41 Most Famous Herman Melville Quotes

41 Most Famous Herman Melville Quotes

by / Comments Off / 107 View / Jan 7, 2015

Herman Melville was a writer and poet from the Renaissance. He was born in New York City and began writing in 1846. He is most famous for his classic novel Moby-Dick which was published in 1851. He died on September 28, 1891 at the age of 72.

“A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.”

“All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of
its features from behind the unreasoning mask.”

“Appreciation! Recognition! Is love appreciated? Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory — the world? Then we pigmies must be content to have our paper
allegories but ill comprehended.”

“Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease.”

“Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”

“But are sailors, frequenters of fiddlers’ greens, without vices?”

“But I shall follow the endless, winding way, — the flowing river in the cave of man; careless whither I be led, reckless where I land.”

“Dolt & ass that I am I have lived more than 29 years, & until a few days ago, never made close acquaintance with the divine William. Ah, he’s full of sermons-on-the-mount, and gentle, aye,
almost as Jesus. I take such men to be inspired”

“I do not oscillate in Emerson’s rainbow, but prefer rather to hang myself in mine own halter than swing in any other man’s swing. Yet I think Emerson is more than a brilliant fellow.”

“I had now been on board the frigate upward of a year, and remained unscourged; the ship was homeward-bound, and in a few weeks, at most, I would be a free man. ”

“I hold it a verity, that even Shakspeare, was not a frank man to the uttermost. And, indeed, who in this intolerant universe is, or can be? But the Declaration of Independence makes a

“I would to God Shakspeare had lived later, & promenaded in Broadway.”

“If some books are deemed most baneful and their sale forbid, how, then, with deadlier facts, not dreams of doting men? Those whom books will hurt will not be proof against events. Events,
not books, should be forbid.”

“Immortality is but ubiquity in time.”

“In armies, navies, cities, or families, in nature herself, nothing more relaxes good order than misery.”

“In time of peril, like the needle to the loadstone, obedience, irrespective of rank, generally flies to him who is best fitted to command.”

“In war-time on the field or in the fleet, a mortal punishment decreed by a drum-head court — on the field sometimes decreed by but a nod from the General — follows without delay on the heel
of conviction without appeal.”

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

“It was not a very white jacket, but white enough, in all conscience, as the sequel will show.”

“Leviathan is not the biggest fish; — I have heard of Krakens.”

“Many sensible things banished from high life find an asylum among the mob.”

“Nature has not implanted any power in man that was not meant to be exercised at times, though too often our powers have been abused. ”

“Nature is nobody’s ally.”

“Not one man in five cycles, who is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows, or any one of them.”

“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”

“Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.”

“One trembles to think of that mysterious thing in the soul, which seems to acknowledge no human jurisdiction, but in spite of the individual’s own innocent self, will still dream horrid
dreams, and mutter unmentionable thoughts.”

“Silence is the general consecration of the universe. Silence is the invisible laying on of the Divine Pontiff’s hands upon the world. Silence is at once the most harmless and the most awful
thing in all nature. It speaks of the Reserved Forces of Fate. Silence is the only Voice of our God.”

“Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet the angel must hang!”

“The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth? — Because one did survive the wreck.”

“The easiest way of life is the best.”

“The worst of our evils we blindly inflict upon ourselves; our officers cannot remove them, even if they would. ”

“These are the last resources of an insulted and unendurable existence.”

“Thou wine art the friend of the friendless, though a foe to all.”

“Thus it often is, that the constant friction of illiberal minds wears out at last the best resolves of the more generous.”

“Truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.”

“War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character.”

“We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people — the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.”

“Would that all excellent books were foundlings, without father or mother, that so it might be, we could glorify them, without including their ostensible authors.”

“You must have plenty of sea-room to tell the truth in.”

“Youth is the time when hearts are large.”