Quotations by Herman Melville

52 Found
Displaying 1 through 50


Born: Sunday, August 1, 1819
Died: Monday, September 28, 1891 (72 years old)
Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American


A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Man, Words)

A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Smile)

A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: College)

Art is the objectification of feeling.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Art, Feeling)

At sea a fellow comes out. Salt water is like wine, in that respect.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Respect, Sea, Water, Wine)

Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Christian, Sleep)

Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Christian, Sleep)

Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Faith, Hope)

Friendship at first sight, like love at first sight, is said to be the only truth.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Friendship, Love, Truth, First, Sight)

He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Heart, Hate, Race)

He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Man)

Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Heaven, Mercy)

Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Soul, Hope, Eternity, Struggle)

I am, as I am; whether hideous, or handsome, depends upon who is made judge.
- Herman Melville

In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Travel, Virtue, Sin, World)

Is there some principal of nature which states that we never know the quality of what we have until it is gone?
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Nature, Quality, states)

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Imitation, Originality, Succeed)

It is impossible to talk or to write without apparently throwing oneself helplessly open.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Open, Talk)

It is not down in any map; true places never are.
- Herman Melville

Know, thou, that the lines that live are turned out of a furrowed brow.
- Herman Melville

Let America first praise mediocrity even, in her children, before she praises... the best excellence in the children of any other land.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: America, Children, Excellence, First, Land, Mediocrity, Praise)

Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses, - for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it - not in a set way and ostentatiously, though, but incidentally and without premeditation.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Strength, Faults)

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
(Keywords: Age, Death, Life, Man, Old)

Some dying men are the most tyrannical; and certainly, since they will shortly trouble us so little for evermore, the poor fellows ought to be indulged.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Men, Dying, Poor, Trouble, Will)

The march of conquest through wild provinces, may be the march of Mind; but not the march of Love.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Love, Conquest, March, May, Mind)

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes his whole universe for a vast practical joke.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Life, Man, Universe)

There are hardly five critics in America; and several of them are asleep.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: America)

There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.
- Herman Melville

There are some persons in this world, who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Being, Delight, Mankind, Proof, World)

There are times when even the most potent governor must wink at transgression, in order to preserve the laws inviolate for the future.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Future, Laws, Order)

There is a touch of divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should forever exempt him from indignities.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Divinity)

There is all of the difference in the world between paying and being paid.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Being, Difference, World)

There is no dignity in wickedness, whether in purple or rags; and hell is a democracy of devils, where all are equals.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Democracy, Dignity, Hell, Wickedness)

There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Quality, Contrast, Nothing, World)

There is nothing namable but that some men will, or undertake to, do it for pay.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Men, Nothing, Will)

There is one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Soul, Mystery, Sea)

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
(Keywords: Deep, Help, Man, Want, Wrong)

There is sorrow in the world, but goodness too; and goodness that is not greenness, either, no more than sorrow is.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Goodness, Sorrow, World)

They talk of the dignity of work. The dignity is in leisure.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Work, Dignity, Leisure, Talk)

To be called one thing, is oftentimes to be another.
- Herman Melville

To be hated cordially, is only a left-handed compliment.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Compliment)

To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Art, Work, Wisdom, Living, Old)

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it.
- Herman Melville

To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Heart, Hate, Hell)

Toil is man's allotment; toil of brain, or toil of hands, or a grief that's more than either, the grief and sin of idleness.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Grief, Idleness, Man, Sin)

Truth is in things, and not in words.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Truth, Words)

Truth is the silliest thing under the sun. Try to get a living by the Truth and go to the Soup Societies. Heavens! Let any clergyman try to preach the Truth from its very stronghold, the pulpit, and they would ride him out of his church on his own pulpit bannister.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Truth, Church, Living, Sun)

Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Truth, Will)

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Men)

Whatever fortune brings, don't be afraid of doing things.
- Herman Melville
(Keywords: Fortune)



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