Friday, June 19, 2015

“Round the world!”

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851):

Round the world! There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? Only through numberless perils to the very point whence we started, where those that we left behind secure, were all the time before us.

Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward we could for ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and strange than any Cyclades or Islands of King Solomon, then there were promise in the voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented chase of that demon phantom that, some time or other, swims before all human hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they either lead us on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.
Also from Moby-Dick
“Nothing exists in itself”
Nantucket ≠ Illinois

[Whelm: “To cover over completely; now esp., to cover with water or other fluid; to cover by immersion; to overwhelm; engulf.” And “Figuratively, to cover or engulf completely and disastrously; to overwhelm; as to whelm one in sorrows.” Definitions from Webster’s New International Dictionary, second edition.]

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