Some chapters back, one Bulkington was spoken of, a tall, newlanded mariner,
encountered in New Bedford at the inn.
When on that shivering winter’s night, the Pequod thrust her vindictive bow_nto the cold malicious waves, who should I see standing at her helm bu_ulkington! I looked with sympathetic awe and fearfulness upon the man, who i_id-winter just landed from a four years’ dangerous voyage, could s_nrestingly push off again for still another tempestuous term. The land seeme_corching to his feet. Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; dee_emories yield no epitaphs; this six-inch chapter is the stoneless grave o_ulkington. Let me only say that it fared with him as with the storm-tosse_hip, that miserably drives along the leeward land. The port would fain giv_uccor; the port is pitiful; in the port is safety, comfort, hearthstone,
supper, warm blankets, friends, all that’s kind to our mortalities. But i_hat gale, the port, the land, is that ship’s direst jeopardy; she must fl_ll hospitality; one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would mak_er shudder through and through. With all her might she crowds all sail of_hore; in so doing, fights ‘gainst the very winds that fain would blow he_omeward; seeks all the lashed sea’s landlessness again; for refuge’s sak_orlornly rushing into peril; her only friend her bitterest foe!
Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortall_ntolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effor_f the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest wind_f heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?
But as in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinit_s God—so better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than b_ngloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like,
then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all thi_gony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly,
demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing—straight up, leaps th_potheosis!