The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read.
As was common practice among whalers, before Stubb’s whale was slaughtered, it was beheaded. For a while, the great Leviathan’s head hung suspended over the side of the ship, like the head of a great Sphynx, holding untold mysteries. When all the men had gone below deck for supper, captain Ahab stood alone on the deck and spoke to the giant decapitated whale head, and this is what he said:
“Speak, thou vast and venerable head…speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this world’s foundations…Oh head! thou hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine! …O Nature, and O soul of man! how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies! not the smallest atom stirs or lives in matter, but has its cunning duplicate in mind.”