Herman Melville Quotes

There is no faith, and no stoicism, and no philosophy, that a mortal man can possibly evoke, which will stand the final test of a real impassioned onset of Life and Passion upon him. Then all the fair philosophic or Faith-phantoms that he raised from the mist, slide away and disappear as ghosts at cock-crow. For Faith and philosophy are air, but events are brass. Amidst his gray philosophizings, Life breaks in upon a man like a morning.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXI, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Letter, April 16, 1851, to Hawthorne. The Letters of Herman Melville, eds. Merrell R. Davis and William H Gilman (1960). Melville added, "For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,—why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unencumbered travelers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet bag."
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Traveling takes the ink out of one's pen as well as the cash out of one's purse.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. letter, Dec. 2, 1849, to Evert A. Duyckinck. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
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Deeper and deeper into Time's endless tunnel, does the winged soul, like a night-hawk, wend her wild way; and finds eternities before and behind; and her last limit is her everlasting beginning.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 75, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
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There is nothing so slipperily alluring as sadness; we become sad in the first place by having nothing stirring to do; we continue in it, because we have found a snug sofa at last.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XVIII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory—the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have our paper allegories but ill comprehended.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Letter, November 17, 1851, to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Letters of Herman Melville, eds. Merrell R. Davis and William H. Gilman (1960).
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Of all human events, perhaps, the publication of a first volume of verses is the most insignificant; but though a matter of no moment to the world, it is still of some concern to the author.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Letter, May 22, 1860, to his brother, Allan Melville. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth (1993).
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In childhood, death stirred me not; in middle age, it pursued me like a prowling bandit on the road; now, grown an old man, it boldly leads the way, and ushers me on.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 185, 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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All round and round does the world lie as in a sharp-shooter's ambush, to pick off the beautiful illusions of youth, by the pitiless cracking rifles of the realities of age.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
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