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Melville Ahab Quotes & Sayings

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Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Walking the deck with quick, side-lunging strides, Ahab commanded the t'gallant sails and royals to be set, and every stunsail spread. The best man in the ship must take the helm. Then, with every mast-head manned, the piled-up craft rolled down before the wind. The strange, upheaving, lifting tendency of the taffrail breeze filling the hollows of so many sails, made the buoyant, hovering deck to feel like air beneath the feet; while still she rushed along, as if two antagonistic influences were struggling in her - one to mount direct to heaven, the other to drive yawingly to some horizontal goal. And had you watched Ahab's face that night, you would have thought that in him also two different things were warring. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

In old England the greatest lords think it great glory to be slapped by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but, be your boast, Stubb, that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man of. Remember what I say; be kicked by him; account his kicks honors; and on no account kick back; for you can't help yourself, wise Stubb. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Ahab and aguish lay stretched together in one hammock. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri.And as Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom! — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

So, with his ivory leg inserted into its accustomed hole, and with one hand firmly grasping a shroud, Ahab for hours and hours would stand gazing dead to windward, while an occasional squall of sleet or snow would all but congeal his very eyelashes together. Meantime, the crew driven from the forward part of the ship by the perilous seas that burstingly broke over its bows, stood in a line along the bulwarks in the waist; and the better to guard against the leaping waves, each man had slipped himself into a sort of bowline secured to the rail, in which he swung as in a loosened belt. Few or no words were spoken; and the silent ship, as if manned by painted sailors in wax, day after day tore on through all the swift madness and gladness of the demoniac waves. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

To accomplish his object Ahab must use tools; and of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are most apt to get out of order. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Over his head towards the fire, seemed invoking some curse or some blessing on the toil. But, as Ahab looked up, he slid aside. "What's that bunch of lucifers dodging about there for?" muttered Stubb, looking on from the forecastle. "That Parsee smells fire like a fusee; and smells of it himself, like a hot musket's powder-pan." At last the shank, in one — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Often, when forced from his hammock by exhausting and intolerably vivid dreams of the night, which, resuming his own intense thoughts through the day, carried them on amid a clashing of phrensies, and whirled them round and round in his blazing brain, till the very throbbing of his lifespot became insufferable anguish; and when, as was sometimes the case, these spritual throes in him heaved his being up from its base, and a chasm seemed opening in him, from which forked flames and lightnings shot up, and accursed fiends beconed him to leap down among them; when this hell in himself yawned beneath him, a wild cry would be heard through the ship; and with glaring eyes Ahab would burst from his state room, as though escaping from a bed that was on fire. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

But, as in his narrow-flowing monomania, not one jot of Ahab's broad madness had been left behind; so in that broad madness, not one jot of his great natural intellect had perished. That before living agent, now became the living instrument. If such a furious trope may stand, his special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark; so that far from having lost his strength, Ahab, to that one end, did now possess a thousand fold more potency than ever he had sanely brought to bear upon any one reasonable object. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Nathaniel Philbrick

As Herman Melville wrote of that seagoing monster of a man Captain Ahab, "All mortal greatness is but disease. — Nathaniel Philbrick

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Oh, Ahab! what shall be grand in thee, it must needs be plucked at from the skies, and dived for in the deep, and featured in the unbodied air! — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

In his fiery eyes of scorn and triumph, you then saw Ahab in all his fatal pride. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

And, so full of his thought was Ahab, that at every uniform turn that he made, now at the main-mast and now at the binnacle, you could almost see that thought turn in him as he turned, and pace in him as he paced; so completely possessing him, indeed, that it all but seemed the inward mould of every outer movement. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Ahab still stood like an anvil, receiving every shock, but without the least quivering of his own. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

But what it was that inscrutable Ahab said to that tiger-yellow crew of his - these were words best omitted here; for you live under the blessed light of the evangelical land. Only the infidel sharks in the audacious seas may give ear to such words, when, with tornado brow, and eyes of red murder, and foam-glued lips, Ahab leaped after his prey. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Over his ivory-inlaid table, Ahab presided like a mute, maned sea-lion on the white coral beach, surrounded by his warlike but still deferential cubs. In his own proper turn, each officer waited to be served. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Reality outran apprehension; Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Ahab is for ever Ahab, man. This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant, I act under orders. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Here some one thrust these cards into these old hands of mine, swears that I must play them, and no others. And damn me, Ahab, but thou actest right, live in the game, and die in it. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Ahab's above the common; Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Come aboard, come aboard!" cried the gay Bachelor's commander, lifting a glass and a bottle in the air. "Hast seen the White Whale?" gritted Ahab in reply. "No; only heard of him; but don't believe in him at all," said the other good-humoredly. "Come aboard!" "Thou art too damned jolly. Sail on. Hast lost any men?" "Not enough to speak of - two islanders, that's all; - but come aboard, old hearty, come along. I'll soon take that black from your brow. Come along, will ye (merry's the play); a full ship and homeward-bound." "How wondrous familiar is a fool!" muttered Ahab; then aloud, "Thou art a full ship and homeward bound, thou sayest; well, then, call me an empty ship, and outward-bound. So go thy ways, and I will mine. Forward there! Set all sail, and keep her to the wind! — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

His three boats stove around him, and oars and men both whirling in the eddies; one captain, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the whale, as an Arkansas duellist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the whale. That captain was Ahab. And then it was, that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw benieath him, Moby Dick had reaped away Ahab's leg. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

blow your trump - blister your lungs! - Ahab will dam off your blood, as a miller shuts his watergate upon the stream! — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Thou hast but enraged, not insulted me, sir; but for that I ask thee not to beware of Starbuck; thou wouldst but laugh; but let Ahab beware of Ahab; beware of thyself, old man. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Richard Armour

You would do well to turn from Chapter XXXVI to Chapter CXXXIII without further delay, thus saving nearly a hundred chapters without anybody's knowing the difference if you keep quiet. After all, Ahab isn't the only one entitled to be a skipper. — Richard Armour

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

What do ye do when ye see a whale, men?"
"Sing out for him!" was the impulsive rejoinder from a score of clubbed voices.
"Good!" cried Ahab, with a wild approval in his tones; observing the hearty animation into which his unexpected question had so magnetically thrown them.
"And what do ye next, men?"
"Lower away, and after him!"
"And what tune is it ye pull to, men?"
"A dead whale or a stove boat! — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

One captain, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the whale, as an Arkansas duelist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six-inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the whale. That captain was Ahab. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Nevertheless, ere long, the warm, warbling persuasiveness of the pleasant, holiday weather we came to, seemed gradually to charm him from his mood. For, as when the red-cheeked, dancing girls, April and May, trip home to the wintry, misanthropic woods; even the barest, ruggedest, most thunder-cloven old oak will at least send forth some few green sprouts, to welcome such gladhearted visitants; so Ahab did, in the end, a little respond to the playful allurings of that girlish air. More than once did he put forth the faint blossom of a look, which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a smile. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

But the third Emir, now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-deck, seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe right over the Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the deck, reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music. But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask enters King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the Slave. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

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 hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this 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. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

Tied up and twisted; gnarled and knotted with wrinkles; haggardly firm and unyielding; his eyes glowing like coals, that still glow in the ashes of ruin; untottering Ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl's forehead of heaven. Oh, — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

But Ahab's glance was averted; like a blighted fruit tree he shook, and cast his last, cindered apple to the soil. — Herman Melville

Melville Ahab Quotes By Herman Melville

For, thought Ahab, while even the highest earthly felicities ever have a certain unsignifying pettiness lurking in them, but, at bottom, all heartwoes, a mystic significance, and, in some men, an archangelic grandeur; so do their diligent tracings-out not blue the obvious deduction. To trail the genealogies of these high mortal miseries, carries us at last among the sourceless primogenitures of the gods; so that, in the face of all the glad, hay-making suns, and the softcymballing, round the harvest-moons, we must needs give in to this: that the gods themselves are not for ever glad. The ineffaceable, sad birth-mark in the brow of man, is but the stamp of sorrow in the signers. — Herman Melville