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.
having or displaying great dignity or nobility
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.
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.
providing protective supervision
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.
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.
a person who is part mortal and part divine
If I claim the
demigod then, why not the prophet?
Possibly, too, Jonah might have
ensconced himself in a hollow tooth; but, on second thoughts, the Right Whale is toothless.
lacking due respect or dutifulness
I say it only shows his foolish,
impious pride, and abominable, devilish rebellion against the reverend clergy.
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.
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."
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.
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.
one of several parallel layers of material
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.
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.
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.
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.
demand and take for use or service
Hence it is, that at times like these the drugg, comes into
restrain with shackles
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.
someone who has been legally convicted of a crime
They were cramped like
malefactors with the chain and ball.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
excessively greedy and grasping
What to the
rapacious landlord is the widow's last mite but a Fast-Fish?
compensation received by virtue of holding an office
Holding the office directly from the crown, I believe, all the royal
emoluments incident to the Cinque Port territories become by assignment his.
an office that involves minimal duties
By some writers this office is called a
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?