Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

99 Top Quotes By Herman Melville, The Author Of Typee

Famous As: Novelist & Short Story Writer of the American Renaissance Period Best Known for His Works 'Moby-Dick' & 'Typee'
Born On: August 1, 1819
Died On: September 28, 1891
Born In: New York, New York, United States
Died At Age: 72

Herman Melville was one of the greatest American writers and poets of the American Renaissance period. Tragically, most of the recognition that Melville today is showered upon came in after his life. He started his career as a sailor, later serving as a crew man in various vessels. It was his experience at sea that shaped much of his future career as a novelist and writer. The experience and adventure at sea formed the crux and gave a background for his debut book, ‘Typee’. His early success prompted him to write the novels, ‘Mardi’ and ‘Redburn’. He then came up with his masterpiece ‘Moby-Dick’. Although the novel failed commercially then, it is today considered as a work of sheer genius. Melville’s style was complex and baroque. His works are rich in vocabulary and have a strong sense of rhythm to them. Also, Melville in most of his works plays with imagery, creating allusion that extends to scripture, myth, philosophy, literature and the visual arts. His sheer genius can also be seen in his quotes that maps the emotional, physical and psychological existence of humans. He has written quotes on love, dignity, hope, democracy, success, failure, friendship, truth and so on. Read on to find some of the highly meaningful quotes by Herman Melville.  

Listed In:
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.

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

Herman Melville
I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.

Herman Melville
A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.

A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.

Herman Melville
I do not think I have any uncharitable prejudice against the rattlesnake, still, I should not like to be one.

I do not think I have any uncharitable prejudice against the rattlesnake, still, I should not like to be one.

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

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

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

It is not down on any map; true places never are.

Herman Melville
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.

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.

Herman Melville
As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.

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
I try all things, I achieve what I can.

I try all things, I achieve what I can.

Herman Melville
I would prefer not to.

I would prefer not to.

Herman Melville
Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.

Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.

Herman Melville
For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men

For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men

Herman Melville
...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.

...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
Call me Ishmael.

Call me Ishmael.

Herman Melville
Ignorance is the parent of fear.

Ignorance is the parent of fear.

Herman Melville
I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.

I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.

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

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

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.

...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
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.

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
Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.

Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.

Herman Melville
It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.

It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.

Herman Melville
Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.

Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.

Herman Melville
Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it, and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.

Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it, and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.

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

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

Herman Melville
A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.

A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.

Herman Melville
I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.

I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.

Herman Melville
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.

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
Beneath those stars is a universe of gliding monsters.

Beneath those stars is a universe of gliding monsters.

Herman Melville
We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.

We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.

Herman Melville
Whatever my fate, I'll go to it laughing.

Whatever my fate, I'll go to it laughing.

Herman Melville
Top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.

Top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.

Herman Melville
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.

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.

Herman Melville
In one word, Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.

In one word, Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.

Herman Melville
Truth is in things, and not in words.

Truth is in things, and not in words.

Herman Melville
I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.

I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.

Herman Melville
See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.

See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.

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

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
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.

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
I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself

I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself

Herman Melville
We cannibals must help these Christians.

We cannibals must help these Christians.

Herman Melville
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.

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
The Past is the textbook of tyrants; the Future is the Bible of the Free.

The Past is the textbook of tyrants; the Future is the Bible of the Free.

Herman Melville
There is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of man.

There is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of man.

Herman Melville
Let faith oust fact; let fancy oust memory; I look deep down and do believe.

Let faith oust fact; let fancy oust memory; I look deep down and do believe.

Herman Melville
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering 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.

Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering 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
For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's blood was spilled for it.

For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's blood was spilled for it.

Herman Melville
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.

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
Genius is full of trash.

Genius is full of trash.

Herman Melville
A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.

A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.

Herman Melville
Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

Herman Melville
I am past scorching; not easily can’st thou scorch a scar.

I am past scorching; not easily can’st thou scorch a scar.

Herman Melville
Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them.

Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them.

Herman Melville
Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.

Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.

Herman Melville
My body is but the lees of my better being.

My body is but the lees of my better being.

Herman Melville
All mortal greatness is but disease.

All mortal greatness is but disease.

Herman Melville
Ego non baptizo te in nomine patris, sed in nomine diaboli!

Ego non baptizo te in nomine patris, sed in nomine diaboli!

Herman Melville
Are not half our lives spent in reproaches for foregone actions, of the true nature and consequences of which we were wholly ignorant at the time?

Are not half our lives spent in reproaches for foregone actions, of the true nature and consequences of which we were wholly ignorant at the time?

Herman Melville
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?

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

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

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

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

Herman Melville
...hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling...

...hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling...

Herman Melville
To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain.

To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain.

Herman Melville
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.

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
In truth, a mature man who uses hair oil, unless medicinally, that man has probably got a quoggy spot in him somewhere.

In truth, a mature man who uses hair oil, unless medicinally, that man has probably got a quoggy spot in him somewhere.

Herman Melville
Ah, Humanity

Ah, Humanity

Herman Melville
You cannot hide the soul.

You cannot hide the soul.

Herman Melville
Madman! Look through my eyes if thou hast none of thine own.

Madman! Look through my eyes if thou hast none of thine own.

Herman Melville
And tell him to paint me a sign, with-

And tell him to paint me a sign, with-"no suicides permitted here, and no smoking in the parlor;" might as well kill both birds at once.

Herman Melville
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.

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.

Herman Melville
I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.

I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.

Herman Melville
The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails whereon my soul is grooved to run

The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails whereon my soul is grooved to run

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

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

Herman Melville
All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.

All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.

Herman Melville
A purse is but a rag unless you have something in it.

A purse is but a rag unless you have something in it.

Herman Melville
At length I fell asleep, with the volume in my hand; and never slept so sound before

At length I fell asleep, with the volume in my hand; and never slept so sound before

Herman Melville
Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs

Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs

Herman Melville
Is he mad? Anyway there's something on his mind, as sure as there must be something on a deck when it cracks.

Is he mad? Anyway there's something on his mind, as sure as there must be something on a deck when it cracks.

Herman Melville
Will you, or will you not, quit me?' I now demanded in a sudden passion, advancing close to him.
'I would prefer not to quit you', he replied, gently emphasizing the not.

Will you, or will you not, quit me?' I now demanded in a sudden passion, advancing close to him. 'I would prefer not to quit you', he replied, gently emphasizing the not.

Herman Melville
Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.

Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.

Herman Melville
Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything to say to this world, unless forced to stammer out something by way of getting a living. Oh! happy that the world is such an excellent listener!

Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything to say to this world, unless forced to stammer out something by way of getting a living. Oh! happy that the world is such an excellent listener!

Herman Melville
At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable,' was his mildly cadaverous reply.

At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable,' was his mildly cadaverous reply.

Herman Melville
There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!

There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!

Herman Melville
To be hated cordially is only a left-handed compliment

To be hated cordially is only a left-handed compliment

Herman Melville
But Captain Vere was now again motionless, standing absorbed in thought. Again starting, he vehemently exclaimed,

But Captain Vere was now again motionless, standing absorbed in thought. Again starting, he vehemently exclaimed, "Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet that angel must hang!

Herman Melville
Do not presume, well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed, to criticize the poor

Do not presume, well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed, to criticize the poor

Herman Melville
...what are the comprehensible terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God!

...what are the comprehensible terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God!

Herman Melville
For there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.

For there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.

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

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

Herman Melville
...the great floodgates of the wonder-world swung open...

...the great floodgates of the wonder-world swung open...

Herman Melville
And yet a child’s utter innocence is but its blank ignorance, and the innocence more or less wanes as intelligence waxes.

And yet a child’s utter innocence is but its blank ignorance, and the innocence more or less wanes as intelligence waxes.

Herman Melville
Money, you think, is the sole motive to pains and hazard, deception and devilry, in this world. How much money did the devil make by gulling Eve?

Money, you think, is the sole motive to pains and hazard, deception and devilry, in this world. How much money did the devil make by gulling Eve?

Herman Melville
And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.

And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.

Herman Melville
Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up.

Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up.

Herman Melville
Evil is the chronic malady of the universe, and checked in one place, breaks forth in another.

Evil is the chronic malady of the universe, and checked in one place, breaks forth in another.

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.

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
Art is the objectification of feeling

Art is the objectification of feeling

Herman Melville