Moby-Dick: Mast-head


  1. the topmost part of the mast
  2. Defintion 2

The word mast-head appears in the following sentences from Moby-Dick:

Chapter 1 > Paragraph 8 > Sentence 1:

No, when I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the fore-castle, aloft there to the royal mast-head.

Chapter 9 > Paragraph 17 > Sentence 4:

And now how gladly would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the living God.

Chapter 20 > Paragraph 6 > Sentence 4:

Every once in a while Peleg came hobbling out of his whalebone den, roaring at the men down the hatchways, roaring up to the riggers at the mast-head, and then concluded by roaring back into his wigwam.

Chapter 31 > Paragraph 5 > Sentence 1:

"mast-head, there!

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 1:

It was during the more pleasant weather, that in due rotation with the other seamen my first mast-head came round.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 3:

For though their progenitors, the builders of Babel, must doubtless, by their tower, have intended to rear the loftiest mast-head in all Asia, or Africa either; yet (ere the final truck was put to it) as that great stone mast of theirs may be said to have gone by the board, in the dread gale of God's wrath; therefore, we cannot give these Babel builders priority over the Egyptians.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 4:

And that the Egyptians were a nation of mast-head standers, is an assertion based upon the general belief among archaeologists, that the first pyramids were founded for astronomical purposes: a theory singularly supported by the peculiar stairlike formation of all four sides of those edifices; whereby, with prodigious long upliftings of their legs, those old astronomers were wont to mount to the apex, and sing out for new stars; even as the look-outs of a modern ship sing out for a sail, or a whale just bearing in sight.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 9:

Admiral Nelson, also, on a capstan of gun-metal, stands his mast-head in Trafalgar Square; and even when most obscured by that London smoke, token is yet given that a hidden hero is there; for where there is smoke, must be fire.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 4 > Sentence 1:

It may seem unwarrantable to couple in any respect the mast-head standers of the land with those of the sea; but that in truth it is not so, is plainly evinced by an item for which Obed Macy, the sole historian of Nantucket, stands accountable.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 4 > Sentence 4:

But this custom has now become obsolete; turn we then to the one proper mast-head, that of a whale-ship at sea.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 4 > Sentence 6:

In the serene weather of the tropics it is exceedingly pleasant the mast-head: nay, to a dreamy meditative man it is delightful.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 5 > Sentence 1:

In one of those southern whalesmen, on a long three or four years' voyage, as often happens, the sum of the various hours you spend at the mast-head would amount to several entire months.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 6 > Sentence 8:

When Captain Sleet in person stood his mast-head in this crow's-nest of his, he tells us that he always had a rifle with him (also fixed in the rack), together with a powder flask and shot, for the purpose of popping off the stray narwhales, or vagrant sea unicorns infesting those waters; for you cannot successfully shoot at them from the deck owing to the resistance of the water, but to shoot down upon them is a very different thing.

Chapter 35 > Paragraph 9 > Sentence 6:

Childe Harold not unfrequently perches himself upon the mast-head of some luckless disappointed whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates:—

Chapter 48 > Paragraph 25 > Sentence 3:

Its top is not more spacious than the palm of a man's hand, and standing upon such a base as that, Flask seemed perched at the mast-head of some ship which had sunk to all but her trucks.

Chapter 48 > Paragraph 28 > Sentence 1:

"Good a mast-head as any, sir.

Chapter 51 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 3:

Then, with every mast-head manned, the piled-up craft rolled down before the wind.

Chapter 54 > Paragraph 2 > Sentence 10:

*The ancient whale-cry upon first sighting a whale from the mast-head, still used by whalemen in hunting the famous Gallipagos terrapin.

Chapter 67 > Paragraph 2 > Sentence 1:

In the first place, the enormous cutting tackles, among other ponderous things comprising a cluster of blocks generally painted green, and which no single man can possibly lift—this vast bunch of grapes was swayed up to the main-top and firmly lashed to the lower mast-head, the strongest point anywhere above a ship's deck.

Chapter 70 > Paragraph 4 > Sentence 2:

And there with the strained craft steeply leaning over it, by reason of the enormous downward drag from the lower mast-head, and every yard-arm on that side projecting like a crane over the waves; there, that blood-dripping head hung to the Pequod's waist like the giant Holofernes's from the girdle of Judith.

Chapter 71 > Paragraph 18 > Sentence 5:

Meantime, Gabriel, ascending to the main-royal mast-head, was tossing one arm in frantic gestures, and hurling forth prophecies of speedy doom to the sacrilegious assailants of his divinity.

Chapter 86 > Paragraph 12 > Sentence 6:

Standing at the mast-head of my ship during a sunrise that crimsoned sky and sea, I once saw a large herd of whales in the east, all heading towards the sun, and for a moment vibrating in concert with peaked flukes.

Chapter 91 > Paragraph 27 > Sentence 6:

Now and then pairs of them would drop their work, and run up to the mast-head to get some fresh air.

Chapter 98 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 1:

Already has it been related how the great leviathan is afar off described from the mast-head; how he is chased over the watery moors, and slaughtered in the valleys of the deep; how he is then towed alongside and beheaded; and how (on the principle which entitled the headsman of old to the garments in which the beheaded was killed) his great padded surtout becomes the property of his executioner; how, in due time, he is condemned to the pots, and, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, his spermaceti, oil, and bone pass unscathed through the fire;—but now it remains to conclude the last chapter never more to rise and blow.

Chapter 101 > Paragraph 11 > Sentence 5:

But this was very far North, be it remembered, where beer agrees well with the constitution; upon the Equator, in our southern fishery, beer would be apt to make the harpooneer sleepy at the mast-head and boozy in his boat; and grievous loss might ensue to Nantucket and New Bedford.

Chapter 115 > Paragraph 2 > Sentence 1:

The three men at her mast-head wore long streamers of narrow red bunting at their hats; from the stern, a whale-boat was suspended, bottom down; and hanging captive from the bowsprit was seen the long lower jaw of the last whale they had slain.

Chapter 119 > Paragraph 28 > Sentence 4:

Hear me, then; I take that mast-head flame we saw for a sign of good luck; for those masts are rooted in a hold that is going to be chock a' block with sperm-oil, d'ye see; and so, all that sperm will work up into the masts, like sap in a tree.

Chapter 126 > Paragraph 5 > Sentence 2:

At sun-rise this man went from his hammock to his mast-head at the fore; and whether it was that he was not yet half waked from his sleep (for sailors sometimes go aloft in a transition state), whether it was thus with the man, there is now no telling; but, be that as it may, he had not been long at his perch, when a cry was heard—a cry and a rushing—and looking up, they saw a falling phantom in the air; and looking down, a little tossed heap of white bubbles in the blue of the sea.

Chapter 128 > Paragraph 7 > Sentence 2:

After a keen sail before the wind, this fourth boat—the swiftest keeled of all—seemed to have succeeded in fastening—at least, as well as the man at the mast-head could tell anything about it.

Chapter 134 > Paragraph 8 > Sentence 1:

"There she blows—she blows!—she blows!—right ahead!" was now the mast-head cry.

Chapter 135 > Paragraph 11 > Sentence 14:

But good bye, good bye, old mast-head!

Chapter 135 > Paragraph 11 > Sentence 26:

Good bye, mast-head—keep a good eye upon the whale, the while I'm gone.

Chapter 135 > Paragraph 27 > Sentence 9:

Stir thyself, Starbuck!—stave it off—move, move! speak aloud!—mast-head there!

Chapter 135 > Paragraph 51 > Sentence 1:

Meantime, for that one beholding instant, Tashtego's mast-head hammer remained suspended in his hand; and the red flag, half-wrapping him as with a plaid, then streamed itself straight out from him, as his own forward-flowing heart; while Starbuck and Stubb, standing upon the bowsprit beneath, caught sight of the down-coming monster just as soon as he.

Concordance for the word mast-head from Moby-Dick.

Herman Melville
Moby-Dick Navigation
Search Moby-Dick