Herman Melville Quotes

Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 29, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
On the threshold of any wholly new and momentous devoted enterprise, the thousand ulterior intricacies and emperilings to which it must conduct; these, at the outset, are mostly withheld from sight.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. X, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
The grand principles of virtue and honor, however they may be distorted by arbitrary codes, are the same the world over: and where these principles are concerned, the right or wrong of any action appears the same to the uncultivated as to the enlightened mind.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 27, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
Our souls belong to our bodies, not our bodies to our souls.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Babbalanja, in Mardi: and a Voyage Thither, ch. 155 (1849).
Pyramids still loom before me—something vast, indefinite, incomprehensible, and awful.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. journal, Jan. 3, 1857. Journals, vol. 15, The Writings of Herman Melville, eds. Howard C. Horsford and Lynn Horth (1989).
What man who carries a heavenly soul in him, has not groaned to perceive, that unless he committed a sort of suicide as to the practical things of this world, he never can hope to regulate his earthly conduct by that same heavenly soul?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XIV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971). Written by Plotinus Plinlimmon, in a pamphlet.
Strange, how the coolest valour may go along with a hot brain-pan.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Major Gentian and Colonel J. Bunkum" (posthumous), p. 376, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Referring to Colonel Bunkum.
That mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true—not true, or undeveloped.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 96, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
Stripped of the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden,—what a sorry set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear!
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 25, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).
When the passage "All men are born free and equal," when that passage was being written were not some of the signers legalised owners of slaves?
Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Major Gentian and Colonel J. Bunkum" (posthumous), p. 374, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Spoken by Colonel Bunkum about the Declaration of Independence.