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Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 8 – The Pulpit

Chapter 8 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 Pulpit

The preacher, Father Mapple, emerges.
A whaleman grown old, now a minister
in oilskins, weighed heavy with water.

The pulpit towers over this congress.
No stairway can reach it and fit within
the church walls. Mapple climbs a ladder.

The ladder swung as if it were at sea,
for men to pull themselves from the waters
or climb from small craft into greater ships.

He climbs the pulpit as a mariner
would, hand-over-hand,but confidently,
and then raises the ladder behind him.


Marine science and conservation. Deep-sea ecology. Population genetics. Underwater robots. Open-source instrumentation. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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