The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
"Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends’ glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go."
Musing: Ahab has just finished his speech about taking on God and poking through the paste-board mask. Starbuck shoots Ahab a look, like 'calm down, old dude.' This speech is Ahab's response to Starbuck. The idea that Ahab is accountable to no one freaks Starbuck out so much so that Ahab seems to try to talk his way out of what he said. Maybe Ahab himself is a bit freaked out about his own thoughts? On the other hand, Ahab needs Starbuck on his side.