No. II.

The Casting Forth of Jonah.

Dark lowered around the canopy of clouds ;1
Winds sang, and thunders rolled, and lightnings flashed ;2
The fear-struck sailor clung unto the shrouds,3
As o’er his head the warning billow dashed ;4
And while the rain, a sheety torrent, lashed5
The tortured sea, each mountain wave between,6
The ship, and all its shrieking crew, were seen !7
They thought of Joppa,—of their pleasant home !8
Despairing e’er to view its walls again ;9
And, drifting o’er the circumambient foam,10
Saw but the skies commingling with the main ;11
Then, deeming labour lost, and effort vain,12
They threw their merchandize into the sea,13
And each called on his God, and bent his knee.14
When lo! reposing on a plank beneath,15
As on the sward, below a summer sky,16
With countenance serene, and placid breath,17
They viewed a passenger in slumber lie ;18
On him the master gazed with wondering eye,19
And roused him from his trance, and wildly cried,20
Call, sleeper, on your God, to calm the tide !”21
Then each did gaze distrustfully on each,22
Imagining that, for some grievous sin,23
Heaven doomed the land they never more should reach,24
But all should perish Ocean’s womb within.25
They thought them then of lots, and did begin26
While silently each weighed his failings well27
To cast them, and the lot on Jonah fell !28
Hope, like a sunbeam, over every face29
Began to play ; they asked him whence he came,30
His occupation, and his dwelling-place,31
His unshrived sin, his country, and. his name;32
Then as he patiently endured the blame;—33
I am a Hebrew,” Jonah said, “ by birth,34
And worship God, who made the seas and earth !”35
Then were they terrified, for he had told,36
That from the presence of the Lord he fled ;37
And, while without the foaming billows rolled,38
Within, there was the silence of the dead ;39
But, boldly stepping forward, Jonah said,—40
For me hath risen this tempest—all for me41
Then spare me not, and cast me to the sea.”42
Yet did they make delay, compassionate,43
And plied, with dextrous hand, the bending oar,44
Fain had they saved him from impending fate,45
And hard they struggled to approach the shore ;46
But more tempestuous grew the main, and more ;47
And every wave, with crest of tawny brown,48
Threatened to whelm them o’er, and suck them down.49
They saw it was in vain—and then they prayed,50
They prayed of Heaven forgiveness of his blood,51
And cast him to the sea, deprived of aid ;52
But lo! as by the vessel’s side they stood,53
They saw leviathan, amid the flood,54
Gape for his victim wide, who shrunk in fear,55
Then dive amid the waves, and disappear.56
Then, as by magic spell, the sea was calm,57
And ceased its raging ; its tempestuous roar58
Was stilled ; and winds, with pinions dipped in balm,59
Blew gently o’er them from the flowery shore ;60
The skies their crown of azure glory wore ;61
And beautiful the sun-beams bathed the deep,62
As on its breast the vessel seemed asleep.63