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September 17, 2017

Quotations by Herman Melville


HERMAN MELVILLE, A 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN NOVELIST, POET AND WRITER OF SHORT STORY, WHO IS REMEMBERED MOSTLY FOR HIS NOVEL MOBY-DICK.

“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, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“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, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

 “It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“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 who have tried it.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Ah, happiness courts the light so we deem the world is gay. But misery hides aloof so we deem that misery there is none.”
~ Herman Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener

“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure..... Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle , and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

 “A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.”
~ Herman Melville, Pierre: or, the Ambiguities

 “Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Book! You lie there; the fact is, you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Ignorance is the parent of fear.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“...there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale
“...and 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, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“...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, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.”
~ Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor

“All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar. ”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“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, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“For in tremendous extremities human souls are like drowning men; well enough they know they are in peril; well enough they know the causes of that peril;--nevertheless, the sea is the sea, and these drowning men do drown.”
~ Herman Melville, Pierre or the Ambiguities

“…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”
~ Herman Melville, Pierre: or, the Ambiguities

“In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Doesn't the devil live forever; who ever heard that the devil was dead? Did you ever see any person wearing mourning for the devil?”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

“Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale
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