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Chapter 111 The Pacific

  • When gliding by the Bashee isles we emerged at last upon the great South Sea;
  • were it not for other things I could have greeted my dear Pacific wit_ncounted thanks, for now the long supplication of my youth was answered; tha_erene ocean rolled eastwards from me a thousand leagues of blue.
  • There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awfu_tirrings seems to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fable_ndulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John. And mee_t is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters’
  • Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb an_low unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowne_reams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, li_reaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-
  • rolling waves but made so by their restlessness.
  • To any meditative Magian rover, this serene Pacific, once beheld, must eve_fter be the sea of his adoption. It rolls the midmost waters of the world,
  • the Indian ocean and Atlantic being but its arms. The same waves wash th_oles of the new-built California towns, but yesterday planted by th_ecentest race of men and lave the faded but still gorgeous skirts of Asiati_ands, older than Abraham; while all between float milky-ways of coral isles,
  • and low-lying, endless, unknown Archipelagoes, and impenetrable Japans. Thu_his mysterious, divine Pacific zones the world’s whole bulk about; makes al_oasts one bay to it; seems the tide-beating heart of earth. Lifted by thos_ternal swells, you needs must own the seductive god, bowing your head to Pan.
  • But few thoughts of Pan stirred Ahab’s brain, as standing, like an iron statu_t his accustomed place beside the mizen rigging, with one nostril h_nthinkingly snuffed the sugary musk from the Bashee isles (in whose swee_oods mild lovers must be walking), and with the other consciously inhaled th_alt breath of the new found sea; that sea in which the hated White Whale mus_ven then be swimming. Launched at length upon these almost final waters, an_liding towards the Japanese cruising-ground, the old man’s purpos_ntensified itself. His firm lips met like the lips of a vice; the Delta o_is forehead’s veins swelled like overladen brooks; in his very sleep, hi_inging cry ran through the vaulted hull, “Stern all! the White Whale spout_hick blood!”