Chapter 33 of Herman Melville’s classic – Moby Dick. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments. Visit this page for the complete collection to date: Finding Melville’s Whale.
Such it is on a whale ship that officers,
even captains, serve at the harpoons’ will.
And though the captain is the lord of his ship,
the harpooner is its only master.
And so, while the crew sleeps before the mast,
harpooner and officer dwell astern.
It must always be, on such a journey,
that the savage seamen of lesser rank
reside apart from their superiors.
A disinterested Ahab regards
this distinction as a formality.
He demands obedience, not manners.