Herman Melville, Moby-Dick: Ch. 40

[+] | [-] | reset
 

Chapter 40. Midnight, Forecastle.

HARPOONEERS AND SAILORS.

(FORESAIL RISES AND DISCOVERS THE WATCH STANDING, LOUNGING, LEANING, AND LYING IN VARIOUS ATTITUDES, ALL SINGING IN CHORUS.)

     Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!
     Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain!
     Our captain's commanded.—

1ST NANTUCKET SAILOR. Oh, boys, don't be sentimental; it's bad for the digestion! Take a tonic, follow me! (SINGS, AND ALL FOLLOW)

    Our captain stood upon the deck,
    A spy-glass in his hand,
    A viewing of those gallant whales
    That blew at every strand.
    Oh, your tubs in your boats, my boys,
    And by your braces stand,
    And we'll have one of those fine whales,
    Hand, boys, over hand!
    So, be cheery, my lads! may your hearts never fail!
    While the bold harpooner is striking the whale!

MATE'S VOICE FROM THE QUARTER-DECK. Eight bells there, forward!

2ND NANTUCKET SAILOR. Avast the chorus! Eight bells there! d'ye hear, bell-boy? Strike the bell eight, thou Pip! thou blackling! and let me call the watch. I've the sort of mouth for that—the hogshead mouth. So, so, (THRUSTS HIS HEAD DOWN THE SCUTTLE,) Star-bo-l-e-e-n-s, a-h-o-y! Eight bells there below! Tumble up!

DUTCH SAILOR. Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that. I mark this in our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening to some as filliping to others. We sing; they sleep—aye, lie down there, like ground-tier butts. At 'em again! There, take this copper-pump, and hail 'em through it. Tell 'em to avast dreaming of their lasses. Tell 'em it's the resurrection; they must kiss their last, and come to judgment. That's the way—THAT'S it; thy throat ain't spoiled with eating Amsterdam butter.

FRENCH SAILOR. Hist, boys! let's have a jig or two before we ride to anchor in Blanket Bay. What say ye? There comes the other watch. Stand by all legs! Pip! little Pip! hurrah with your tambourine!

PIP. (SULKY AND SLEEPY) Don't know where it is.

FRENCH SAILOR. Beat thy belly, then, and wag thy ears. Jig it, men, I say; merry's the word; hurrah! Damn me, won't you dance? Form, now, Indian-file, and gallop into the double-shuffle? Throw yourselves! Legs! legs!

ICELAND SAILOR. I don't like your floor, maty; it's too springy to my taste. I'm used to ice-floors. I'm sorry to throw cold water on the subject; but excuse me.

MALTESE SAILOR. Me too; where's your girls? Who but a fool would take his left hand by his right, and say to himself, how d'ye do? Partners! I must have partners!

SICILIAN SAILOR. Aye; girls and a green!—then I'll hop with ye; yea, turn grasshopper!

LONG-ISLAND SAILOR. Well, well, ye sulkies, there's plenty more of us. Hoe corn when you may, say I. All legs go to harvest soon. Ah! here comes the music; now for it!

AZORE SAILOR. (ASCENDING, AND PITCHING THE TAMBOURINE UP THE SCUTTLE.) Here you are, Pip; and there's the windlass-bitts; up you mount! Now, boys! (THE HALF OF THEM DANCE TO THE TAMBOURINE; SOME GO BELOW; SOME SLEEP OR LIE AMONG THE COILS OF RIGGING. OATHS A-PLENTY.)