1. antiquity
    the historic period preceding the Middle Ages in Europe
    For according to King Juba, the military elephants of antiquity often hailed the morning with their trunks uplifted in the profoundest silence.
  2. gallant
    having or displaying great dignity or nobility
    The gallant Perseus, a son of Jupiter, was the first whaleman; and to the eternal honour of our calling be it said, that the first whale attacked by our brotherhood was not killed with any sordid intent.
  3. succor
    help in a difficult situation
    Those were the knightly days of our profession, when we only bore arms to succor the distressed, and not to fill men's lamp-feeders.
  4. tutelary
    providing protective supervision; watching over or safeguarding
    Thus, then, one of our own noble stamp, even a whaleman, is the tutelary guardian of England; and by good rights, we harpooneers of Nantucket should be enrolled in the most noble order of St. George.
  5. dubious
    fraught with uncertainty or doubt
    Whether to admit Hercules among us or not, concerning this I long remained dubious: for though according to the Greek mythologies, that antique Crockett and Kit Carson—that brawny doer of rejoicing good deeds, was swallowed down and thrown up by a whale; still, whether that strictly makes a whaleman of him, that might be mooted.
  6. demigod
    a person who is part mortal and part god
    If I claim the demigod then, why not the prophet?
  7. ensconce
    fix firmly
    Possibly, too, Jonah might have ensconced himself in a hollow tooth; but, on second thoughts, the Right Whale is toothless.
  8. impious
    lacking due respect or dutifulness
    I say it only shows his foolish, impious pride, and abominable, devilish rebellion against the reverend clergy.
  9. equanimity
    steadiness of mind under stress
    Look now at Stubb; a man who from his humorous, deliberate coolness and equanimity in the direst emergencies, was specially qualified to excel in pitchpoling.
  10. quaff
    to swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one draught
    Yea, verily, hearts alive, we'd brew choice punch in the spread of his spout-hole there, and from that live punch-bowl quaff the living stuff."
  11. vivify
    give new life or energy to
    If I say, that in any creature breathing is only a function indispensable to vitality, inasmuch as it withdraws from the air a certain element, which being subsequently brought into contact with the blood imparts to the blood its vivifying principle, I do not think I shall err; though I may possibly use some superfluous scientific words.
  12. anomalous
    deviating from the general or common order or type
    Anomalous as it may seem, this is precisely the case with the whale, who systematically lives, by intervals, his full hour and more (when at the bottom) without drawing a single breath, or so much as in any way inhaling a particle of air; for, remember, he has no gills.
  13. stratum
    one of several parallel layers of material arranged one on top of another (such as a layer of tissue or cells in an organism or a layer of sedimentary rock)
    The entire member seems a dense webbed bed of welded sinews; but cut into it, and you find that three distinct strata compose it:—upper, middle, and lower.
  14. corpulence
    the property of excessive fatness
    Fourth: Stealing unawares upon the whale in the fancied security of the middle of solitary seas, you find him unbent from the vast corpulence of his dignity, and kitten-like, he plays on the ocean as if it were a hearth.
  15. obsequious
    attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
    Unlike the Danes, these Orientals do not demand the obsequious homage of lowered top-sails from the endless procession of ships before the wind, which for centuries past, by night and by day, have passed between the islands of Sumatra and Java, freighted with the costliest cargoes of the east.
  16. contrivance
    a device or control that is very useful for a particular job
    All whaleboats carry certain curious contrivances, originally invented by the Nantucket Indians, called druggs.
  17. requisition
    demand and take for use or service, especially by military or public authority for public service
    Hence it is, that at times like these the drugg, comes into requisition.
  18. fetter
    restrain with fetters
    The first and second were successfully darted, and we saw the whales staggeringly running off, fettered by the enormous sidelong resistance of the towing drugg.
  19. malefactor
    someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
    They were cramped like malefactors with the chain and ball.
  20. inscrutable
    of an obscure nature
    And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yea, serenely revelled in dalliance and delight.
  21. disport
    occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion
    But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve round me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy.
  22. sunder
    break apart or in two, using violence
    It is sometimes the custom when fast to a whale more than commonly powerful and alert, to seek to hamstring him, as it were, by sundering or maiming his gigantic tail-tendon.
  23. lassitude
    a feeling of lack of interest or energy
    In good time, nevertheless, as the ardour of youth declines; as years and dumps increase; as reflection lends her solemn pauses; in short, as a general lassitude overtakes the sated Turk; then a love of ease and virtue supplants the love for maidens; our Ottoman enters upon the impotent, repentant, admonitory stage of life, forswears, disbands the harem, and grown to an exemplary, sulky old soul, goes about all alone among the meridians and parallels saying his prayers.
  24. vexatious
    causing irritation or annoyance
    Thus the most vexatious and violent disputes would often arise between the fishermen, were there not some written or unwritten, universal, undisputed law applicable to all cases.
  25. brevity
    the attribute of being brief or fleeting
    But what plays the mischief with this masterly code is the admirable brevity of it, which necessitates a vast volume of commentaries to expound it.
  26. doxology
    a hymn or verse in Christian liturgy glorifying God
    And when those defendants were remonstrated with, their captain snapped his fingers in the plaintiffs' teeth, and assured them that by way of doxology to the deed he had done, he would now retain their line, harpoons, and boat, which had remained attached to the whale at the time of the seizure.
  27. rapacious
    excessively greedy and grasping
    What to the rapacious landlord is the widow's last mite but a Fast-Fish?
  28. emolument
    compensation received by virtue of holding an office or having employment (usually in the form of wages or fees)
    Holding the office directly from the crown, I believe, all the royal emoluments incident to the Cinque Port territories become by assignment his.
  29. sinecure
    an office that involves minimal duties
    By some writers this office is called a sinecure.
  30. redolent
    having a strong pleasant odor
    Must it not be to that famous elephant, with jewelled tusks, and redolent with myrrh, which was led out of an Indian town to do honour to Alexander the Great?