THE INTENSE Pequod sailed on; the rolling waves and days went by; the life-buoy coffin still lightly swung; and another ship, most miserably misnamed the Delight, was descried. As she drew nigh, all eyes were fixed upon her broad beams, called shears, which, in some whaling-ships, cross the quarter-deck at the height of eight or nine feet; serving to carry the spare, unrigged, or disabled boats.
Upon the strangers shears were beheld the shattered, white ribs, and some few splintered planks, of what had once been a whale-boat; but you now saw through this wreck, as plainly as you see through the peeled, half-unhinged, and bleaching skeleton of a horse.
Not forged! and snatching Perths levelled iron from the crotch, Ahab held it out, exclaimingLook ye, Nantucketer; here in this hand I hold his death! Tempered in blood, and tempered by lightning are these barbs; and I swear to temper them triply in that hot place behind the fin, where the White Whale most feels his accursed life!
Then God keep thee, old manseest thou thatpointing to the hammockI bury but one of five stout men, who were alive only yesterday; but were dead ere night. Only that one I bury; the rest were buried before they died; you sail upon their tomb. Then turning to his crewAre ye ready there? place the plank then on the rail, and lift the body; so, thenOh! Godadvancing toward the hammock with uplifted handsmay the resurrection and the life
But the suddenly started Pequod was not quick enough to escape the sound of the splash that the corpse soon made as it struck the sea; not so quick, indeed, but that some of the flying bubbles might have sprinkled her hull with their ghostly baptism.