Candles on the Ocean
The storm expired by God’s fair hand
And lit three masts with light so grand.
Light so bright it showed the way
Through the night and into day
Ahab snatched it from the night
and vanquished he the holy light
We all looked on in disbelief
And saw the light of Satan’s glee
Reflected in his burning form
Whose vengeance fueled the coming storm
The coming storm.
The coming storm.
music and lyrics © 2010 by Tony Garone
Produced by Anthony Garone and William Brown
recorded at Cow Pilot Studios (AZ)
Tony Garone - vocals, keyboards, Garageband loop configurations
Johnny Monkey - tin whistle
What is this song about?
During a vicious storm on the sea the three masts of the Pequod are lit by an electromagnetic phenomenon known as, St. Elmo’s Fire. The result of this rather odd occurrence leaves the masts glowing with a green halo similar to the same effect that creates the Northern Lights. The crew is frightened as they believe it to be an omen from God.
Ahab takes a harpoon and holds it up to the glow, transferring some of it to the harpoon. He then takes his hand and extinguishes the glow. It is here that he makes one of his most powerful statements of defiance:
"Oh! thou clear spirit of clear fire, whom on these seas I as Persian once did worship, till in the sacramental act so burned by thee, that to this hour I bear the scar; I now know thee, thou clear spirit, and I now know that thy right worship is defiance. To neither love nor reverence wilt thou be kind; and e'en for hate thou canst but kill; and all are killed. No fearless fool now fronts thee. I own thy speechless, placeless power; but to the last gasp of my earthquake life will dispute unconditional, unintegral mastery in me. In the midst of the personified impersonal, a personality stands here. Though but a point at best; whenceso'er I came; whereso'er I go; yet while I earthly live, the queenly personality lives in me, and feels her royal rights. But war is pain, and hate is woe. Come in thy lowest form of love, and I will kneel and kiss thee; but at thy highest, come as mere supernal power; and though thou launchest navies of full-freighted worlds, there's that in here that still remains indifferent. Oh, thou clear spirit, of thy fire thou madest me, and like a true child of fire, I breathe it back to thee."
Starbuck interprets this as a bad omen and as Starbuck is the quintessential Christian, believes it is a disobedient and blasphemous undertaking:
As the silent harpoon burned like a serpent's tongue, Starbuck grasped Ahab by the arm -"God, God is against thee, old man; forbear! 't is an ill voyage! ill begun, ill continued; let me square the yards, while we may, old man, and make a fair wind of it homewards, to go on a better voyage than this."
But Ahab takes this opportunity to remind the crew of their oath to hunt Moby Dick and that they should fear nothing. He instructs the crew to be single-minded in purpose to the mission:
But dashing the rattling lightning links to the deck, and snatching the burning harpoon, Ahab waved it like a torch among them; swearing to transfix with it the first sailor that but cast loose a rope's end. Petrified by his aspect, and still more shrinking from the fiery dart that he held, the men fell back in dismay, and Ahab again spoke:"All your oaths to hunt the White Whale are as binding as mine; and heart, soul, and body, lungs and life, old Ahab is bound. And that ye may know to what tune this heart beats: look ye here; thus I blow out the last fear!" And with one blast of his breath he extinguished the flame.