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Moby Dick Installment 2 of 214 Previous Next
Moby Dick; Or the Whale, by Herman Melville

"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.

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