9+ quotes from Billy Budd and Other Stories by Herman Melville

Quotes from Billy Budd and Other Stories

Herman Melville ·  416 pages

Rating: (4.5K votes)


“Passion, and passion in its profoundest, is not a thing demanding a palatial stage whereon to play its part. Down among the groundlings, among the beggars and rakers of the garbage, profound passion is enacted. And the circumstances that provoke it, however trivial or mean, are no measure of its power. In the present instance the stage is a scrubbed gun deck, and one of the external provocations a man-of-war's-man's spilled soup.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“In this particular Billy was a striking instance that the arch interferer, the envious marplot of Eden, still has more or less to do with every human consignment to this planet of Earth. In every case, one way or another he is sure to slip in his little card, as much as to remind us—I too have a hand here. The”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“His duty he always faithfully did; but duty is sometimes a dry obligation, and he was for irrigating its aridity, whensoever possible, with a fertilizing decoction of strong waters.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“Such events cannot be ignored, but there is a considerate way of historically treating them. If a well-constituted individual refrains from blazoning aught amiss or calamitous in his family, a nation in the like circumstance may without reproach be equally discreet. Though”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“For what can more partake of the mysterious than an antipathy spontaneous and profound such as is evoked in certain exceptional mortals by the mere aspect of some other mortal, however harmless he may be, if not called forth by this very harmlessness itself?”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“The maintenance of secrecy in the matter, the confining all knowledge of it for a time to the place where the homicide occurred, the quarter-deck cabin; in these particulars lurked some resemblance to the policy adopted in those tragedies of the palace which have occurred more than once in the capital founded by Peter the Barbarian.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“If in some cases a bit of a nautical Murat in setting forth his person ashore, the Handsome Sailor of the period in question evinced nothing of the dandified Billy-be-Dam, an amusing character all but extinct now, but occasionally to be encountered, and in a form yet more amusing than the original, at the tiller of the boats on the tempestuous Erie Canal or, more likely, vaporing in the groggeries along the towpath.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“He loved books, never going to sea without a newly replenished library, compact but of the best.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


“In certain matters, some sailors even in mature life remain unsophisticated enough. But a young seafarer of the disposition of our athletic foretopman is much of a child-man. And yet a child’s utter innocence is but its blank ignorance, and the innocence more or less wanes as intelligence waxes. But in Billy Budd intelligence, such as it was, had advanced while yet his simplemindedness remained for the most part unaffected.”
― Herman Melville, quote from Billy Budd and Other Stories


About the author

Herman Melville
Born place: in New York City, New York, The United States
Born date August 1, 1819
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