There you stand, a hundred feet above the silent decks, striding along the deep, as if the masts were gigantic stilts, while beneath you and between your legs, as it were, swim the hugest monsters of the sea, even as ships once sailed between the boots of the famous Colossus at old Rhodes. There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea, with nothing ruffled but the waves. The tranced ship indolently rolls; the drowsy trade winds blow; everything resolves you into languor
Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.
Instead of being intimidated by Shakespeare, Melville dared to wonder whether he might be able to surpass him.Philbrick, Nathaniel. Why Read Moby-Dick? Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Yonder, by the ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm waves blush like wine.
“We'll drink tonight...” This is from the poem “Sparkling and Bright” by Charles Fenno Hoffman, a friend of Herman Melville's who went insane in 1849
Power Moby-Dick: Chapter 39 First Night Watch
that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations.
Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows—a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?
He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab. . .
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks.. . .How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond.
Hawthorne wrote of Melville: "He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other. If he were a religious man, he would be truly one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us." (Quoted in Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick). . .Raised Calvinist, Melville became a member of the Church of All Souls (Unitarian), New York City. His writing was full of questioning, anguished doubt, and explorations of "good and evil."https://ffrf.org/news/day/dayitems/it...
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