A couple of years ago, I came up with what I thought would be a great question for the annual Stump the Scholars session at the MDM. Because that question never was used (and probably is too long to ever be used), I'll post it here for anyone who might care to take a shot at it:
This question relates to an image employed by Melville to capture the appearance of sunlight.
First, this is Lucretius:
Neither the spokes of the sun nor the shining spears of day
can dispel the fearful shadows from our soul,
but only the face and law of Nature.
The image that Leonard and Smith focused on is "the shining spears of day." They compared it to these lines by Kipling:
Far to Southward they wheel and glance,
The million molten spears of morn
And they also compared it to these lines by Housman:
And where the light in lances
Across the mead was laid
The question is: What metaphor did Melville use that is comparable to "the shining spears of day," "the million molten spears of morn," and "the light in lances"? Extra credit if you know what chapter it's in.
One hint: It's not "harpoons." That would be way too easy. But it is an edged weapon.
Another hint: He uses the same metaphor once to describe the spouts of a herd of sperm whales.