Selected Poems of Herman Melville

Selected Poems of Herman Melville

Selected Poems of Herman Melville

Selected Poems of Herman Melville


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While best known for such novels as his monumental Moby-Dick, Herman Melville was also an extraordinarily gifted poet. This is the most complete anthology of Melville’s poetry ever published in a single volume. It features a large selection from Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, along with Melville’s own notes and prose supplement; cantos from all four books of Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land; selections from Melville’s later books, Timoleon, John Marr and Other Sailors, and Weeds and Wildings, Chiefly, with a Rose or Two; as well as a number of his powerful and lesserknown uncollected poems. This volume will usher in a new appreciation for Melville’s poetic gifts. Includes a new introduction to Melville's life and later career as a poet during the Civil War and Gilded Age, as well as notes and suggestions for further reading.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143039037
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 685,096
Product dimensions: 5.05(w) x 7.71(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.


Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Robert Faggen teaches at Claremont McKenna College.

Date of Birth:

August 1, 1819

Date of Death:

September 28, 1891

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Attended the Albany Academy in Albany, New York, until age 15

Table of Contents

Selected Poems (Melville, Herman)Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Texts

Selected Poems

From Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866)

The Portent
The Conflict of Convictions
Apathy and Enthusiasm
The March into Virginia
Ball's Bluff
DuPont's Round Fight
In the Turret
The Temeraire
A Utilitarian View of the Monitor's Fight
Battle of Stone River, Tennessee
The House-top
The Armies of the Wilderness
On the Photograph of a Corps Commander
The Swamp Angel
Sheridan at Cedar Creek
The College Colonel
A Dirge for McPherson
At the Cannon's Mouth
The March to the Sea
The Frenzy in the Wake
The Surrender at Appomattox
A Canticle
The Martyr
"The Coming Storm"
Rebel Color-bearers at Shiloh
The Muster
"Formerly a Slave."
Magnanimity Baffled
On the Slain Collegians
Verses Inscriptive and Memorial
On the Home Guards
The Fortitude of the North
An Uninscribed Monument
On the Grave
On a Natural Monument
Commemorative of a Naval Victory
The Scout toward Aldie
Lee in the Capitol
A Meditation

From Clarel (1876)

Part I: Jerusalem
I. The Hostel
IV. Of the Crusaders
XIII. The Arch
XVII. Nathan
Part II: The Wilderness
IV. Of Mortmain
XI. Of Deserts
XXII. Concerning Hebrews
XXXI. The Inscription
XXXIV. Mortmain Reappears
XXXV. Prelusive
XXXVI. Sodom
Part III: Mar Saba
V. The High Desert
XXIX. Rolfe and the Palm
XXXII. Empty Stirrups
Part IV: Bethlehem
XX. Derwent and Ungar
XXI. Ungar and Rolfe
XXX. The Valley of Decision
XXXI. Dirge
XXXII. Passion Week
XXXIII. Easter
XXXIV. Via Crucis
XXXV. Epilogue

From John Marr and Other Sailors (1888)

John Marr and Other Sailors
John Marr
Tom Deadlight
Jack Roy
The Haglets
Minor Sea-Pieces
The Man-of-War Hawk
The Tuft of Kelp
The Maldive Shark
Crossing the Tropics
The Berg
The Enviable Isles

From Timoleon (1891)

After the Pleasure Party
The Night-march
The Ravaged Villa
The Margrave's Birthnight
Magian Wine
The Garden of Metrodorus
The Weaver
Lamia's Song
In a Garret
Lone Founts
The Bench of Boors
The Enthusiast
C——'s Lament
Shelley's Vision
Fragments of a Lost Gnostic Poem of the Twelfth Century
The Marchioness of Brinvilliers
The Age of the Antonines
Herba Santa
Fruit of Travel Long Ago
In a Bye-Canal
Pisa's Leaning Tower
In a Church of Padua
Milan Cathedral
The Parthenon
Greek Masonry
Greek Architecture
The Apparition
In the Desert
The Great Pyramid

From Weeds and Wildings Chiefly: With a Rose or Two (1924)

The Little Good-Fellows
Trophies of Peace
The American Aloe on Exhibition
The New Rosicrucians
The New Ancient of Days
The Rusty Man
Montaigne and His Kitten
Gold in the Mountain
A Spirit Appeared to Me
Billy in the Darbies (from Billy Budd)

Index of First Lines

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