"Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though
ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak,
mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers,
thou has dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams has
moved amid the world's foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust,
and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate
earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful
water-land, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or
diver never went; has slept by many a sailer's side, where sleepless mothers
would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when
leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting
wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw'st the
murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell
into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still sailed
on unharmed -- while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that would
have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou has
seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one
syllable is thine!"
-- H. Melville, "Moby Dick"
This page was last modified on 2012 June 03.