Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

Chapter 120

The Deck Toward the End of the First Night Watch

Ahab standing by the helm. Starbuck approaching him.

We must send down the main-top-sail yard, sir. The band is working loose and the lee lift is half-stranded. Shall I strike it, sir?”

“Strike nothing; lash it. If I had sky-sail poles, I’d sway them up now.”

“Sir! — in God’s name! — sir?”

“Well.”

“The anchors are working, sir. Shall I get them inboard?”

“Strike nothing, and stir nothing but lash everything. The wind rises, but it has not got up to my table-hands yet. Quick, and see to it. — By masts and keels! he takes me for the hunchbacked skipper of some coasting smack. Send down my main-top-sail yard! Ho, gluepots! Loftiest trucks were made for wildest winds, and this brain-truck of mine now sails amid the cloud-scud. Shall I strike that? Oh, none but cowards send down their brain-trucks in tempest time. What a hooroosh aloft there! I would e’en take it for sublime, did I not know that the colic is a noisy malady. Oh, take medicine, take medicine!”

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:11