Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A ship is safe in the port, but that's not why it was built

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

--opening paragraph of Herman Melville's Moby Dick


  1. I have not been brave enough to conquer the MOBE-ster, but I wanted to say that I love how you plug literature on your blog :)

  2. Thanks for posting this. Yesterday I saw Moby Dick in the bookstore at the Houston airport and bought it on a whim after it reminded me of this post. I feel like my education has failed me for not introducing me to a book this wonderful sooner.

  3. So happy to hear it, Grant! Happy reading! :)