Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Herman Melville

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Poet

"A laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to all that's queer."

"Amity itself can only be maintained by reciprocal respect, and true friends are punctilious equals."

"But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation... He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great."

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

"Truth has no confines."

"From without, no wonderful effect is wrought within ourselves, unless some interior, responding wonder meets it."

"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 does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity."

"It is well enough known, that the best productions of the best human intellects are generally regarded by those intellects as mere immature freshman exercises, wholly worthless in themselves, except as initiatives for entering the great University of God after death."

"Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air."

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

"Life is a voyage that's homeward bound."

"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."

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

"Ah, God! What trances of torments does that man endure who is consumed with one unachieved revengeful desire."

"Men easily believe what they want to."

"A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities. "

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

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

"There is all of the difference in the world between paying and being paid. "

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

"To be called one thing, is oftentimes to be another."

"Youth is the time when hearts are large."