"What d'ye see?" cried Ahab, flattening his face to the sky.
"Nothing, nothing, Sir!" was the sound hailing down in reply.
"T'gallant sails! - stunsails! alow and aloft, on both sides!"
In a few moments they were hoisting him to the main royal-mast head; and then, while but two-thirds of the way aloft, he raised a gull-like cry in the air. "There she blows! - there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill!"
Fired by the cry which seemed simultaneously taken up by the three look-outs, the men on deck rushed to the rigging to behold the famous whale they had so long sought. But there were no further words, no cries of notice nor claims of credit. For the waters that roiled and parted on either side of the high sparkling hump that rose some mile or so ahead, silently lifting into the air, almost fled from that hump as if it were some thing never meant to touch upon matter of this world. Had it been the White Whale we must surely have seen his silent spout jetting into the air, or his form dipping below and between the waves - but we did not. That hump, that whiteness unnatural, continued to surface as we watched, struck by an awe and a horror we none of us dared name.
And thus, through the serene tranquilities of the tropical sea, among waves whose hand-clappings were suspended by exceeding terror, the great thing rose on. Some mercy withheld from sight the full terrors of that submerged trunk, the wrenched hideousness of that form - but ah, God, that vast shadowed bulk must surely have been beneath us even at so great a distance! That self-same thought came to every man in that moment, and we were frozen in place with horror-chilled blood save one man.
"Turn back, Captain!" cried Queequeg. I tore my eyes from that unspeakable Cyclopean mass to stare his way. His complexion had gone quite near as livid as that dreadful hump ahead of us, and the tattoos writhed upon his skin as if they were living things themselves. That terror which gripped us all must surely have granted him fluency, just as fear of losing her child may grant a mother strength in her direst moments, for he shrieked, "For the love of all goodness, turn back now!"
Ahead of us, the water around that swelling hump began to writhe with tentacles- and then, oh, great and merciful God, then arose that awful eye...
-- Howard Phillips Melville, The Pequod Horror, ch. 133, The Flight - First Day