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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Herman Melville Quotes


"A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things."
"Art is the objectification of feeling."
"Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."
"But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
"Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried; it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the immense Remote, the Wild, the Watery, the Unshored."
"Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope."
"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. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!"
"Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius crater for an inkstand!"
"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 pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married... Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg - a cosy, loving pair."
"He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great."
"How wondrous familiar is a fool!"
"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."
"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."
"Is there some principal of nature which states that we never know the quality of what we have until it is gone?"
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
"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."
"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."
"Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to cross the seas."
"Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death."
"So man's insanity is heaven's sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God."
"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."
"The beauty myth moves for men as a mirage; its power lies in its ever-receding nature. When the gap is closed, the lover embraces only his own disillusion."
"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."
"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."
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method."
"There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself."
"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."
"Thrusted light is worse than presented pistols."
"To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living."
"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."
"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."
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men."
"Whatever fortune brings, don't be afraid of doing things."

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