What are the best Herman Melville quotes?

Accurate and famous quotes by Herman Melville about writing, sleep, way, philosophy, world. Herman Melville is well-known American novelist with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best Herman Melville sayings with your friends and family.


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


  2. He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great.


  3. Let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God.


  4. In our own hearts, we mold the whole world's hereafters; and in our own hearts we fashion our own gods.




  5. Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity.


  6. I would prefer not to.


  7. Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius crater for an inkstand!


  8. 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.


  9. For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books.


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


  11. It is not down in any map, true places never are.


  12. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.


  13. He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes.


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with others; and along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.


  17. I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of feeling.

    • humanity

  18. There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes. For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag,that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn them! they will never get through the Custom House.


  19. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain's exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without -- oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!


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


  21. Cannibals? Who is not a cannibal? I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgement, than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feastest on their bloated livers in thy pate de fois gras.


  22. How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg -- a cozy, loving pair.


  23. We may have civilized bodies and yet barbarous souls. We are blind to the real sights of this world; deaf to its voice; and dead to its death. And not till we know, that one grief outweighs ten thousand joys will we become what Christianity is striving to make us.


  24. Call me Ishmael.


  25. 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.


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


  27. People think that if a man has undergone any hardship, he should have a reward; but for my part, if I have done the hardest possible day's work, and then come to sit down in a corner and eat my supper comfortably --why, then I don't think I deserve any reward for my hard day's work --for am I not now at peace? Is not my supper good?


  28. A true military officer is in one particular like a true monk. Not with more self-abnegation will the latter keep his vows of monastic obedience than the former his vows of allegiance to martial duty.


  29. 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.


  30. 'I will have no man in my boat,' said Starbuck, 'who is not afraid of a whale.' By this, he seemed to mean not only that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.



Top 10 quotes by Herman Melville

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Herman Melville image quotes

What are the best Herman Melville images quotes? Read and bookmark finest sayings from Herman Melville, embed as quotes on beautiful images. Those images have writing quotes, sleep quotes, way quotes, philosophy quotes, world quotes.


  1. Picture quote by Herman Melville about creativity

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


That are top sayings from Herman Melville as picture quotes. Access more quotations by Herman Melville with images on Pinterest.

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About Herman Melville

Where is Herman Melville from? Herman Melville is American who said awesome wise words. Well-known and respected in American society for wise sayings. The following quotations and images represent the American nature embed in Herman Melville's character.

What Herman Melville was famous for? Herman Melville is famous novelist with many good quotes. Influential and well recognized novelist all over the world. Browse a lot of Herman Melville books and reference books with quotes from Herman Melville on Amazon.


What are the best writing quotes by Herman Melville?


    Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius crater for an inkstand!

    • authors

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

    • writing

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

    • writing

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What are the best sleep quotes by Herman Melville?


    Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

    • cannibal

    How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg -- a cozy, loving pair.

    • sleep

More sleep quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best way quotes by 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.


    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.

    • faults

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What are the best philosophy quotes by Herman Melville?


    Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory -- the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have out paper allegories but ill comprehended.


    Cannibals? Who is not a cannibal? I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgement, than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feastest on their bloated livers in thy pate de fois gras.

    • fiction

More philosophy quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best world quotes by 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.

    • freely

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

    • contrast

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More quotes by Herman Melville

Want some more good quotations by Herman Melville? Explore the rest of 55 sayings by Herman Melville.


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.


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.


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.

  • humanity

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.




Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory -- the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have out paper allegories but ill comprehended.

  • philosophy

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


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


So, cutting the lashing of the waterproof match keg, after many failures Starbuck contrived to ignite the lamp in the lantern; then stretching it on a waif pole, handed it to Queequeg as the standard-bearer of this forlorn hope. There, then, he sat, holding up that imbecile candle in the heart of that almighty forlornness. There, then, he sat, the sign and symbol of a man without faith, hopelessly holding up hope in the midst of despair.


They talk of the dignity of work. The dignity is in leisure.


We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.


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


Let America first praise mediocrity even, in her children, before she praises... the best excellence in the children of any other land.


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.


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.


The lightning flashes through my skull; mine eyeballs ache and ache; my whole beaten brain seems as beheaded, and rolling on some stunning ground.


I try all things, I achieve what I can.


The consciousness of being deemed dead, is next to the presumable unpleasantness of being so in reality. One feels like his own ghost unlawfully tenanting a defunct carcass.


Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.


For the first time in my life a feeling of overpowering stinging melancholy seized me. Before, I had never experienced aught but a not unpleasing sadness. The bond of a common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom. A fraternal melancholy! For both I and Bartleby were sons of Adam. I remembered the bright silks and sparkling faces I had seen that day, in gala trim, swanlike sailing down the Mississippi of Broadway; and I contrasted them with the pallid copyist, and thought to myself, Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.


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.


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


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

  • writing

The sailor is frankness, the landsman is finesse. Life is not a game with the sailor, demanding the long head


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.

  • freely

In glades they meet skull after skullWhere pine cones lay-the rusted gun,Green shoes full of bones, the mouldering coatAnd cuddled up skeleton;And scores of such. Some start as in dreams,And comrades lost bemoan;By the edge of those wilds Stonewall had charged-But the year and the Man were gone.


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Novelists similar to Herman Melville

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Herman Melville is famous for his passion about writing, sleep, way, philosophy, world. Check out great quotations and affirmations on these topics.


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When was Herman Melville birthday? Herman Melville was born on October 16.

Who is Herman Melville? Some facts about Herman Melville from biography. Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his l... Read more about Herman Melville on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from Herman Melville on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about Herman Melville on Amazon to get more reference.

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