Herman Melville Quotes

Is it possible, after all, that spite of bricks and shaven faces, this world we live in is brimmed with wonders, and I and all mankind, beneath our garbs of common-placeness, conceal enigmas that the stars themselves, and perhaps the highest seraphim can not resolve?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. VII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
His memory is like wares at the auction—going, going, and anon it will be gone.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Jack Gentian" (posthumous), p. 371, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Spoken by "a young Croesus" about Jack Gentian.
The incompetence of mere unaided virtue or right-mindedness ...
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 41, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Referring to Starbuck.
Oh, men are jailers all; jailers of themselves; and in Opinion's world ignorantly hold their noblest part a captive to their vilest.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. V, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971). Spoken by Pierre.
tea, a decoction that enlarges the spleen and warpest the brain, or lightly floating the spirit for a while at last lands it in a dry place.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Jack Gentian" (posthumous), p. 372, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924).
The world's a ship on its voyage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 8, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
Oh! mock not the poniarded heart. The stabbed man knows the steel; prate not to him that it is only a ticking feather.
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).
The remnant of Indians thereabout—all but exterminated in their recent and final war with regular white troops, a war waged by the Red Men for their native soil and natural rights—had been coerced into the occupancy of wilds not far beyond the Mississippi.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "John Marr." John Marr (1888), p. 162, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947).
Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 41, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
The sweetest joys of life grow in the very jaws of its perils.
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).