The only real owner of anything is its commander.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

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But it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky; and the airs smells now, as if it blew from a far-away meadow; they have been making hay somewhere under the slopes of the Andes, Starbuck, and the mowers are sleeping among the new-mown hay. Sleeping?

The sun hides not the ocean, which is the dark side of this earth, and which is two thirds of this earth. So, therefore, that mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true—not.

Thus, gentlemen, though an inlander, Steelkilt was wild-ocean born, and wild-ocean nurtured; as much of an audacious mariner as any.

To be hated cordially, is only a left-handed compliment.

A purse is but a rag unless you have something in it.

Oh, boys, don't be sentimental; it's bad for the digestion!

Be careful in the hunt, ye mates.

Few are the foreheads which like Shakespeare's or Melancthon's rise so high, and descend so low, that the eyes themselves seem clear, eternal, tideless mountain lakes; and all above them in the forehead's wrinkles, you seem to track the antlered thoughts descending there to drink, as the Highland hunters track the snow prints of the deer.

If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die.

In man or fish, wriggling is a sign of inferiority.

For, say they, when cruising in an empty ship, if you can get nothing better out of the world, get a good dinner out of it, at least.

Pott's, to whom I handed the work for translation, giving him a box of sperm candles.

Long exile from Christendom and civilization inevitably restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e. what is called savagery. Your true whale-hunter is as much a savage as an Iroquois. I myself am a savage, owning no allegiance but to the King of the Cannibals; and ready at any moment to rebel against him.

For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught—nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!