Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Lunars in literature
    From: Dave Walden
    Date: 2009 Jan 30, 15:26 -0800

    I went to www.gutenberg.org, since they have asci versions which make it easy to cut and paste.
    The only appearance of the word lunar in Moby Dick:
    See with what entire freedom the whaleman takes his handful of
    lamps--often but old bottles and vials, though--to the copper cooler at
    the try-works, and replenishes them there, as mugs of ale at a vat. He
    burns, too, the purest of oil, in its unmanufactured, and, therefore,
    unvitiated state; a fluid unknown to solar, lunar, or astral
    contrivances ashore. It is sweet as early grass butter in April. He
    goes and hunts for his oil, so as to be sure of its freshness and
    genuineness, even as the traveller on the prairie hunts up his own
    supper of game.
    Sextant appears not at all, but quadrant gets a chapter and more:
    CHAPTER 118. The Quadrant.
    The season for the Line at length drew near; and every day when Ahab,
    coming from his cabin, cast his eyes aloft, the vigilant helmsman would
    ostentatiously handle his spokes, and the eager mariners quickly run to
    the braces, and would stand there with all their eyes centrally fixed
    on the nailed doubloon; impatient for the order to point the ship's
    prow for the equator. In good time the order came. It was hard upon high
    noon; and Ahab, seated in the bows of his high-hoisted boat, was
    about taking his wonted daily observation of the sun to determine his
    Now, in that Japanese sea, the days in summer are as freshets of
    effulgences. That unblinkingly vivid Japanese sun seems the blazing
    focus of the glassy ocean's immeasurable burning-glass. The sky looks
    lacquered; clouds there are none; the horizon floats; and this nakedness
    of unrelieved radiance is as the insufferable splendors of God's throne.
    Well that Ahab's quadrant was furnished with coloured glasses, through
    which to take sight of that solar fire. So, swinging his seated form
    to the roll of the ship, and with his astrological-looking instrument
    placed to his eye, he remained in that posture for some moments to
    catch the precise instant when the sun should gain its precise meridian.
    Meantime while his whole attention was absorbed, the Parsee was kneeling
    beneath him on the ship's deck, and with face thrown up like Ahab's,
    was eyeing the same sun with him; only the lids of his eyes half hooded
    their orbs, and his wild face was subdued to an earthly passionlessness.
    At length the desired observation was taken; and with his pencil upon
    his ivory leg, Ahab soon calculated what his latitude must be at that
    precise instant.
    For a space the old man walked the deck in rolling reveries. But
    chancing to slip with his ivory heel, he saw the crushed copper
    sight-tubes of the quadrant he had the day before dashed to the deck.
     Almanac 3 times here:
    "There now's the old Mogul," soliloquized Stubb by the try-works, "he's
    been twigging it; and there goes Starbuck from the same, and both with
    faces which I should say might be somewhere within nine fathoms long.
    And all from looking at a piece of gold, which did I have it now on
    Negro Hill or in Corlaer's Hook, I'd not look at it very long ere
    spending it. Humph! in my poor, insignificant opinion, I regard this as
    queer. I have seen doubloons before now in my voyagings; your doubloons
    of old Spain, your doubloons of Peru, your doubloons of Chili, your
    doubloons of Bolivia, your doubloons of Popayan; with plenty of gold
    moidores and pistoles, and joes, and half joes, and quarter joes. What
    then should there be in this doubloon of the Equator that is so killing
    wonderful? By Golconda! let me read it once. Halloa! here's signs and
    wonders truly! That, now, is what old Bowditch in his Epitome calls the
    zodiac, and what my almanac below calls ditto. I'll get the almanac and
    as I have heard devils can be raised with Daboll's arithmetic, I'll try
    my hand at raising a meaning out of these queer curvicues here with
    the Massachusetts calendar. Here's the book. Let's see now. Signs and
    wonders; and the sun, he's always among 'em. Hem, hem, hem; here they
    are--here they go--all alive:--Aries, or the Ram; Taurus, or the Bull
    and Jimimi! here's Gemini himself, or the Twins. Well; the sun he
    wheels among 'em. Aye, here on the coin he's just crossing the threshold
    between two of twelve sitting-rooms all in a ring. Book! you lie there;
    the fact is, you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the
    bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts. That's my
    small experience, so far as the Massachusetts calendar, and Bowditch's
    navigator, and Daboll's arithmetic go. Signs and wonders, eh? Pity if
    there is nothing wonderful in signs, and significant in wonders! There's
    a clue somewhere; wait a bit; hist--hark! By Jove, I have it! Look you,
    Doubloon, your zodiac here is the life of man in one round chapter;
    and now I'll read it off, straight out of the book. Come, Almanack! To
    begin: there's Aries, or the Ram--lecherous dog, he begets us; then,
    Taurus, or the Bull--he bumps us the first thing; then Gemini, or the
    Twins--that is, Virtue and Vice; we try to reach Virtue, when lo! comes
    Cancer the Crab, and drags us back; and here, going from Virtue, Leo,
    a roaring Lion, lies in the path--he gives a few fierce bites and surly
    dabs with his paw; we escape, and hail Virgo, the Virgin! that's our
    first love; we marry and think to be happy for aye, when pop comes
    Libra, or the Scales--happiness weighed and found wanting; and while we
    are very sad about that, Lord! how we suddenly jump, as Scorpio, or the
    Scorpion, stings us in the rear; we are curing the wound, when whang
    come the arrows all round; Sagittarius, or the Archer, is amusing
    himself. As we pluck out the shafts, stand aside! here's the
    battering-ram, Capricornus, or the Goat; full tilt, he comes rushing,
    and headlong we are tossed; when Aquarius, or the Water-bearer, pours
    out his whole deluge and drowns us; and to wind up with Pisces, or the
    Fishes, we sleep. There's a sermon now, writ in high heaven, and the
    sun goes through it every year, and yet comes out of it all alive and
    hearty. Jollily he, aloft there, wheels through toil and trouble; and
    so, alow here, does jolly Stubb. Oh, jolly's the word for aye! Adieu,
    Doubloon! But stop; here comes little King-Post; dodge round the
    try-works, now, and let's hear what he'll have to say. There; he's
    before it; he'll out with something presently. So, so; he's beginning."
    Navigation List archive: www.fer3.com/arc
    To post, email NavList@fer3.com
    To unsubscribe, email NavList-unsubscribe@fer3.com

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site