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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesMoby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 69 The Funeral.
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Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 69 The Funeral. Post by :Keith647 Category :Long Stories Author :Herman Melville Date :February 2011 Read :2365

Click below to download : Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 69 The Funeral. (Format : PDF)

Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 69 The Funeral.

Haul in the chains! Let the carcase go astern!

The vast tackles have now done their duty. The peeled white body of
the beheaded whale flashes like a marble sepulchre; though changed in
hue, it has not perceptibly lost anything in bulk. It is still
colossal. Slowly it floats more and more away, the water round it
torn and splashed by the insatiate sharks, and the air above vexed
with rapacious flights of screaming fowls, whose beaks are like so
many insulting poniards in the whale. The vast white headless
phantom floats further and further from the ship, and every rod that
it so floats, what seem square roods of sharks and cubic roods of
fowls, augment the murderous din. For hours and hours from the
almost stationary ship that hideous sight is seen. Beneath the
unclouded and mild azure sky, upon the fair face of the pleasant sea,
wafted by the joyous breezes, that great mass of death floats on and
on, till lost in infinite perspectives.

There's a most doleful and most mocking funeral! The sea-vultures
all in pious mourning, the air-sharks all punctiliously in black or
speckled. In life but few of them would have helped the whale, I
ween, if peradventure he had needed it; but upon the banquet of his
funeral they most piously do pounce. Oh, horrible vultureism of
earth! from which not the mightiest whale is free.

Nor is this the end. Desecrated as the body is, a vengeful ghost
survives and hovers over it to scare. Espied by some timid
man-of-war or blundering discovery-vessel from afar, when the
distance obscuring the swarming fowls, nevertheless still shows the
white mass floating in the sun, and the white spray heaving high
against it; straightway the whale's unharming corpse, with trembling
fingers is set down in the log--SHOALS, ROCKS, AND BREAKERS
HEREABOUTS: BEWARE! And for years afterwards, perhaps, ships shun
the place; leaping over it as silly sheep leap over a vacuum, because
their leader originally leaped there when a stick was held. There's
your law of precedents; there's your utility of traditions; there's
the story of your obstinate survival of old beliefs never bottomed on
the earth, and now not even hovering in the air! There's orthodoxy!

Thus, while in life the great whale's body may have been a real
terror to his foes, in his death his ghost becomes a powerless panic
to a world.

Are you a believer in ghosts, my friend? There are other ghosts than
the Cock-Lane one, and far deeper men than Doctor Johnson who believe
in them.

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