Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea
In 1834, Richard Dana, went from Harvard student to common seaman, sailing from California to Cape Horn. This journal survives as one of the most vivid accounts of the relationship between man and sea.
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allowed anchor appearance ashore beach began better boat Boston break brig brought California called Cape captain carried clear clothes coast coming common course crew deck duty eight everything feeling fellow fore forecastle forward four friends furled gave getting give gone half hands hard hauled head heard heavy hides hold island keep knew land leaving light lived looked master mate miles months morning nearly never night officers once passed port pulled ready rest rigging round sail sailor seemed seen sent ship shore showed side sight soon standing stood strong studding-sail Sunday taken talking thing thought told took top-sail turned usually vessel voyage walked watch weather week whole wind yards
Page 174 - ... tis to cast one's eyes so low ! The crows, and choughs, that wing the midway air, Show scarce so gross as beetles. Half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire ; dreadful trade ! Methinks he seems no bigger than his head. The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, Appear like mice ; and yon' tall, anchoring bark, Diminished to her cock ; her cock, a buoy Almost too small for sight.
Page 130 - I thought of our situation, living under a tyranny; of the character of the country we were in; of the length of the voyage, and of the uncertainty attending our return to America; and then, if we should return, of the prospect of obtaining justice and satisfaction for these poor men; and vowed that if God should ever give me the means, I would do something to redress the grievances and relieve the sufferings of that poor class of beings, of whom I then was one.
Page 124 - I'm no negro slave," said Sam. "Then I'll make you one," said the captain; and he came to the hatchway, and sprang on deck, threw off his coat, and rolling up his sleeves, called out to the mate —
Page 98 - The women carry this peculiarity of speaking to a much greater extreme than the men, who have more evenness and stateliness of utterance. A common bullock-driver, on horseback, delivering a message, seemed to speak like an ambassador at a royal audience.
Page 290 - The tide leaving us, we came to anchor near the mouth of the bay, under a high and beautifully sloping hill, upon which herds of hundreds and hundreds of red deer, and the stag, with his high branching antlers, were bounding about, looking at us for a moment, and then starting off, affrighted at the noises which we made for the purpose of seeing the variety of their beautiful attitudes and motions.
Page 433 - How like a younker, or a prodigal, The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, Hugged and embraced by the strumpet wind ! How like the prodigal doth she return, With over-weathered ribs, and ragged sails, Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind ! Enter LORENZO.
Page 399 - It blew a perfect hurricane, with alternate blasts of snow, hail, and rain. We had to fist the sail with bare hands. No one could trust himself to mittens, for if he slipped he was a gone man. All the boats were hoisted in on deck, and there was nothing to be lowered for him. We had need of every finger God had given us. Several times we got the sail upon the yard, but it blew away again before we could secure it. It required men to lie over the yard to pass each turn of the gaskets, and when they...
Page 94 - Their hides, too, which they value at two dollars in money, they barter for something which costs seventyfive cents in Boston; and buy shoes (as like as not made of their own hides, which have been carried twice round Cape Horn) at three and four dollars, and "chickenskin boots
Page 351 - Then, by-and-by, somebody else will go after some more, and if they beat him, he'll have to go again, or else give up his berth. That's the way they do it. This old covey knows the ropes. He has worked a traverse over 'em, and come 'way out here, where nobody's ever been afore, and where they'll never think of coming.