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  Herman Melville
1819 - 1891

M o b y   D i c k ,
o r ,   t h e   W h a l e

1 8 5 1


C h a p t e r   1 2 0
T h e   D e c k   T o w a r d s   t h e   E n d  
o f   t h e   F i r s t   N i g h t   W a t c h .

     WE must send down the main-top-sail yard, sir. The band is working loose and the lee lift is half-stranded. Shall I strike it, sir?"
     "Strike nothing; lash it. If I had sky-sail poles, I'd sway them up now."
     "Sir! – in God's name! – sir?"
     "The anchors are working, sir. Shall I get them inboard?"
     "Strike nothing, and stir nothing, but lash everything. The wind rises, but it has not got up to my table-lands yet. Quick, and see to it. – By masts and keels! he takes me for the hunch-backed skipper of some coasting smack. Send down my main-top-sail yard! Ho, gluepots! Loftiest trucks were made for wildest winds, and this brain-truck of mine now sails amid the cloud-scud. Shall I strike that? Oh, none but cowards send down their brain-trucks in tempest time. What a hooroosh aloft there! I would e'en take it for sublime, did I not know that the colic is a noisy malady. Oh, take medicine, take medicine!"