“Merry Christmas” (Moby-Dick)

“Merry Christmas” from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick At length, towards noon, upon the final dismissal of the ship’s riggers, and after the Pequod had been hauled out from the wharf, and after the ever-thoughtful Charity had come off in a whale-boat, with her last gift- a nightcap for Stubb, the second mate, her brother-in-law, and a spare… Continue reading “Merry Christmas” (Moby-Dick)

“Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” (Moby-Dick)

“D’ye see him?” cried Ahab; but the whale was not yet in sight. “In his infallible wake, though; but follow that wake, that’s all. Helm there; steady, as thou goest, and hast been going. What a lovely day again! were it a new-made world, and made for a summer-house to the angels, and this morning… Continue reading “Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” (Moby-Dick)

“Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm?” (Moby-Dick)

“What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart,… Continue reading “Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm?” (Moby-Dick)

“…the step-mother world, so long cruel—forbidding—now threw affectionate arms round his stubborn neck…” (Moby-Dick)

It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep. Hither, and thither, on high,… Continue reading “…the step-mother world, so long cruel—forbidding—now threw affectionate arms round his stubborn neck…” (Moby-Dick)

“Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them” (Moby-Dick)

Oh, grassy glades! oh, ever vernal endless landscapes in the soul; in ye,—though long parched by the dead drought of the earthy life,—in ye, men yet may roll, like young horses in new morning clover; and for some few fleeting moments, feel the cool dew of the life immortal on them. Would to God these… Continue reading “Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them” (Moby-Dick)

“I want it of the true death-temper” (Moby-Dick)

“Look ye, blacksmith, these are the gathered nail-stubbs of the steel shoes of racing horses.” “Horse-shoe stubbs, sir? Why, Captain Ahab, thou hast here, then, the best and stubbornest stuff we blacksmiths ever work.” “I know it, old man; these stubbs will weld together like glue from the melted bones of murderers. Quick! forge me… Continue reading “I want it of the true death-temper” (Moby-Dick)

“I’ll order a complete man after a desirable pattern” (Moby-Dick)

I do deem it now a most meaning thing, that that old Greek, Prometheus, who made men, they say, should have been a blacksmith, and animated them with fire; for what’s made in fire must properly belong to fire; and so hell’s probable. How the soot flies! This must be the remainder the Greek made… Continue reading “I’ll order a complete man after a desirable pattern” (Moby-Dick)

“…his body was a sentry-box and this soliloquizer on guard there…” (Moby-Dick)

Yet, as previously hinted, this omnitooled, open-and-shut carpenter, was, after all, no mere machine of an automaton. If he did not have a common soul in him, he had a subtle something that somehow anomalously did its duty. What that was, whether essence of quicksilver, or a few drops of hartshorn, there is no telling.… Continue reading “…his body was a sentry-box and this soliloquizer on guard there…” (Moby-Dick)

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme” (Moby-Dick)

One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor’s quill! Give me Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms! For in the mere… Continue reading “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme” (Moby-Dick)

“And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges…” (Moby-Dick)

Look not too long in the face of the fire, O man! Never dream with thy hand on the helm! Turn not thy back to the compass; accept the first hint of the hitching tiller; believe not the artificial fire, when its redness makes all things look ghastly. To-morrow, in the natural sun, the skies… Continue reading “And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges…” (Moby-Dick)

“I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me” (Moby-Dick)

Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving… Continue reading “I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me” (Moby-Dick)

“The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it” (Moby-Dick)

The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it. At times there are gestures in it, which, though they would well grace the hand of man, remain wholly inexplicable. In an extensive herd, so remarkable, occasionally, are these mystic gestures, that I have heard hunters who have… Continue reading “The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it” (Moby-Dick)

“Speak, thou vast and venerable head” (Moby-Dick)

It was a black and hooded head; and hanging there in the midst of so intense a calm, it seemed the Sphynx’s in the desert. “Speak, thou vast and venerable head,” muttered Ahab, “which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret… Continue reading “Speak, thou vast and venerable head” (Moby-Dick)

“…however baby man may brag of his science and skill…” (Moby-Dick)

But though, to landsmen in general, the native inhabitants of the seas have ever been regarded with emotions unspeakably unsocial and repelling; though we know the sea to be an everlasting terra incognita, so that Columbus sailed over numberless unknown worlds to discover his one superficial western one; though, by vast odds, the most terrific… Continue reading “…however baby man may brag of his science and skill…” (Moby-Dick)