicate aroma of inexpressible tenderness and attentiveness which, in every refined and honorable attachment, is contemporary with the courtship, and precedes the final banns and the rite; but which, like the bouquet of the costliest German wines, too often evaporates upon pouring love out to drink, in the disenchanting glasses of the matrimonial days and nights.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. I, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius' crater for an inkstand!
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. The narrator (Ishmael), in Moby-Dick, ch. 104 (1851).
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The names of all fine authors are fictitious ones, far more so than that of Junius,—simply standing, as they do, for the mystical, ever-eluding Spirit of all Beauty, which ubiquitously possesses men of genius.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Hawthorne and His Mosses" (1850), 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).
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How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg—a cosy, loving pair.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick, ch. 10 (1851).
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Those Three Weird Ones, that tend Life's loom.
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).
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Bachelors alone can travel freely, and without any twinges of their consciences touching desertion of the fire-side.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids" (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).
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