page 347 of 615 of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

“Speak, thou cast and venerable head,”

Now there’s an image, the mad captain speaking to the severed head of a whale asking it to give up its secrets.

That whole chapter (70) is stunning.

Fervent madness abounds with that Shaker, Gabriel.

There is much of sermons and beliefs, and Melville seems skeptical of it all. Perhaps listening to sharks feasting on whale carcass is enough to make man agnostic.