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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-Billy Budd, by Herman Melville


PinkMonkey® Quotations on . . .

Billy Budd

By Herman Melville QUOTATION: The retaliation is apt to be in monstrous disproportion to the supposed offense; for when in anybody was revenge in its exactions aught else but an inordinate usurer?
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 13, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: Coke and Blackstone hardly shed so much light into obscure spiritual places as the Hebrew prophets.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 11, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: The sailor is frankness, the landsman is finesse. Life is not a game with the sailor, demanding the long head—no intricate game of chess where few moves are made in straight-forwardness and ends are attained by indirection, an oblique, tedious, barren game hardly worth that poor candle burnt out in playing it.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 16, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: Forty years after a battle it is easy for a noncombatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to have to direct the fighting while involved in the obscuring smoke of it.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 21, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: There is nothing namable but that some men will, or undertake to, do it for pay.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 21, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 1, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: A chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace serving the host of the God of War—Mars. As such, he is as incongruous as a musket would be on the altar at Christmas. Why, then, is he there? Because he indirectly subserves the purpose attested by the cannon; because too he lends the sanction of the religion of the meek to that which practically is the abrogation of everything but brute Force.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 24, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: Personal prudence, even when dictated by quite other than selfish considerations, surely is no special virtue in a military man; while an excessive love of glory, impassioning a less burning impulse, the honest sense of duty, is the first.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 5, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).

QUOTATION: Through the port comes the moon-shine astray!
It tips the guard’s cutlass and silvers this nook;
But ‘twill die in the dawning of Billy’s last day.
A jewel-block they’ll make of me to-morrow,
Pendant pearl from the yard-arm-end
Like the ear-drop I gave to Bristol Molly—
O, ‘tis me, not the sentence they’ll suspend.
ATTRIBUTION: Herman Melville (1819–1891), U.S. poet, novelist. Billy Budd, Foretopman (l. 4–10).

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