Important Quotations Explained
it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential
disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open
the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples
often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then,
in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg—a cosy, loving pair.
Ahab’s compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve
me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there.
Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails,
whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through
the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly
I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!
that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things;
all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes
the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil,
to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable
in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all
the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down;
and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s
shell upon it.
is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And
there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down
into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become
invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within
the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest
swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the
plain, even though they soar.
thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the
last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for
hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and
all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let
me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to
thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!
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