So, cutting the lashing of the waterproof match keg, after many failures Starbuck contrived to ignite the lamp in the lantern; then stretching it on a waif pole, handed it to Queequeg as the standard-bearer of this forlorn hope. There, then, he sat, holding up that imbecile candle in the heart of that almighty forlornness. There, then, he sat, the sign and symbol of a man without faith, hopelessly holding up hope in the midst of despair.
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, essayist, and poet. During his lifetime his early novels were popular, but his popularity declined later in his life. By the time of his death he had nearly been forgotten, but his masterpiece, Moby-Dick, was "rediscovered."