25 November 2012

Willy Nilly

By compulsion...the will is nill.


By the Mainmast; Starbuck leaning against it. My soul is more than matched; she's overmanned; and by a madman! Insufferable sting, that sanity should ground arms on such a field! But he drilled deep down, and blasted all my reason out of me! I think I see his impious end; but feel that I must help him to it. Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing has tied me to him; tows me with a cable I have no knife to cut. Horrible old man! Who's over him, he cries; --aye, he would be a democrat to all above; look, how he lords it over all below! Oh! I plainly see my miserable office, --to obey, rebelling; and worse yet, to hate with touch of pity! For in his eyes I read some lurid woe would shrivel me up, had I it. Yet is there hope. Time and tide flow wide. The hated whale has the round watery world to swim in, as the small gold-fish has its glassy globe. His heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside. I would up heart, were it not like lead. But my whole clock's run down; my heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.

[ A burst of revelry from the forecastle.] Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen crew that have small touch of human mothers in them! Whelped somewhere by the sharkish sea. The white whale is their demigorgon. Hark! the infernal orgies! that revelry is forward! mark the unfaltering silence aft! Methinks it pictures life. Foremost through the sparkling sea shoots on the gay, embattled, bantering bow, but only to drag dark Ahab after it, where he broods within his sternward cabin, builded over the dead water of the wake, and further on, hunted by its wolfish gurglings. The long howl thrills me through! Peace! ye revellers, and set the watch! Oh, life! 'tis in an hour like this, with soul beat down and held to knowledge, --as wild, untutored things are forced to feed --Oh, life! 'tis now that I do feel the latent horror in thee! but 'tis not me! that horror's out of me! and with the soft feeling of the human in me, yet will I try to fight ye, ye grim, phantom futures! Stand by me, hold me, bind me, O ye blessed influences!


"Alas, then, she is drown'd?"--Laertes

      First Clown
  1   Is she to be buried in Christian burial that
  2   willfully seeks her own salvation?
      Second Clown
  3   I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave
  4   straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
  5   Christian burial.
      First Clown
  6   How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her
  7   own defence?
      Second Clown
  8   Why, 'tis found so.
      First Clown
  9   It must be "se offendendo"; it cannot be else.
 10   For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly,
 11   it argues an act: and an act hath three branches: it
 12   is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
 13   herself wittingly.
      Second Clown
 14   Nay, but hear you, goodman delver—
      First Clown
 15   Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here
 16   stands the man; good; if the man go to this water,
 17   and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he
 18   goes—mark you that; but if the water come to him
 19   and drown him, he drowns not himself: argal, he
 20   that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
      Second Clown
 21   But is this law?
      First Clown
 22   Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest law.
      Second Clown
 23   Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been
 24   a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o'
 25   Christian burial.
      First Clown
 26   Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity that great
 27   folk should have countenance in this world to drown
 28   or hang themselves, more than their even-Christian.
 29   Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentleman
 30   but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they
 31   hold up Adam's profession.

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