Advance, ye mates! Cross your lances full before me. Well done!
Let me touch the axis. So saying, with extended arm, he grasped the three level, radiating lances at their crossed centre; while so doing, suddenly and nervously twitched them; meanwhile glancing intently from Starbuck to Stubb; from Stubb to Flask.
It seemed as though, by some nameless, interior volition, he would fain have shocked into them the same fiery emotion accumulated within the Leyden jar of his own magnetic life.
The three mates quailed before his strong, sustained, and mystic aspect.
Stubb and Flask looked sideways from him; the honest eye of Starbuck fell downright.
In vain! cried Ahab; but, maybe,it's well. For did ye three but once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, that had perhaps expired from out me.
Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. Perchance ye need it not. Down lances!
And now, ye mates, I do appoint ye three cupbearers to my three pagan kinsmen there-yon three most honorable gentlemen and noblemen, my valiant harpooneers.
Disdain the task? What, when the great Pope washes the feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer?
Oh, my sweet cardinals! your own condescension, that shall bend ye to it.
I do not order ye; ye will it. Cut your seizings and draw the poles, ye harpooneers!