Posted by: Devin | September 18, 2012

Moby Dick Quotes #1

I just finished reading Moby Dick. WORTH reading. I feel smarter. Anyway, it’s full of great quotes and phrases. Here are ones I enjoyed.



“Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it?”

“A purse is but a rag unless you have something in it.”

“Who ain’t a slave? Tell me that.”

“I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.”

“…the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open.”


“In judging of that tempestuous wind called Euroclydon…it maketh a marvelous difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where the frost is all on the outsidxe, or whether thou observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and of which the wight Death is the only glazier.”

“…these eyes are windows, and this body of mine is the house.”

“…an ice-palace made of frozen sighs…he only drinks the tepid tears of orphans.”


“…had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched.”

“…you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted.”

“It would not do to be sellin’ human heads about the streets when folks is goin’ to churches.” (Spouter-Inn landlord)

“But could it be possible that any sober harpooneer would get into a door-mat, and parade the streets of any Christian town in that sort of guise?”

“Whether that mattress was stuffed with corn-cobs or broken crockery, there is no telling.”

“It’s only his outside; a man can be honest in any sort of skin.”

“A peddler of heads too–perhaps the heads of his own brothers. He might take a fancy to mine–heavens! Look at that tomahawk!”

“Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christia.”


“How it is that we still refuse to be comforted by those who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead.”

“Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.”

“Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.”


“Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation, he signifies his spiritual withdrawal for the time, from all outwar worldly ties and connections?”

“Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.”


“In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”

“Conscience is the wound, and there’s naught to staunch it.”

“Here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.”

“Yea, woe to him who…while preaching to others is himself a castaway!”


“Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically developed.”

“I’ll try a pagan friend…since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.”

“There is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.”


“…truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold.”

“Nothing exists in itself.”

“Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.”

“No man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essence.”


“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”


“That one most perilous and long voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a third, and so on, forever and for aye. Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.”

“Queequeg no-kill-e so small-e fish-e; Queequeg kill-e big whale!”


“Nantucket! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off shore, more lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse. Look at it–a mere hillock, and elbow of sand; all beach, without a background. There is more sand there than you would use in twenty years as a substitute for blotting-paper. Some gamesome wights will tell you that they have to plant weeds there, they don’t grow naturally; that they import Canada thistles; that they have to send beyond seas for a spile to stop a leak in an oil-cask; that pieces of wood in Nantucket are carried about like bits of the true cross in Rome; that people there plant toadstools before their houses, to get under the shade in summer time; that one blade of grass makes an oasis, three blades in a day’s walk a prairie; that they wear quicksand shoes, something like Laplander snow-shoes; that they are so shut up, belted about, every way enclosed, surrounded, and made an utter island of by the ocean, that to their very chairs and tables small clams will sometimes be found adhering, as to the backs of sea-turtles. But these extravaganzas only show that Nantucket is no Illinois.”


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