Captain Ahab’s last words are among my favorite in all of literature. Most of us will probably shuffle off this mortal coil with less oomph:
“I turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow,- death- glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!”
A pal of mine knew about my Moby-Dick obsession, and had these cuff links made for me.
So now I guess you know how I roll…towards thee.
The final scenes of Moby-Dick are incredibly intense. If you’ve tried to read Moby and have been thwarted, I recommend Nathaniel Philbrick’s Why Read Moby-Dick? His comments on the theatricality of the final chapters alone was worth the price.