|Herman Melville (18191891). Moby-Dick. 1922.|
HARPOONEERS AND SAILORS
(Foresail rises and discovers the watch standing, lounging, leaning, and lying in various attitudes, all singing in chorus.)
| ||Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!|
|Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain!|
| Our captains commanded.|| 1|
1ST NANTUCKET SAILOR.
Oh, boys, dont be sentimental; it s bad for the digestion! Take a tonic, follow me!
(Sings, and all follow.)
| Our captain stood upon the deck,|
| A spy-glass in his hand,|
| A-viewing of those gallant whales|
| That blew at every strand.|
| Oh, your tubs in your boats, my boys,|
| And by your braces stand,|
| And we ll have one of those fine whales,|
| Hand, boys, over hand!|
|So, be cheery, my lads! may your hearts never fail!|
|While the bold harpooner is striking the whale!|| 2|
MATES VOICE FROM THE QUARTER-DECK.
Eight bells there, forward!
2ND NANTUCKET SAILOR.
Avast the chorus! Eight bells there! d ye hear, bell-boy? Strike the bell eight, thou Pip! thou blackling! and let me call the watch. I ve the sort of mouth for thatthe hogshead mouth. So, so, (thrusts his head down the scuttle) Starboleens, ahoy! Eight bells there below! Tumble up!
Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that. I mark this in our old Moguls wine; it s quite as deadening to some as filliping to others. We sing; they sleepay, lie down there, like ground-tier butts. At em again! There, take this copper-pump, and hail em through it. Tell em to avast dreaming of their lasses. Tell em it s the resurrection; they must kiss their last, and come to judgment. That s the waythat s it; thy throat aint spoiled with eating Amsterdam butter.
Hist, boys! let s have a jig or two before we ride to anchor in Blanket Bay. What say ye? There comes the other watch. Stand by, all legs! Pip! little Pip! hurrah with your tambourine!
(Sulky and sleepy.)
Dont know where it is.
Beat thy belly, then, and wag thy ears. Jig it, men, I say; merry s the word; hurrah! Damn me, wont you dance? Form, now, Indian-file, and gallop into the double-shuffle! Throw yourselves! Legs! legs!
I dont like your floor, maty; it s too springy to my taste. I m used to ice-floors. I m sorry to throw cold water on the subject; but excuse me.
Me too; where s your girls? Who but a fool would take his left hand by his right, and say to himself, how d ye do? Partners! I must have partners!
Ay; girls and a green!then I ll hop with ye; yea, turn grasshopper!
Well, well, ye sulkies, there s plenty more of us. Hoe corn when you may, say I. All legs go to harvest soon. Ah! here comes the music; now for it!
(Ascending, and pitching the tambourine up the scuttle.)
Here you are, Pip; and there s the windlass-bitts; up you mount! Now, boys!
(The half of them dance to the tambourine; some go below; some sleep or lie among the coils of rigging. Oaths a-plenty.)
Go it, Pip! Bang it, bell-boy! Rig it, dig it, stig it, quig it, bell-boy! Make fire-flies; break the jinglers!
Jinglers, you say?there goes another, dropped off; I pound it so.
Rattle thy teeth, then, and pound away; make a pagoda of thyself.
Merry-mad! Hold up thy hoop, Pip, till I jump through it! Split jibs! tear yourselves!
That s a white man; he calls that fun: humph! I save my sweat.
OLD MANX SAILOR.
I wonder whether those jolly lads bethink them of what they are dancing over. I ll dance over your grave, I willthat s the bitterest threat of your night-women, that beat head-winds round corners. O Christ! to think of the green navies and the green-skulled crews! Well, well; belike the whole world s a ball, as you scholars have it; and so tis right to make one ball-room of it. Dance on, lads, you re young; I was once.
3RD NANTUCKET SAILOR.
Spell oh!whew! this is worse than pulling after whales in a calmgive us a whiff, Tash.
(They cease dancing, and gather in clusters. Meantime the sky darkensthe wind rises.)
By Brahma! boys, it ll be douse sail soon. The sky-born, high-tide Ganges turned to wind! Thou showest thy black brow, Seeva!
(Reclining and shaking his cap.)
It s the wavesthe snows caps turn to jig it now. They ll shake their tassels soon. Now would all the waves were women, then I d go drown, and chassee with them evermore! There s naught so sweet on earthheaven may not match it!as those swift glances of warm, wild bosoms in the dance, when the over-arbouring arms hide such ripe, bursting grapes.
Tell me not of it! Hark ye, ladfleet interlacings of the limbslithe swayingscoyingsflutterings! lip! heart! hip! all graze: unceasing touch and go! not taste, observe ye, else come satiety. Eh, Pagan? (Nudging.)
(Reclining on a mat.)
Hail, holy nakedness of our dancing girls!the Heeva-Heeva! Ah! low-veiled, high-palmed Tahiti! I still rest me on thy mat, but the soft soil has slid! I saw thee woven in the wood, my mat! green the first day I brought ye thence; now worn and wilted quite. Ah me!not thou nor I can bear the change! How then, if so be transplanted to yon sky? Hear I the roaring streams from Pirohitees peak of spears, when they leap down the crags and drown the villages?The blast! the blast! Up, spine, and meet it! (Leaps to his feet.)
How the sea rolls swashing gainst the side! Stand by for reefing, hearties! the winds are just crossing swords, pell-mell they ll go lunging presently.
Crack, crack, old ship! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest! Well done! The mate there holds ye to it stiffly. He s no more afraid than the isle fort at Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with storm-lashed guns, on which the sea-salt cakes!
4TH NANTUCKET SAILOR.
He has his orders, mind ye that. I heard old Ahab tell him he must always kill a squall, something as they burst a waterspout with a pistolfire your ship right into it!
Blood! but that old mans a grand old cove! We are the lads to hunt him up his whale!
OLD MANX SAILOR.
How the three pines shake! Pines are the hardest sort of tree to live when shifted to any other soil, and here there s none but the crews cursed clay. Steady, helmsman! steady. This is the sort of weather when brave hearts snap ashore, and keeled hulls split at sea. Our captain has his birth-mark; look yonder, boys, there s another in the skylurid-like, ye see, all else pitch black.
What of that? Who s afraid of black s afraid of me! I m quarried out of it!
(Aside.) He wants to bully, ah!the old grudge makes me touchy (Advancing.) Ay, harpooneer, thy race is the undeniable dark side of mankinddevilish dark at that. No offence.
ST. JAGOS SAILOR.
That Spaniard s mad or drunk. But that cant be, or else in his one case our old Moguls fire-waters are somewhat long in working.
5TH NANTUCKET SAILOR.
What s that I sawlightning? Yes.
No; Daggoo showing his teeth.
Swallow thine, mannikin! White skin, white liver!
SPANISH SAILOR (meeting him).
Knife thee heartily! big frame, small spirit!
A row! a row! a row!
TASHTEGO (with a whiff).
A row alow, and a row aloftGods and menboth brawlers! Humph!
A row! arrah a row! The Virgin be blessed, a row! Plunge in with ye!
Fair play! Snatch the Spaniards knife! A ring, a ring!
OLD MANX SAILOR.
Ready formed. There! the ringed horizon. In that ring Cain struck Abel. Sweet work, right work! No? Why then, God, madst thou the ring?
MATES VOICE FROM THE QUARTER-DECK.
Hands by the halyards! in top-gallant sails! Stand by to reef topsails!
The squall! the squall! jump, my jollies! (They scatter.)
PIP (shrinking under the windlass).
Jollies? Lord help such jollies! Crish, crash! there goes the jib-stay! Blang-whang! God! Duck lower, Pip, here comes the royal yard! It s worse than being in the whirled woods, the last day of the year! Who d go climbing after chestnuts now? But there they go, all cursing, and here I dont. Fine prospects to em; they re on the road to heaven. Hold on hard! Jimmini, what a squall! But those chaps there are worse yetthey are your white squalls, they. White squalls? white whale, shirr! shirr! Here have I heard all their chat just now, and the White Whaleshirr! shirr!but spoken of once! and only this eveningit makes me jingle all over like my tambourinethat anaconda of an old man swore em in to hunt him! Oh, thou big white God aloft there somewhere in yon darkness, have mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him from all men that have no bowels to feel fear!
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