Home  »  Moby-Dick  »  The Deck Toward the End of the First Night-Watch

Joseph Friedlander, comp. The Standard Book of Jewish Verse. 1917.

Chapter CXX

The Deck Toward the End of the First Night-Watch

(Ahab standing by the helm. Starbuck approaching him.)

‘WE must send down the main-topsail-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 skysail poles, I ’d sway them up now.’

‘Sir?—in God’s name!—sir?’


‘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 tablelands 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-topsail-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!’