Tuesday, December 22, 2009

when melville mentioned christmas in the midst of "or, the whale"...



"at last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided. it was a short, cold christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor. the long rows of teeth on the bulwarks glistened in the moonlight; and like the white ivory tusks of some huge elephant, vast curving icicles depended from the bows.

lank bildad, as pilot, headed the first watch, and ever and anon, as the old craft deep dived into the green seas, and sent the shivering frost all over her, and the winds howled, and the cordage rang, his steady notes were heard,-

"sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
stand dressed in living green.
so to the jews old canaan stood,
while jordan rolled between."

never did those sweet words sound more sweetly to me than then. they were full of hope and fruition. spite of this frigid winter night in the boisterous atlantic, spite of my wet feet and wetter jacket, there was yet, it then seemed to me, many a pleasant haven in store; and meads and glades so eternally vernal, that the grass shot up by the spring, untrodden, unwilted, remains at mid-summer."

text: moby dick.
images: top, richard platt, bottom, d. gentleman, both 1950's from ark, issue 7, journal of the royal college of art.

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Blogger ArtSparker said...

The vitality of the piece at top is something to behold.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Things Is Cool said...

Love the illustrations.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Rob Mullender said...

reading phillip hoare's book right now. heartbreaking stuff.

1:57 PM  

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