The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab sitting alone, and gazing out.
leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where'er I
sail. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them;
but first I pass.
Yonder, by ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm
waves blush like wine. The gold brow plumbs the blue. The diver sun-
slow dived from noon- goes down; my soul mounts up! she wearies with her
endless hill. Is, then, the crown too heavy that I wear? this Iron
Crown of Lombardy. Yet is it bright with many a gem; I the wearer, see
not its far flashings; but darkly feel that I wear that, that dazzlingly
confounds. 'Tis iron- that I know- not gold. 'Tis split, too- that I
feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain seems to beat against the
solid metal; aye, steel skull, mine; the sort that needs no helmet in
the most brain-battering fight!
Dry heat upon my brow? Oh! time
was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed. No
more. This lovely light, it lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to
me, since I can ne'er enjoy. Gifted with the high perception, I lack the
low, enjoying power; damned, most subtly and most malignantly! damned
in the midst of Paradise! Good night-good night! (waving his hand, he
moves from the window.)
'Twas not so hard a task. I thought to
find one stubborn, at the least; but my one cogged circle fits into all
their various wheels, and they revolve. Or, if you will, like so many
ant-hills of powder, they all stand before me; and I their match. Oh,
hard! that to fire others, the match itself must needs be wasting! What
I've dared, I've willed; and what I've willed, I'll do! They think me
mad- Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild
madness that's only calm to comprehend itself! The prophecy was that I
should be dismembered; and- Aye! I lost this leg. I now prophesy that I
will dismember my dismemberer. Now, then, be the prophet and the
fulfiller one. That's more than ye, ye great gods, ever were. I laugh
and hoot at ye, ye cricket-players, ye pugilists, ye deaf Burkes and
blinded Bendigoes! I will not say as schoolboys do to bullies- Take some
one of your own size; don't pommel me! No, ye've knocked me down, and I
am up again; but ye have run and hidden. Come forth from behind your
cotton bags! I have no long gun to reach ye. Come, Ahab's compliments to
ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me,
else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my
fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to
run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains,
under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's
an angle to the iron way!
It is three o'clock in the afternoon at the moment as I sit here typing these words. I'm almost at the end of my work day. One class to teach. Ahab, at the end of a long day, is sitting at the windows in his cabin, contemplating the setting sun, knowing full well that he is not just mad--he is madness maddened. Driven to the edges of sanity by his need to dismember his dismemberer. Ahab is on a straight path to Moby Dick, without swerving.
It's a strange little chapter. Suddenly, Ishmael sinks into the background, and Melville, the omniscient narrator, takes over, stepping into Ahab's head. Giving the reader a glimpse of the depth of his psychosis. In some ways, it reads like a blog post. Ahab is in his cabin, watching the sun sink into the ocean, tapping away at his laptop. The name of his blog is probably something like, "My Lost Leg" or "Hunting the Spouting Satan" or "Vengeance and Grog."
My post this evening is simpler and more joyful. My friend, who received bad news from Mayo Clinic earlier this week, spoke with her doctor in Green Bay today who told her that she had nothing to worry about. A simple surgery to remove the problem from her body. My friend is over the moon ecstatic. She has gone from drawing up a bucket list to planning a trip to a Bigfoot convention.
I want to thank anybody and everybody who sent up positive thoughts/prayers/energy for my friend this past week. Last night, as I was badgering my favorite saint, Anthony, I told him that my friend needed a miracle. A bona fide miracle. No messing around. This afternoon, Saint Anthony came through. The news was a bolt of joyful lightning in my phone.
So, while Ahab is contemplating death and dismemberment at sundown, I am sending praise and thank yous to the stars. Life is so strange. A seeming death sentence at the beginning of the week. A hurricane of healing this midweek day. I'm reminded of the story of the lepers cured by Christ in the Bible. When they discover they are cured, they run away from Jesus, dancing and singing. Only one of the lepers returns to thank Him.
Tonight, I am thanking Saint Anthony and the host of Bigfoot angels that I've sent pounding on heaven's doors these last few days.
Saint Marty is a believer. Miracles do happen.