I’d be in motion too, if one were coming toward me.

22 Apr

corpusants – n.  luminous balls of electrical energy

Classical Usage:  That was really some storm back in Chapter 119, wasn’t it?  The masts were lit like candles, Ahab’s newly minted harpoon flamed with the very fire of hell.  Yikes.  It was a little unnerving for everyone, especially Starbuck, who really wanted to put out the lightning rods, but his cries of “The corpusants! The corpusants!” fell on Ahab’s obdurate ears.  The balls of fire were enough to knock the easy-going Stubb off his feet with pleas of , “the corpusants have mercy on us all!

Classically Mad Usage:  The above definition of came from my Penguin Edition endnotes, but I did a quick google search in additional research and was very surprised to see this definition:  An appearance of St. Elmo’s fire on a mast, rigging, or some other structure.

St. Elmo’s Fire?  Like the 1980’s coming-of-age film?  Like the love theme from the same film that I remember adoring at one of my cousin’s piano recitals when I was in elementary school?  Like “gonna be your man in motion” that I played in 6th grade pep-band while drooling over a boy named Scott?

Guess not.  I guess St. Elmo’s fire is actually a weather phenomenon involving luminous plasma and grounded objects.  Who knew?  As usual, that’s rhetorical, don’t tell me you did.


Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Moby-Dick


Tags: , , , , ,

2 responses to “I’d be in motion too, if one were coming toward me.

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 22, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Interesting. It made me think of a bizarre scene in One the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The following is from Wikipedia:

    In Wilder’s description, three separate balls of lightning appear during a winter blizzard near a cast iron stove in the family’s kitchen. They are described as appearing near the stovepipe, then rolling across the floor, only to disappear as the mother (Caroline Ingalls) chases them with a willow-branch broom.

    Did Laura see corpusants?

  2. Christina Joy

    April 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Oh, I bet so. Yikes!


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