232 words • < 1 min read

Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 3 – The Spouter-Inn

Chapter 3 of the classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville, summarized in verse. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments.

The Spouter-Inn

The tavern heaves as if it were a sloop
battered by too many waves, too much drink,
as three years afloat celebrates the shore.

But revelry is for those coming in,
not those going out. Ishmael wants only
a bed. None can be had but one, to share

with the harpooner, a man peddling
in shrunken heads by lamplight and darkness.
Hesitantly, he enters the room, lies

until there stands Queequeg, wrapped in tattoos,
ax in hand, startled but sober. Ishmael,
and the harpooner, will share fouler sheets.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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