From The Spirit-Spout
“And had you watched Ahab’s face that night, you would have thought that in him also two different things were warring. While his one live leg made lively echoes along the deck, every stroke of his dead limb sounded like a coffin-tap. On life and death this old man walked.”
As I noted, this time reading Moby-Dick I am really into the descriptions of Ahab, both physical and mental – and this line has both. The reason I find myself invested in Moby-Dick is that it speaks to me. And though I don’t have an ivory leg, I do feel as if I am walking “on life and death.” Who hasn’t felt this way? Especially the older we get.
Frightening and beautiful, like most of Melville’s words.