Monday, June 25, 2012

Melville's Ships: The Rosebud

Presently the vapours in advance slid aside; and there in the distance lay a ship, whose furled sails betokened that some sort of whale must be alongside. As we glided nearer, the stranger showed French colours from his peak, and by the eddying cloud of vulture sea-fowl that circled and hovered, and swooped around him, it was plain that the whale alongside must be what the fishermen call a blasted whale, that is, a whale that has died unmolested on the sea, and so floated an unappropriated corpse. In accordance with the fanciful French taste, the upper part of her stem piece was carved in the likeness of a huge dropping stalk, was painted green, and for thorns had copper spikes projecting from it here and there; the whole terminating in a symmetrical folded bulb of a bright red colour. Upon her headboards in large gilt letters read Bouton-de-Rose - Rose- button, or Rosebud; and this was the romantic name of this aromatic ship.

Moby Dick

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