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Moby Dick or the Whale

Moby Dick or the Whale

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Published by: aleitaosilva on Dec 28, 2009
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11/13/2012

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Moby DickorThe Whale
Herman Melville
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Moby Dick
 ETYMOLOGY.
(Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School)The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, andbrain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexiconsand grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockinglyembellished with all the gay flags of all the known nationsof the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; itsomehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.‘While you take in hand to school others, and to teachthem by what name a whale-fish is to be called in our tongue leaving out, through ignorance, the letter H,which almost alone maketh the signification of the word, you deliver that which is not true.’ —HACKLUYT‘WHALE. ... Sw. and Dan. HVAL. This animal isnamed from roundness or rolling; for in Dan. HVALT isarched or vaulted.’ —WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY‘WHALE. ... It is more immediately from the Dut. andGer. WALLEN; A.S. WALW-IAN, to roll, to wallow.’ —RICHARDSON’S DICTIONARYKETOS, GREEK.CETUS, LATIN.WHOEL, ANGLO-SAXON.2
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Moby Dick
HVALT, DANISH.WAL, DUTCH.HWAL, SWEDISH.WHALE, ICELANDIC.WHALE, ENGLISH.BALEINE, FRENCH.BALLENA, SPANISH.PEKEE-NUEE-NUEE, FEGEE.PEKEE-NUEE-NUEE, ERROMANGOAN.EXTRACTS (Supplied by a Sub-Sub-Librarian).It will be seen that this mere painstaking burrower andgrub-worm of a poor devil of a Sub-Sub appears to havegone through the long Vaticans and street-stalls of theearth, picking up whatever random allusions to whales hecould anyways find in any book whatsoever, sacred or profane. Therefore you must not, in every case at least,take the higgledy-piggledy whale statements, however authentic, in these extracts, for veritable gospel cetology.Far from it. As touching the ancient authors generally, aswell as the poets here appearing, these extracts are solelyvaluable or entertaining, as affording a glancing bird’s eyeview of what has been promiscuously said, thought,fancied, and sung of Leviathan, by many nations andgenerations, including our own.3
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