Finding Melville’s Whale: Sunset and Dusk (Chapters 37 and 38)

Thanks to everyone who stuck around during our blog vacation. Our adventure into Moby Dick continues with chapters 37 and 38 – Sunset and Dusk. These two chapters have been consolidated from two soliloquies to a dialog between Ahab and Starbuck. 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.

Sunset and Dusk

Ahab: I wear this burden on my brow.
Starbuck: Madness, madness of my captain.
Ahab: No noble sunrise, but anguish.
Starbuck: I see his doom, but follow him.
Ahab: No soothing sunset, but horrors.
Starbuck: This heathen crew swears pagan oaths.
Ahab: They think me mad to hunt the whale.
Starbuck: To fulfill Ahab’s ghastly will.
Ahab: Who took my leg, Starbuck, my leg!
Starbuck: I must fight this phantom future.
Ahab: My path is fixed in iron hate.

All: A dead whale or a stove boat!
All: A dead whale or a stove boat!

Finding Melville’s Whale: The Quarter-deck (Chapter 36)

Thanks to everyone who stuck around during our blog vacation. Our adventure into Moby Dick continues with chapter 36 – The Quarter-deck. 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.

The Quarter-deck

Ahab, standing upon the deck, his leg
locked into an augered hole, asks “ye pull
to what tune?” “A dead whale or a stove boat!”

A dead whale or a stove boat. He withdraws
a gold coin and hammers it to the mast.
“Gold to whomever raises me a white whale!

The whale that took my leg and left me lame!”
And the crew murmurs, for the harpooners
know the beast that Ahab has sworn vengeance.

Leviathan! with a quick and mighty spout,
whose body, marked by a dozen harpoons
is as white as the sea foam – Moby Dick.

And they raise a whaleman’s toast to vengeance.
“Death to the White Whale! Death to Moby Dick!”
And only Starbuck knows it is madness.

Finding Melville’s Whale: Knights and Squires (Chapter 26 and 27)

Chapter 26 and 27 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.

Knights and Squires

A fearless man is far more dangerous,
and the first mate, Starbuck, will take no man
into his boat that does not fear the whale.
          For his harpooner, he choses Queequeg.
          The knight, Starbuck, with Queequeg’s spear.

To be so comfortable with destruction
that danger is met with indifference
is to be the second mate, careless Stubb.
          For his harpooner, tawny Tashtego.
          Sir Stubb with Tashtego’s arrows.

Last is a man fashioned of wrought iron,
hunting for fun, no reverence for whales.
Flask, third among the crew, built to endure.
          For his harpooner, the giant Daggoo.
          The empty Flask with Daggoo’s arms.

These were the knights, the whaling men,
and their squires, their harpooners.
Each stands alone on their island,
Together on the Pequod’s deck.

Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 22 – Merry Christmas

Chapter 22 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.

Merry Christmas

Starbuck, the chief mate, and Stubb, the second mate,
rush to fill the threefold captain’s orders.
With the anchor raised, the sails filled with wind,

and Ishmael brimming with doubt, the Pequod
departs Nantucket Harbor, with Bildad,
the pilot, driving her into the sea.

Free of the harbor, Bildad and Peleg
linger aboard, jealous of the journey,
then depart, leaving the unseen captain,

Ahab, The lone Atlantic reaches out
and pulls them in. An unseen hand, for an
unseen captain commands and unseen fate.