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

The most courageous Herman Melville quotes that will transform you to a better person

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.


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

Herman Melville quote It is better to fail in originality than

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


Dream tonight of peacock tails, Diamond fields and spouter whales.

Ills are many, blessing few, But dreams tonight will shelter you.


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.


Meditation and water are wedded for ever.


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.


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

He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness.


There is a savor of life and immortality in substantial fare.

Like balloons, we are nothing till filled.


When beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang.


No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.


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


Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way!


About Herman Melville

Quotes 487 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

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


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


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


Let us only hate hatred; and once give love a play, we will fall in love with a unicorn.


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


A book in a man's brain is better off than a book bound in calf - at any rate it is safer from criticism.


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


A hermitage in the forest is the refuge of the narrow-minded misanthrope;

a hammock on the ocean is the asylum for the generous distressed.


There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.

Nothing exists in itself.


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


Any appellative at all savouring of arbitrary rank is unsuitable to a man of liberal and catholic mind.


In this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of the great Art of Telling the Truth, even though it be covertly, and by snatches.


All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys.


There never was a great man yet who spent all his life inland.


For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life.


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


Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.


You cannot spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world.... We are not a nation, so much as a world.


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


But are sailors, frequenters of fiddlers' greens, without vices? No;

but less often than with landsmen do their vices, so called, partake of crookedness of heart, seeming less to proceed from viciousness than exuberance of vitality after long constraint: frank manifestations in accordance with natural law.


Seat thyself sultanically among the moons of Saturn, and take high abstracted man alone; and he seems a wonder, a grandeur, and a woe. But from that same point, take mankind in mass, and for the most part, they seem a mob of unnecessary duplicates, both contemporary and hereditary.


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.


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


At last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided.

It was a sharp, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor.


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.


Better be an old maid, a woman with herself as a husband, than the wife of a fool; and Solomon more than hints that all men are fools; and every wise man knows himself to be one.


Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.


That author who draws a character, even though to common view incongruous in its parts, as the flying-squirrel, and, at differentperiods, as much at variance with itself as the caterpillar is with the butterfly into which it changes, may yet, in so doing, be not false but faithful to facts.


An utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.


As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.

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


Everyone knows that in most people's estimation, to do anything cooly is to do it genteelly.


Of all nature's animated kingdoms, fish are the most unchristian, inhospitable, heartless, and cold-blooded of creatures.


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


In a multitude of acquaintances is less security, than in one faithful friend.


Are there no Moravians in the Moon, that not a missionary has yet visited this poor pagan planet of ours, to civilise civilisation and christianise Christendom?


Of all insults, the temporary condescension of a master to a slave is the most outrageous and galling. That potentate who most condescends, mark him well; for that potentate, if occasion come, will prove your uttermost tyrant.


I never fancied broiling fowls; - though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will.