TAHITAN sailor (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 Pirohitee’s 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 pistol— fire your ship right into it!
Blood! but that old man’s a grand old cove! We are the lads to hunt him up his whale!
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 crew’s 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 birthmark; look yonder, boys, there’s another in the sky lurid—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.) Aye, harpooneer, thy race is the undeniable dark side of mankind—devilish dark at that. No offence.
That Spaniard’s mad or drunk. But that can’t be, or else in his one case our old Mogul’s fire-waters are somewhat long in working.
5Th Nantucket sailor
What’s that I saw—lightning? Yes.