The whale "is both ponderous and profound. And I am convinced that from the heads of all ponderous profound beings, such as Plato, Pyrrho, the Devil, Jupiter, Dante, and so on, there always goes up a certain semi-visible steam, while in the act of thinking deep thoughts. While composing a little treatise on Eternity, I had the curiosity to place a mirror before me; and ere long saw reflected there, a curious involved worming and undulation in the atmosphere over my head."
Musing: Sometimes I call 'day drinking' on Melville. How can we hear Ishmael, serious studious Ishmael, in this voice? I wonder if this is Melville saying, 'I've written some dense chapters about whale bits - are you still with me, reader?' Then sometimes I think he is mocking us and how pretentious we humans are about our work (air quotes intended). You know, I'm going with the mocking.