Top Words

Click a word to see its frequency and other chapters in which it appears.

Word Occurrences
oil 3
light 2
lamps 2
dark 2
whaleman 2
works 2
try 2
pequod 2
lamp 2
hunts 2
sailor 1
merchantmen 1
eyes 1
hooded 1
flashing 1
shrine 1
score 1
scarce 1
milk 1
lot 1
usual 1
pallet 1
darkness 1
stumble 1
eat 1
seeks 1
dress 1
queens 1
muteness 1
chiselled 1
thought 1
would 1
moment 1
single 1
one 1
sleeping 1
watch 1
duty 1
forecastle 1
standing 1
some 1
mariner 1
vaults 1
oaken 1
triangular 1
lay 1
counsellors 1
kings 1
canonized 1
illuminated 1

Chapter 97: The Lamp.


Had you descended from the Pequod's try-works to the Pequod's
forecastle, where the off duty watch were sleeping, for one single
moment you would have almost thought you were standing in some
illuminated shrine of canonized kings and counsellors. There they lay
in their triangular oaken vaults, each mariner a chiselled muteness; a
score of lamps flashing upon his hooded eyes.

In merchantmen, oil for the sailor is more scarce than the milk of
queens. To dress in the dark, and eat in the dark, and stumble in
darkness to his pallet, this is his usual lot. But the whaleman, as he
seeks the food of light, so he lives in light. He makes his berth an
Aladdin's lamp, and lays him down in it; so that in the pitchiest night
the ship's black hull still houses an illumination.

See with what entire freedom the whaleman takes his handful of
lamps--often but old bottles and vials, though--to the copper cooler at
the try-works, and replenishes them there, as mugs of ale at a vat. He
burns, too, the purest of oil, in its unmanufactured, and, therefore,
unvitiated state; a fluid unknown to solar, lunar, or astral
contrivances ashore. It is sweet as early grass butter in April. He
goes and hunts for his oil, so as to be sure of its freshness and
genuineness, even as the traveller on the prairie hunts up his own
supper of game.