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Now having a night, a day, and still another night following before me in New Bedford, ere I could embark for my destined port, it became a matter of concernment where I was to eat and sleep meanwhile. It was a very dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and dismal night, bitingly cold and cheerless. I knew no one in the place. With anxious grapnels I had sounded my pocket, and only brought up a few pieces of silver, --So, wherever you go, Ishmael, said I to myself, as I stood in the middle of a dreary street shouldering my bag, and comparing the gloom towards the north with the darkness towards the south --wherever in your wisdom you may conclude to lodge for the night, my dear Ishmael, be sure to inquire the price, and don't be too particular.

With halting steps I paced the streets, and passed the sign of The Crossed Harpoons --but it looked too expensive and jolly there. Further on, from the bright red windows of the Sword-Fish Inn, there came such fervent rays, that it seemed to have melted the packed snow and ice from before the house, for everywhere else the congealed frost lay ten inches thick in a hard, asphaltic pavement, --rather weary for me, when I struck my foot against the flinty projections, because from hard, remorseless service the soles of my boots were in a most miserable plight. Too expensive and jolly, again thought I, pausing one moment to watch the broad glare in the street, and hear the sounds of the tinkling glasses within. But go on, Ishmael, said I at last; don't you hear? get away from before the door; your patched boots are stopping the way. So on I went. I now by instinct followed the streets that took me waterward, for there, doubtless, were the cheapest, if not the cheeriest inns.

Such dreary streets! blocks of blackness, not houses, on either hand, and here and there a candle, like a candle moving about in a tomb. At this hour of the night, of the last day of the week, that quarter of the town proved all but deserted. . . Moving on, I at last came to a dim sort of light not far from the docks, and heard a forlorn creaking in the air; and looking up, saw a swinging sign over the door with a white painting upon it, faintly representing tall straight jet of misty spray, and these words underneath- "Ahab's Classicals Cafe." -- The Carpet Bag, Moby Dick

Ahoy there mate and welcome ashore. The Permanent Things that ye set sail searching for can all be found here, within the world's classical community. Upon our sandy shores ye'll walk within a most profound context, and ye'll find thousands of other cultural seafarers pursuing that which Herman Melville deemed "the ungraspable phantom of life." With over 15,000 unique sailors passing through our discussion ports each day, and over 1,000 forums devoted to the Great Books, the Great Outdoors, classical music, art, architecture, philosophy, poetry, politics, and the American founding, ye'll find yerself in a community where the "renaissance man" reigns. Naturally many of the public discussion boards are occupied by wayward students posting "Cliff-notes" questions, and that is why we have commissioned the members-only Classicals Cutter. Whether you're a student or scholar seeking to converse with others sharing your intellectual interests, or a cultural seafarer just gaining your sea legs upon the magnificent and sometimes tempestuous ocean of classical thought, your sure to find a friendly harbor. From Plato to William Shakespeare to Thomas Jefferson to Jane Austen to J.D. Salinger, all the Greats are honored with rooms of their own within our virtual settlement.

A far more extensive history concerning our sites can be read here, but basically it all began aboard a monthly literary journal calledThe Jolly Roger, which was commissioned in 1995 to pirate the profound. Then, about a year ago, land was first sighted at The Kill Devil Hill, where you'll find the world's largest literary cafe. Soon thereafter the crew instituted Western Canon University, which was inspired in part by Thomas Jefferson's ideal conception of the university. While reading works from the Western Canon and the eloquent letters and documents of the Founding Fathers, it soon became apparent that the America was founded in a unique context which consisted of a rich blend of classical thought and the Judeo Christian heritage. And as it was the richest, most profound context we were pursuing, we founded the Spirit of America port. In the midst of all the web-programming, business plans, and politics, it was sometimes easy to lose sight of the elements which truly inspired us, and so we were sure to acquire a compass, and we found that it pointed towards the Classical Poetry Port. For be it forever known that Poetry is the center and circumference of all that we endeavor to accomplish upon these sites, and as poetry can best define poetry, here's a poem from classicals:

A moment where eternity resides,
A place where the moment can come to be,
A dream, independent of ebbing tides,
A ship to carry it across the sea.
All fleeting love and all waterlogged faith,
All temporal schemes and temporal flesh,
When the surf and the wind can only chafe,
And dreams and realities no longer mesh.
Somewhere in-between the body and soul,
The here and the hereafter, and the before,
Read the Greatest Words, and ye shall be whole,
Faith is the ticket to that distant shore.
'Tween eternity and now, meet halfway,
Won't you meet me at Classicals Cafe.

Upon our sites we pursue the ineffable glory of the timeless treasures which have been created, preservered, protected, and passed along by eternity's very own poets, philosophers, and prophets.

Western Canon University Spirit of The American Founding Classical Poetry Port

Kill Devil Hill Literary Cafe

The Jolly Roger


Thirteen Great Literary Voyages of The Jolly Roger
(Best Business Books)
1. Macarthur Study Bible
2. Shakespeare
3. Moby Dick
4. Catcher in The Rye
5. American Founding Documents
6. Thoreau
7. Emerson
8. Plato
9. Aristotle
10. The Great Gatsby
11. Norton Anthology of Poetry
12. C.S. Lewis
13. Drake Raft Field Trip

The Tragedy of

cover Navigating An American Renaissance
Captain & Poet: Drake Raft
Ranger & Writer:Becket Knottingham
Sailor & Scientist: Elliot McGucken
From The Jolly Roger to Classicals Cafe.

The Spirit of the Millenium's Renaissance

Often enough it occurs that we receive inquiries regarding the nature of our founding that it merits a brief narrative. How was it that three small-town midwesterners came down with sea fever, journeyed eastward to the intellectual seaport of Princeton, ran the blockade, and dedicated themselves to lives of the mind? By what elements of Providence were we called upon to preserve the better parts of our beings in immortal words? When did we awake from a dream of a renaissance to find ourselves afflicted by that haunting American Spirit. That rugged Spirit which inspires youths to set aside more worldly pursuits and become defenders of the Great Dead, pursuers of the ungraspable phantom of life, and fishers of men? How was it that we envisioned a world which lay beyond the postmodern fog, commissioned a literary warship, signed aboard over 20,000 intellectual rebels, and set sail to find the virgin literary frontier and establish a classical context? For only within a classical context did our words have a chance of resounding. Words are only as good as the context in which they are penned, and contexts are only as good as the words penned within them.

All the Best & Happy Holidays,

The Crew, February, 1998

© 1997 Raft, Knottingham & McGucken. All rights reserved. Looters will have their throats slit.

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