Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 623 pages of information about Moby Dick.

Sacred
to the memory
of
Robert long, Willis Ellery,
Nathan Coleman, Walter Canny, Seth Macy,
and Samuel GLEIG,
Forming one of the boats’ crews
of
the ship Eliza
Who were towed out of sight by a Whale,
On the Off-shore Ground in the
Pacific,
December 31st, 1839. 
This marble
Is here placed by their surviving
shipmates.

Sacred
to the memory
of
The late
captain Ezekiel hardy,
Who in the bows of his boat was killed by a
Sperm Whale on the coast of Japan,
August 3d, 1833. 
This tablet
Is erected to his Memory
by
his widow.

Shaking off the sleet from my ice-glazed hat and jacket, I seated myself near the door, and turning sideways was surprised to see Queequeg near me.  Affected by the solemnity of the scene, there was a wondering gaze of incredulous curiosity in his countenance.  This savage was the only person present who seemed to notice my entrance; because he was the only one who could not read, and, therefore, was not reading those frigid inscriptions on the wall.  Whether any of the relatives of the seamen whose names appeared there were now among the congregation, I knew not; but so many are the unrecorded accidents in the fishery, and so plainly did several women present wear the countenance if not the trappings of some unceasing grief, that I feel sure that here before me were assembled those, in whose unhealing hearts the sight of those bleak tablets sympathetically caused the old wounds to bleed afresh.

Oh! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; who standing among flowers can say—­here, here lies my beloved; ye know not the desolation that broods in bosoms like these.  What bitter blanks in those black-bordered marbles which cover no ashes!  What despair in those immovable inscriptions!  What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave.  As well might those tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here.

In what census of living creatures, the dead of mankind are included; why it is that a universal proverb says of them, that they tell no tales, though containing more secrets than the Goodwin Sands! how it is that to his name who yesterday departed for the other world, we prefix so significant and infidel a word, and yet do not thus entitle him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies of this living earth; why the Life Insurance Companies pay death-forfeitures upon immortals; in what eternal, unstirring paralysis, and deadly, hopeless trance, yet lies antique Adam who died sixty round centuries ago; how it is that we still refuse to be comforted for those who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city.  All these things are not without their meanings.

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Project Gutenberg
Moby Dick: or, the White Whale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.