The Project Gutenberg ebook of Moby Dick; or The Whale, by Herman Melville



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Moby Dick; or The Whale, by Herman Melville
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Title: Moby Dick; or The Whale
Author: Herman Melville
Last Updated: January 3, 2009

Posting Date: December 25, 2008 [EBook #2701]

Release Date: June, 2001
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MOBY DICK; OR THE WHALE ***

Produced by Daniel Lazarus and Jonesey


MOBY DICK; OR THE WHALE
By Herman Melville

Original Transcriber's Notes:


This text is a combination of etexts, one from the now-defunct ERIS

project at Virginia Tech and one from Project Gutenberg's archives. The

proofreaders of this version are indebted to The University of Adelaide

Library for preserving the Virginia Tech version. The resulting etext

was compared with a public domain hard copy version of the text.
In chapters 24, 89, and 90, we substituted a capital L for the symbol

for the British pound, a unit of currency.

ETYMOLOGY.
(Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School)
The pale Usher--threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him

now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer

handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all

the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it

somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
"While you take in hand to school others, and to teach them by what

name a whale-fish is to be called in our tongue leaving out, through

ignorance, the letter H, which almost alone maketh the signification of

the word, you deliver that which is not true." --HACKLUYT


"WHALE.... Sw. and Dan. HVAL. This animal is named from roundness or

rolling; for in Dan. HVALT is arched or vaulted." --WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY


"WHALE.... It is more immediately from the Dut. and Ger. WALLEN; A.S.

WALW-IAN, to roll, to wallow." --RICHARDSON'S DICTIONARY


KETOS, GREEK.

CETUS, LATIN.

WHOEL, ANGLO-SAXON.

HVALT, DANISH.

WAL, DUTCH.

HWAL, SWEDISH.

WHALE, ICELANDIC.

WHALE, ENGLISH.

BALEINE, FRENCH.

BALLENA, SPANISH.

PEKEE-NUEE-NUEE, FEGEE.

PEKEE-NUEE-NUEE, ERROMANGOAN.

EXTRACTS (Supplied by a Sub-Sub-Librarian).
It will be seen that this mere painstaking burrower and grub-worm of a

poor devil of a Sub-Sub appears to have gone through the long Vaticans

and street-stalls of the earth, picking up whatever random allusions to

whales he could anyways find in any book whatsoever, sacred or

profane. Therefore you must not, in every case at least, take the

higgledy-piggledy whale statements, however authentic, in these

extracts, for veritable gospel cetology. Far from it. As touching the

ancient authors generally, as well as the poets here appearing, these

extracts are solely valuable or entertaining, as affording a glancing

bird's eye view of what has been promiscuously said, thought, fancied,

and sung of Leviathan, by many nations and generations, including our

own.
So fare thee well, poor devil of a Sub-Sub, whose commentator I am. Thou

belongest to that hopeless, sallow tribe which no wine of this world

will ever warm; and for whom even Pale Sherry would be too rosy-strong;

but with whom one sometimes loves to sit, and feel poor-devilish, too;

and grow convivial upon tears; and say to them bluntly, with full eyes

and empty glasses, and in not altogether unpleasant sadness--Give it up,

Sub-Subs! For by how much the more pains ye take to please the world,

by so much the more shall ye for ever go thankless! Would that I could

clear out Hampton Court and the Tuileries for ye! But gulp down your

tears and hie aloft to the royal-mast with your hearts; for your friends

who have gone before are clearing out the seven-storied heavens, and

making refugees of long-pampered Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, against

your coming. Here ye strike but splintered hearts together--there, ye

shall strike unsplinterable glasses!

EXTRACTS.


"And God created great whales." --GENESIS.
"Leviathan maketh a path to shine after him; One would think the deep to

be hoary." --JOB.


"Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah." --JONAH.
"There go the ships; there is that Leviathan whom thou hast made to play

therein." --PSALMS.


"In that day, the Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword,

shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked

serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." --ISAIAH
"And what thing soever besides cometh within the chaos of this monster's

mouth, be it beast, boat, or stone, down it goes all incontinently that

foul great swallow of his, and perisheth in the bottomless gulf of his

paunch." --HOLLAND'S PLUTARCH'S MORALS.


"The Indian Sea breedeth the most and the biggest fishes that are: among

which the Whales and Whirlpooles called Balaene, take up as much in

length as four acres or arpens of land." --HOLLAND'S PLINY.
"Scarcely had we proceeded two days on the sea, when about sunrise a

great many Whales and other monsters of the sea, appeared. Among the

former, one was of a most monstrous size.... This came towards us,

open-mouthed, raising the waves on all sides, and beating the sea before

him into a foam." --TOOKE'S LUCIAN. "THE TRUE HISTORY."
"He visited this country also with a view of catching horse-whales,

which had bones of very great value for their teeth, of which he brought

some to the king.... The best whales were catched in his own country, of

which some were forty-eight, some fifty yards long. He said that he was

one of six who had killed sixty in two days." --OTHER OR OTHER'S VERBAL

NARRATIVE TAKEN DOWN FROM HIS MOUTH BY KING ALFRED, A.D. 890.


"And whereas all the other things, whether beast or vessel, that

enter into the dreadful gulf of this monster's (whale's) mouth, are

immediately lost and swallowed up, the sea-gudgeon retires into it in

great security, and there sleeps." --MONTAIGNE. --APOLOGY FOR RAIMOND

SEBOND.
"Let us fly, let us fly! Old Nick take me if is not Leviathan described

by the noble prophet Moses in the life of patient Job." --RABELAIS.


"This whale's liver was two cartloads." --STOWE'S ANNALS.
"The great Leviathan that maketh the seas to seethe like boiling pan."

--LORD BACON'S VERSION OF THE PSALMS.


"Touching that monstrous bulk of the whale or ork we have received

nothing certain. They grow exceeding fat, insomuch that an incredible

quantity of oil will be extracted out of one whale." --IBID. "HISTORY OF

LIFE AND DEATH."


"The sovereignest thing on earth is parmacetti for an inward bruise."

--KING HENRY.


"Very like a whale." --HAMLET.
"Which to secure, no skill of leach's art

Mote him availle, but to returne againe

To his wound's worker, that with lowly dart,

Dinting his breast, had bred his restless paine,

Like as the wounded whale to shore flies thro' the maine."

--THE FAERIE QUEEN.


"Immense as whales, the motion of whose vast bodies can in a peaceful

calm trouble the ocean til it boil." --SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT. PREFACE TO

GONDIBERT.
"What spermacetti is, men might justly doubt, since the learned

Hosmannus in his work of thirty years, saith plainly, Nescio quid sit."

--SIR T. BROWNE. OF SPERMA CETI AND THE SPERMA CETI WHALE. VIDE HIS V.

E.
"Like Spencer's Talus with his modern flail

He threatens ruin with his ponderous tail.

...


Their fixed jav'lins in his side he wears,

And on his back a grove of pikes appears."

--WALLER'S BATTLE OF THE SUMMER ISLANDS.
"By art is created that great Leviathan, called a Commonwealth or

State--(in Latin, Civitas) which is but an artificial man." --OPENING

SENTENCE OF HOBBES'S LEVIATHAN.
"Silly Mansoul swallowed it without chewing, as if it had been a sprat

in the mouth of a whale." --PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.


"That sea beast

Leviathan, which God of all his works

Created hugest that swim the ocean stream." --PARADISE LOST.
---"There Leviathan,

Hugest of living creatures, in the deep

Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,

And seems a moving land; and at his gills

Draws in, and at his breath spouts out a sea." --IBID.
"The mighty whales which swim in a sea of water, and have a sea of oil

swimming in them." --FULLLER'S PROFANE AND HOLY STATE.


"So close behind some promontory lie

The huge Leviathan to attend their prey,

And give no chance, but swallow in the fry,

Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way."

--DRYDEN'S ANNUS MIRABILIS.
"While the whale is floating at the stern of the ship, they cut off his

head, and tow it with a boat as near the shore as it will come; but it

will be aground in twelve or thirteen feet water." --THOMAS EDGE'S TEN

VOYAGES TO SPITZBERGEN, IN PURCHAS.


"In their way they saw many whales sporting in the ocean, and in

wantonness fuzzing up the water through their pipes and vents, which

nature has placed on their shoulders." --SIR T. HERBERT'S VOYAGES INTO

ASIA AND AFRICA. HARRIS COLL.


"Here they saw such huge troops of whales, that they were forced to

proceed with a great deal of caution for fear they should run their ship

upon them." --SCHOUTEN'S SIXTH CIRCUMNAVIGATION.
"We set sail from the Elbe, wind N.E. in the ship called The

Jonas-in-the-Whale.... Some say the whale can't open his mouth, but that

is a fable.... They frequently climb up the masts to see whether they

can see a whale, for the first discoverer has a ducat for his pains....

I was told of a whale taken near Shetland, that had above a barrel of

herrings in his belly.... One of our harpooneers told me that he caught

once a whale in Spitzbergen that was white all over." --A VOYAGE TO

GREENLAND, A.D. 1671 HARRIS COLL.


"Several whales have come in upon this coast (Fife) Anno 1652, one

eighty feet in length of the whale-bone kind came in, which (as I was

informed), besides a vast quantity of oil, did afford 500 weight of

baleen. The jaws of it stand for a gate in the garden of Pitferren."

--SIBBALD'S FIFE AND KINROSS.
"Myself have agreed to try whether I can master and kill this

Sperma-ceti whale, for I could never hear of any of that sort that was

killed by any man, such is his fierceness and swiftness." --RICHARD

STRAFFORD'S LETTER FROM THE BERMUDAS. PHIL. TRANS. A.D. 1668.


"Whales in the sea God's voice obey." --N. E. PRIMER.
"We saw also abundance of large whales, there being more in those

southern seas, as I may say, by a hundred to one; than we have to the

northward of us." --CAPTAIN COWLEY'S VOYAGE ROUND THE GLOBE, A.D. 1729.
"... and the breath of the whale is frequently attended with such an

insupportable smell, as to bring on a disorder of the brain." --ULLOA'S

SOUTH AMERICA.
"To fifty chosen sylphs of special note,

We trust the important charge, the petticoat.

Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,

Tho' stuffed with hoops and armed with ribs of whale."

--RAPE OF THE LOCK.
"If we compare land animals in respect to magnitude, with those

that take up their abode in the deep, we shall find they will appear

contemptible in the comparison. The whale is doubtless the largest

animal in creation." --GOLDSMITH, NAT. HIST.


"If you should write a fable for little fishes, you would make them

speak like great wales." --GOLDSMITH TO JOHNSON.


"In the afternoon we saw what was supposed to be a rock, but it was

found to be a dead whale, which some Asiatics had killed, and were then

towing ashore. They seemed to endeavor to conceal themselves behind the

whale, in order to avoid being seen by us." --COOK'S VOYAGES.


"The larger whales, they seldom venture to attack. They stand in so

great dread of some of them, that when out at sea they are afraid to

mention even their names, and carry dung, lime-stone, juniper-wood,

and some other articles of the same nature in their boats, in order to

terrify and prevent their too near approach." --UNO VON TROIL'S LETTERS

ON BANKS'S AND SOLANDER'S VOYAGE TO ICELAND IN 1772.


"The Spermacetti Whale found by the Nantuckois, is an active, fierce

animal, and requires vast address and boldness in the fishermen."

--THOMAS JEFFERSON'S WHALE MEMORIAL TO THE FRENCH MINISTER IN 1778.
"And pray, sir, what in the world is equal to it?" --EDMUND BURKE'S

REFERENCE IN PARLIAMENT TO THE NANTUCKET WHALE-FISHERY.


"Spain--a great whale stranded on the shores of Europe." --EDMUND BURKE.

(SOMEWHERE.)


"A tenth branch of the king's ordinary revenue, said to be grounded on

the consideration of his guarding and protecting the seas from pirates

and robbers, is the right to royal fish, which are whale and sturgeon.

And these, when either thrown ashore or caught near the coast, are the

property of the king." --BLACKSTONE.
"Soon to the sport of death the crews repair:

Rodmond unerring o'er his head suspends

The barbed steel, and every turn attends."

--FALCONER'S SHIPWRECK.


"Bright shone the roofs, the domes, the spires,

And rockets blew self driven,

To hang their momentary fire

Around the vault of heaven.


"So fire with water to compare,

The ocean serves on high,

Up-spouted by a whale in air,

To express unwieldy joy." --COWPER, ON THE QUEEN'S

VISIT TO LONDON.
"Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at

a stroke, with immense velocity." --JOHN HUNTER'S ACCOUNT OF THE

DISSECTION OF A WHALE. (A SMALL SIZED ONE.)
"The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore than the main pipe of the

water-works at London Bridge, and the water roaring in its passage

through that pipe is inferior in impetus and velocity to the blood

gushing from the whale's heart." --PALEY'S THEOLOGY.


"The whale is a mammiferous animal without hind feet." --BARON CUVIER.
"In 40 degrees south, we saw Spermacetti Whales, but did not take

any till the first of May, the sea being then covered with them."

--COLNETT'S VOYAGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXTENDING THE SPERMACETI WHALE

FISHERY.
"In the free element beneath me swam,

Floundered and dived, in play, in chace, in battle,

Fishes of every colour, form, and kind;

Which language cannot paint, and mariner

Had never seen; from dread Leviathan

To insect millions peopling every wave:

Gather'd in shoals immense, like floating islands,

Led by mysterious instincts through that waste

And trackless region, though on every side

Assaulted by voracious enemies,

Whales, sharks, and monsters, arm'd in front or jaw,

With swords, saws, spiral horns, or hooked fangs."

--MONTGOMERY'S WORLD BEFORE THE FLOOD.


"Io! Paean! Io! sing.

To the finny people's king.

Not a mightier whale than this

In the vast Atlantic is;

Not a fatter fish than he,

Flounders round the Polar Sea."

--CHARLES LAMB'S TRIUMPH OF THE WHALE.
"In the year 1690 some persons were on a high hill observing the

whales spouting and sporting with each other, when one observed:

there--pointing to the sea--is a green pasture where our children's

grand-children will go for bread." --OBED MACY'S HISTORY OF NANTUCKET.


"I built a cottage for Susan and myself and made a gateway in the form

of a Gothic Arch, by setting up a whale's jaw bones." --HAWTHORNE'S

TWICE TOLD TALES.
"She came to bespeak a monument for her first love, who had been killed

by a whale in the Pacific ocean, no less than forty years ago." --IBID.


"No, Sir, 'tis a Right Whale," answered Tom; "I saw his sprout; he threw

up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to look at.

He's a raal oil-butt, that fellow!" --COOPER'S PILOT.
"The papers were brought in, and we saw in the Berlin Gazette

that whales had been introduced on the stage there." --ECKERMANN'S

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOETHE.
"My God! Mr. Chace, what is the matter?" I answered, "we have been stove

by a whale." --"NARRATIVE OF THE SHIPWRECK OF THE WHALE SHIP ESSEX OF

NANTUCKET, WHICH WAS ATTACKED AND FINALLY DESTROYED BY A LARGE SPERM

WHALE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN." BY OWEN CHACE OF NANTUCKET, FIRST MATE OF

SAID VESSEL. NEW YORK, 1821.
"A mariner sat in the shrouds one night,

The wind was piping free;

Now bright, now dimmed, was the moonlight pale,

And the phospher gleamed in the wake of the whale,

As it floundered in the sea."

--ELIZABETH OAKES SMITH.


"The quantity of line withdrawn from the boats engaged in the capture

of this one whale, amounted altogether to 10,440 yards or nearly six

English miles....
"Sometimes the whale shakes its tremendous tail in the air, which,

cracking like a whip, resounds to the distance of three or four miles."

--SCORESBY.
"Mad with the agonies he endures from these fresh attacks, the

infuriated Sperm Whale rolls over and over; he rears his enormous head,

and with wide expanded jaws snaps at everything around him; he rushes

at the boats with his head; they are propelled before him with vast

swiftness, and sometimes utterly destroyed.... It is a matter of great

astonishment that the consideration of the habits of so interesting,

and, in a commercial point of view, so important an animal (as the Sperm

Whale) should have been so entirely neglected, or should have excited

so little curiosity among the numerous, and many of them competent

observers, that of late years, must have possessed the most abundant

and the most convenient opportunities of witnessing their habitudes."

--THOMAS BEALE'S HISTORY OF THE SPERM WHALE, 1839.


"The Cachalot" (Sperm Whale) "is not only better armed than the True

Whale" (Greenland or Right Whale) "in possessing a formidable weapon

at either extremity of its body, but also more frequently displays a

disposition to employ these weapons offensively and in manner at once so

artful, bold, and mischievous, as to lead to its being regarded as the

most dangerous to attack of all the known species of the whale tribe."

--FREDERICK DEBELL BENNETT'S WHALING VOYAGE ROUND THE GLOBE, 1840.
October 13. "There she blows," was sung out from the mast-head.

"Where away?" demanded the captain.

"Three points off the lee bow, sir."

"Raise up your wheel. Steady!" "Steady, sir."

"Mast-head ahoy! Do you see that whale now?"

"Ay ay, sir! A shoal of Sperm Whales! There she blows! There she

breaches!"

"Sing out! sing out every time!"

"Ay Ay, sir! There she blows! there--there--THAR she

blows--bowes--bo-o-os!"

"How far off?"

"Two miles and a half."

"Thunder and lightning! so near! Call all hands."

--J. ROSS BROWNE'S ETCHINGS OF A WHALING CRUIZE. 1846.


"The Whale-ship Globe, on board of which vessel occurred the horrid

transactions we are about to relate, belonged to the island of

Nantucket." --"NARRATIVE OF THE GLOBE," BY LAY AND HUSSEY SURVIVORS.

A.D. 1828.


Being once pursued by a whale which he had wounded, he parried the

assault for some time with a lance; but the furious monster at length

rushed on the boat; himself and comrades only being preserved by leaping

into the water when they saw the onset was inevitable." --MISSIONARY

JOURNAL OF TYERMAN AND BENNETT.
"Nantucket itself," said Mr. Webster, "is a very striking and peculiar

portion of the National interest. There is a population of eight or nine

thousand persons living here in the sea, adding largely every year

to the National wealth by the boldest and most persevering industry."

--REPORT OF DANIEL WEBSTER'S SPEECH IN THE U. S. SENATE, ON THE

APPLICATION FOR THE ERECTION OF A BREAKWATER AT NANTUCKET. 1828.


"The whale fell directly over him, and probably killed him in a moment."

--"THE WHALE AND HIS CAPTORS, OR THE WHALEMAN'S ADVENTURES AND THE

WHALE'S BIOGRAPHY, GATHERED ON THE HOMEWARD CRUISE OF THE COMMODORE

PREBLE." BY REV. HENRY T. CHEEVER.


"If you make the least damn bit of noise," replied Samuel, "I will send

you to hell." --LIFE OF SAMUEL COMSTOCK (THE MUTINEER), BY HIS BROTHER,

WILLIAM COMSTOCK. ANOTHER VERSION OF THE WHALE-SHIP GLOBE NARRATIVE.
"The voyages of the Dutch and English to the Northern Ocean, in order,

if possible, to discover a passage through it to India, though they

failed of their main object, laid-open the haunts of the whale."

--MCCULLOCH'S COMMERCIAL DICTIONARY.


"These things are reciprocal; the ball rebounds, only to bound forward

again; for now in laying open the haunts of the whale, the whalemen seem

to have indirectly hit upon new clews to that same mystic North-West

Passage." --FROM "SOMETHING" UNPUBLISHED.


"It is impossible to meet a whale-ship on the ocean without being struck

by her near appearance. The vessel under short sail, with look-outs at

the mast-heads, eagerly scanning the wide expanse around them, has a

totally different air from those engaged in regular voyage." --CURRENTS

AND WHALING. U.S. EX. EX.
"Pedestrians in the vicinity of London and elsewhere may recollect

having seen large curved bones set upright in the earth, either to form

arches over gateways, or entrances to alcoves, and they may perhaps

have been told that these were the ribs of whales." --TALES OF A WHALE

VOYAGER TO THE ARCTIC OCEAN.
"It was not till the boats returned from the pursuit of these whales,

that the whites saw their ship in bloody possession of the savages

enrolled among the crew." --NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT OF THE TAKING AND RETAKING

OF THE WHALE-SHIP HOBOMACK.


"It is generally well known that out of the crews of Whaling vessels

(American) few ever return in the ships on board of which they

departed." --CRUISE IN A WHALE BOAT.
"Suddenly a mighty mass emerged from the water, and shot up

perpendicularly into the air. It was the while." --MIRIAM COFFIN OR THE

WHALE FISHERMAN.
"The Whale is harpooned to be sure; but bethink you, how you would

manage a powerful unbroken colt, with the mere appliance of a rope tied

to the root of his tail." --A CHAPTER ON WHALING IN RIBS AND TRUCKS.
"On one occasion I saw two of these monsters (whales) probably male and

female, slowly swimming, one after the other, within less than a stone's

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