Herman Melville Quotes

Herman Melville Quotes

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.

A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things.

Were I the wind, I'd blow no more on such a wicked, miserable world.

Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.

But vain to popularize profundities, and all truth is profound.

So, when on one side you hoist in Locke's head, you go over that way; but now, on the other side, hoist in Kant's and you come back again; but in very poor plight. Thus, some minds for ever keep trimming boat. Oh, ye foolish! throw all these thunder-heads overboard, and then you will float light and right.

Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee, as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.

Ah, happiness courts the light so we deem the world is gay. But misery hides aloof so we deem that misery there is none.

Strangest problems of life seem clearing; but clouds sweep between-Is my journey’s end coming?

Ignorance is the parent of fear.

Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.

The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here essayed.

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

[T]hen all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.

An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless
An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea.

The reason the mass of men fear God, and at bottom dislike Him, is because they rather distrust His heart, and fancy Him all brain like a watch.

The fiendlike skill we display in the invention of all manner of death-dealing engines, the vindictiveness with which we carry on our wars, and the misery and desolation that follow in their train, are enough of themselves to distinguish the white civilized man as the most ferocious animal on the face of the earth.

To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain.

[T]here is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.

I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must not for that very reason infallibly be faulty.

…for it is often to be observed of the shallower men, that they are the very last to despond. It is the glory of the bladder that nothing can sink it; it is the reproach of a box of treasure, that once overboard it must drown

Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore.

There is all the different in the world between paying and being paid.

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