beyond normal limits
For, owing to the large number of whale-cruisers; the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling sail of any sort; the
inordinate length of each separate voyage.
sudden shock or dismay that causes confusion
And as if the now tested reality of his might had in former legendary times thrown its shadow before it; we find some book naturalists -- Olassen and Povelson -- declaring the Sperm Whale not only to be a
consternation to every other creature in the sea, but also to be so incredibly ferocious as continually to be athirst for human blood.
a variation in circumstances or fortune
And however the general experiences in the fishery may amend such reports as these; yet in their full terribleness, even to the bloodthirsty item of Povelson, the superstitious belief in them is, in some
vicissitudes of their vocation, revived in the minds of the hunters.
being present everywhere at once
One of the wild suggestings referred to, as at last coming to be linked with the White Whale in the minds of the superstitiously inclined, was the unearthly conceit that Moby Dick was
ubiquitous; that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at one and the same instant of time.
having or showing profound knowledge
For as the secrets of the currents in the seas have never yet been divulged, even to the most
erudite research; so the hidden ways of the Sperm Whale when beneath the surface remain, in great part, unaccountable to his pursuers; and from time to time have originated the most curious and contradictory speculations regarding them, especially concerning the mystic modes whereby, after sounding to a great depth, he transports himself with such vast swiftness to the most widely distant points.
identifying words by which someone or something is called
The rest of his body was so streaked, and spotted, and marbled with the same shrouded hue, that, in the end, he had gained his distinctive
appellation of the White Whale; a name, indeed, literally justified by his vivid aspect, when seen gliding at high noon through a dark blue sea, leaving a milky-way wake of creamy foam, all spangled with golden gleamings.
cause physical pain or suffering in
No turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have
smote him with more seeming malice.
affecting the body as opposed to the mind or spirit
Then, in darting at the monster, knife in hand, he had but given loose to a sudden, passionate,
corporal animosity; and when he received the stroke that tore him, he probably but felt the agonizing bodily laceration, but nothing more.
struck with fear, dread, or consternation
Had any one of his old acquaintances on shore but half dreamed of what was lurking in him then, how soon would their
aghast and righteous souls have wrenched the ship from such a fiendish man!
disposed to venture or take risks
He was intent on an
audacious, immitigable, and supernatural revenge.
lofty in style
Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal pre-eminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title 'Lord of the White Elephants' above all their other
magniloquent ascriptions of dominion.
offensive to the mind
That ghastly whiteness it is which imparts such an
abhorrent mildness, even more loathsome than terrific, to the dumb gloating of their aspect.
a large web-footed bird noted for powerful gliding flight
Bethink thee of the
albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual wonderment and pale dread, in which that white phantom sails in all imaginations?
having great beauty
The flashing cascade of his mane, the curving comet of his tail, invested him with housings more
resplendent than gold and silver-beaters could have furnished him.
having existed from the beginning
A most imperial and archangelical apparition of that unfallen, western world, which to the eyes of the old trappers and hunters revived the glories of those
primeval times when Adam walked majestic as a god, bluff-bowed and fearless as this mighty steed.
a band of warriors
Whether marching amid his aides and marshals in the van of countless
cohorts that endlessly streamed it over the plains, like an Ohio; or whether with his circumambient subjects browsing all around at the horizon, the White Steed gallopingly reviewed them with warm nostrils reddening through his cool milkiness; in whatever aspect he presented himself, always to the bravest Indians he was the object of trembling reverence and awe.
capable of being perceived
Nor, in quite other aspects, does Nature in her least
palpable but not the less malicious agencies, fail to enlist among her forces this crowning attribute of the terrible.
a feeling of alarm or dread
It cannot well be doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of the dead which most appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering there; as if indeed that pallor were as much like the badge of consternation in the other world, as of mortal
an illusory feat
Not so the sailor, beholding the scenery of the Antarctic seas; where at times, by some infernal trick of
legerdemain in the powers of frost and air, he, shivering and half shipwrecked, instead of rainbows speaking hope and solace to his misery, views what seems a boundless church-yard grinning upon him with its lean ice monuments and splintered crosses.
a socially awkward or tactless act
I assert, then, that in the wondrous bodily whiteness of the bird chiefly lurks the secret of the spell; a truth the more evinced in this, that by a
solecism of terms there are birds called grey albatrosses; and these I have frequently seen, but never with such emotions as when I beheld the Antarctic fowl.
temperamentally seeking and enjoying the company of others
Even now I am certain that those seas are not, and perhaps never can be, in the present constitution of things, a place for his habitual
unhealthy vapors rising from the ground or other sources
In the instance where three years intervened between the flinging of the two harpoons; and I think it may have been something more than that; the man who darted them happening, in the interval, to go in a trading ship on a voyage to Africa, went ashore there, joined a discovery party, and penetrated far into the interior, where he travelled for a period of nearly two years, often endangered by serpents, savages, tigers, poisonous
miasmas, with all the other common perils.
unwillingness to tell lies
Here are three instances, then, which I personally know the truth of; but I have heard of many other instances from persons whose
veracity in the matter there is no good ground to impeach.
quickly aroused to anger
Like some poor devils ashore that happen to know an
irascible great man, they make distant unobtrusive salutations to him in the street, lest if they pursued the acquaintance further, they might receive a summary thump for their presumption.
cleverly amusing in tone
Secondly: People ashore have indeed some indefinite idea that a whale is an enormous creature of enormous power; but I have ever found that when narrating to them some specific example of this two-fold enormousness, they have significantly complimented me upon my facetiousness; when, I declare upon my soul, I had no more idea of being
facetious than Moses, when he wrote the history of the plagues of Egypt.
a statement attributing something dishonest
From even the barely hinted
imputation of usurpation, and the possible consequences of such a suppressed impression gaining ground, Ahab must of course have been most anxious to protect himself.
highest in quality
Not only that, but the subtle insanity of Ahab respecting Moby Dick was noways more significantly manifested than in his
superlative sense and shrewdness in foreseeing that, for the present, the hunt should in some way be stripped of that strange imaginative impiousness which naturally invested it; that the full terror of the voyage must be kept withdrawn into the obscure background (for few men's courage is proof against protracted meditation unrelieved by action); that when they stood their lo
For however eagerly and impetuously the savage crew had hailed the announcement of his quest; yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less
capricious and unreliable -- they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness -- and when retained for any object remote and blank in the pursuit, however promissory of life and passion in the end, it is above all things requisite that temporary interests and employment should intervene.
tending to vanish like vapor
In times of strong emotion mankind disdain all base considerations; but such times are
being quiet or still or inactive
They may scorn cash now; but let some months go by, and no perspective promise of it to them, and then this same
quiescent cash all at once mutinying in them, this same cash would soon cashier Ahab.