February 9, 2016
For did ye three but once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, that had perhaps expired from out me. Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. Perchance ye need it not. Down lances! And now, ye mates, I do appoint ye three cupbearers to my three pagan kinsmen there—yon three most honourable gentlemen and noblemen, my valiant harpooneers.
Disdain the task? What, when the great Pope washes the feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer? Oh, my sweet cardinals! your own condescension, THAT shall bend ye to it. I do not order ye; ye will it. Cut your seizings and draw the poles, ye harpooners!”
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
— Henry David Thoreau
But there was not much chance to think over the matter, for Captain Peleg was now all alive. He seemed to do most of the talking and commanding, and not Bildad.
“Aft here, ye sons of bachelors,” he cried, as the sailors lingered at the main-mast. “Mr. Starbuck, drive’em aft.”
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- “Strike the tent there!”—was the next order. As I hinted before, this whalebone marquee was never pitched except in port.
- and on board the Pequod, for thirty years, the order to strike the tent was well known to be the next thing to heaving up the anchor.
- “Man the capstan! Blood and thunder!—jump!”—was the next command, and the crew sprang for the handspikes.
Silently obeying the order, the three harpooneers now stood with the detached iron part of their harpoons, some three feet long, held, barbs up, before him.