Melville's Poetry


Melville's Poetry
As a general thing, I'm not overly impressed with Melville either as a prose stylist or as a poet. However, all rules (except this) have their exceptions and I was reading through some Early American poetry and stumbled on this delightful ditty.

The Maldive Shark
Herman Melville

About the Shark, phlegmatical one,
Pale sot of the Maldive sea,
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim,
How alert in attendance be.
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw
They have nothing of harm to dread,
But liquidly glide on his ghostly flank
Or before his Gorgonian head;
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
And there find a haven when peril's abroad,
An asylum in jaws of the Fates!
They are friends; and fiendly they guide him to prey,
Yet never partake of the treat--
Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargie and dull,
Pale raverner of horrible meat.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 7, 2002 5:24 PM.

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