Within are shabby shelves, ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks; and in those jaws of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah (by which name indeed they called him), bustles a little withered old man, who, for their money, dearly sells the sailors deliriums and death.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

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

To Ishmael, the whale's indefinite whiteness' shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation. [It's] a color-less, all-color of atheism from which we shrink.

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

Here some one thrust these cards into these old hands of mine, swears that I must play them, and no others. And damn me, Ahab, but thou actest right, live in the game, and die in it.

But, besides the Feegeeans, Tongatobooarrs, Erromanggoans, Pannangians, and Brighggians, and besides the wild specimens of the whaling-craft which unheeded reel about the streets, you will see other sights still more curious, certainly more comical.

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

To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet from out of idleness, and not from out of toil.

Genius is full of trash.

But that darkness was licked up by the fierce flames, which at intervals forked forth from the sooty flues, and illuminated every lofty rope in the rigging, as with the famed Greek fire. The burning ship drove on, as if remorselessly commissioned to some vengeful deed.

While his one live leg made lively echoes along the deck, every stroke of his dead limb sounded like a coffin-tap. On life and death this old man walked.

Of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are the most apt to get out of order.

Wherefore, for all these things, we account the whale immortal in his species, however perishable in his individuality.

A soul's a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon.

Dough-boy's whole life was one continual lip-quiver.