be appropriate or necessary
Since I have undertaken to manhandle this Leviathan, it
behooves me to approve myself omnisciently exhaustive in the enterprise; not overlooking the minutest seminal germs of his blood, and spinning him out to the uttermost coil of his bowels.
being truly so called; real or genuine
veritable witness have you hitherto been, Ishmael; but have a care how you seize the privilege of Jonah alone; the privilege of discoursing upon the joists and beams; the rafters, ridge-pole, sleepers, and under-pinnings, making up the frame-work of leviathan; and belike of the tallow-vats, dairy-rooms, butteries, and cheeseries in his bowels.
characterized by abundance of verdure
Chief among these latter was a great Sperm Whale, which, after an unusually long raging gale, had been found dead and stranded, with his head against a cocoa-nut tree, whose plumage-like, tufted droopings seemed his
reports of the work of a society or learned body
The ribs were hung with trophies; the vertebrae were carved with Arsacidean
annals, in strange hieroglyphics; in the skull, the priests kept up an unextinguished aromatic flame, so that the mystic head again sent forth its vapoury spout; while, suspended from a bough, the terrific lower jaw vibrated over all the devotees, like the hair-hung sword that so affrighted Damocles.
a writing system using picture symbols
The ribs were hung with trophies; the vertebrae were carved with Arsacidean annals, in strange
hieroglyphics; in the skull, the priests kept up an unextinguished aromatic flame, so that the mystic head again sent forth its vapoury spout; while, suspended from a bough, the terrific lower jaw vibrated over all the devotees, like the hair-hung sword that so affrighted Damocles.
using exactly the same words
The skeleton dimensions I shall now proceed to set down are copied
verbatim from my right arm, where I had them tattooed; as in my wild wanderings at that period, there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics.
reduced in strength
How vain and foolish, then, thought I, for timid untravelled man to try to comprehend aright this wondrous whale, by merely poring over his dead
attenuated skeleton, stretched in this peaceful wood.
Since I have undertaken to manhandle this Leviathan, it behooves me to approve myself
omnisciently exhaustive in the enterprise; not overlooking the minutest seminal germs of his blood, and spinning him out to the uttermost coil of his bowels.
lofty in style
Applied to any other creature than the Leviathan—to an ant or a flea—such portly terms might justly be deemed unwarrantably
a treatise advancing a point of view resulting from research
And here be it said, that whenever it has been convenient to consult one in the course of these
dissertations, I have invariably used a huge quarto edition of Johnson, expressly purchased for that purpose; because that famous lexicographer's uncommon personal bulk more fitted him to compile a lexicon to be used by a whale author like me.
coming third in position
Likewise, by way of preliminary, I desire to remind the reader, that while in the earlier geological strata there are found the fossils of monsters now almost completely extinct; the subsequent relics discovered in what are called the
Tertiary formations seem the connecting, or at any rate intercepted links, between the antichronical creatures, and those whose remote posterity are said to have entered the Ark; all the Fossil Whales hitherto discovered belong to the
Tertiary period, which is the
all future generations
Yea, more than equally, thought Ahab; since both the ancestry and
posterity of Grief go further than the ancestry and
posterity of Joy.
dig up for reburial or for medical investigation
Among the more curious of such remains is part of a skull, which in the year 1779 was
disinterred in the Rue Dauphine in Paris, a short street opening almost directly upon the palace of the Tuileries; and bones
disinterred in excavating the great docks of Antwerp, in Napoleon's time.
a stronghold for shelter during a battle
Here Saturn's grey chaos rolls over me, and I obtain dim, shuddering glimpses into those Polar eternities; when wedged
bastions of ice pressed hard upon what are now the Tropics; and in all the 25,000 miles of this world's circumference, not an inhabitable hand's breadth of land was visible.
composed of or containing bone
Nor must there be omitted another strange attestation of the antiquity of the whale, in his own
osseous post-diluvian reality, as set down by the venerable John Leo, the old Barbary traveller.
Inasmuch, then, as this Leviathan comes floundering down upon us from the head-waters of the Eternities, it may be fitly inquired, whether, in the long course of his generations, he has not
degenerated from the original bulk of his sires.
dig up for reburial or for medical investigation
Of all the pre-adamite whales yet
exhumed, by far the largest is the Alabama one mentioned in the last chapter, and that was less than seventy feet in length in the skeleton.
violent and needless disturbance
Whether owing to the almost omniscient look-outs at the mast-heads of the whaleships, now penetrating even through Behring's straits, and into the remotest secret drawers and lockers of the world; and the thousand harpoons and lances darted along all continental coasts; the moot point is, whether Leviathan can long endure so wide a chase, and so remorseless a
producing a sizeable profit
Nor, considered aright, does it seem any argument in favour of the gradual extinction of the Sperm Whale, for example, that in former years (the latter part of the last century, say) these Leviathans, in small pods, were encountered much oftener than at present, and, in consequence, the voyages were not so prolonged, and were also much more
based on an incorrect or misleading notion or information
fallacious seems the conceit, that because the so-called whale-bone whales no longer haunt many grounds in former years abounding with them, hence that species also is declining.
a ruler who is unconstrained by law
But be all this as it may; let the unseen, ambiguous synod in the air, or the vindictive princes and
potentates of fire, have to do or not with earthly Ahab, yet, in this present matter of his leg, he took plain practical procedures;—he called the carpenter.
have or develop complicating consequences
Yet was this half-horrible stolidity in him, involving, too, as it appeared, an all-
ramifying heartlessness;—yet was it oddly dashed at times, with an old, crutch-like, antediluvian, wheezing humorousness, not unstreaked now and then with a certain grizzled wittiness; such as might have served to pass the time during the midnight watch on the bearded forecastle of Noah's ark.
a mechanism that can move independently of external control
Yet, as previously hinted, this omnitooled, open-and-shut carpenter, was, after all, no mere machine of an
a vessel used for high temperature chemical reactions
I'll get a
crucible, and into it, and dissolve myself down to one small, compendious vertebra.
speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
Thou art always
prating to me, Starbuck, about those miserly owners, as if the owners were my conscience.
walking by a person who is asleep
And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters' Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams,
somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness.
an irritable feeling
No murmur, no impatience, no
petulance did come from him.
a feeling of deep regret, usually for some misdeed
Death seems the only desirable sequel for a career like this; but Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried; it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the immense Remote, the Wild, the Watery, the Unshored; therefore, to the death-longing eyes of such men, who still have left in them some interior
compunctions against suicide.
a heavy block on which hot metals are shaped by hammering
"There's the stuff," flinging the pouch upon the
relating to or characteristic of or befitting an offspring
These are the times, when in his whale-boat the rover softly feels a certain
filial, confident, land-like feeling towards the sea; that he regards it as so much flowery earth; and the distant ship revealing only the tops of her masts, seems struggling forward, not through high rolling waves, but through the tall grass of a rolling prairie: as when the western emigrants' horses only show their erected ears, while their hidden bodies widely wade through the amazing verdure.