« EelmineJätka »
Now, nigh an end appears the day of grace,
And judgment ripens to destroy the place;
On wings of wind, the ministers of wrath
Equip themselves, to scatter gen’ral death;
When soothing mercy thus, for patience cry'd,
• Must NINEVEH be then at once destroy'd ?
• True, she has finn'd, and merits dreadful woe;
But, does heaven always treat offenders fo?
Perhaps, 'were they instructed in thy law,
They'd serve thee better, and stand more in awe;
• Or, were they warn’d, before the woe is sent,
« They'd hear thy voice, and as they hear, repent.
O let thy goodness still its sway maintain,
* And prove the kindness of th’Almighty's reign.'
'Th' Almighty hearken’d with a gracious ear,
And had regard to the prevailing prayer;
By it o'ercome, aside his wrath he laid,
And, full of pity, threat’ning angels staid.
Then soon to Jonah, old Amittai's son,
In Judah's land, was God's commission known.
• Hafte, prophet, haste to Nineveh the great,
· And warn the people of approaching fate;
« Tell them from me, that ere the night and day
• Twice twenty times, by turns, assert their sway;
« Their boasted numbers, to destruction doom'd,
Shall sudden be, like Sodom's sons, consum'd;
« Unless by speedy penitence and prayer,
• They gain admittance to my gracious ear.?
The prophet's mind a sudden terror fillid,
And, thro' his veins, a trembling horror thrill'd;
O'er all his vitals dire confusion hung,
And falt'ring accents die upon his tongue.
His limbs turn feeble, hairs as bristles rise,
Pale grows his face, and darkness strikes his eyes.
This way and that he turns his thoughtful mind,
Now loves, now flights, the purpose he defign'd.
Sometimes resolves his message to perform;
Sometimes he dreads to plunge in such a storm.
Penlive in doubt his wayward mind remains,
Till slavish fear the government obtains.
The daftard passion drives him blindly on,
Till sense of shame and gratitude was gone.
Lo! be distracted now attempts to fly,
And hide himself from the omniscient eye.
Vain man! to think there was a distant land
Beyond the reach of an almighty hand :
Or he who knows the inward heart of man,
Does weigh each word, and every action scan,
Could not pursue the finner where he goes,
And overtake him with avenging woes.
In th' utmost coasts of Judah is a scene,
Where Taurus' cliffs o’erlook the spacious main,
That Dan's bless’d offspring in their portion got,
When Jacob's race did Canaan share by lot.
Hither the Aying prophet came and found,
E'en to his with, a ship for Tarshish bound;
Distrusting heaven, fought safety from the sea,
And hop'd to 'scape the dangerous Nineveh.
The passage hir’d, the shouting fellow-train Their canvas spread, and launch into the main.
Affifted by a gentle gale of wind,
They skim the deep, and hope the port assign'd,
Then from his high empyreal abode,
In storms and tempests down Jehovah rode.
A dark pavilion o'er the deep he spread,
And, from the awful gloom, he threat'ning said :
• Does rebel Jonah try t elude my fight,
Or ward my vengeance by his speedy flight?
« Tho' from the land where I am known he fjes,
Hopes he to flee from my omniscient
And were he safely landed on the shore,
« Could Tarsus hide him from avenging power?
« But soon as I confound the spacious main,
• He'll know that universal is my reign.'
He said, and sudden from their noisy cave,
Th'imprison'd winds in hasty tumult rave.
Dread hurricanes and raging tempests rise,
Embroil the deep, and dash the distant skies.
A gloom of clouds the face of day o'erspreads,
And wild confusion fills the oozy beds.
Now Alps of water bears the vessel high;
Then buried in th' abyss she seems to lie.
The fails are torn, the ropes afunder break,
The fides are bruis'd, and flipp'ry is the deck,
A ghastly paleness in each face appears,
And death portended, aggravates their fears.
To their deaf gods the failors turn their eyes,
And tell their case in disregarded cries.
Some on their knees old Ocean's grace implore,
And, to appease him, sacrifice their store.
To Leda's fons fome tell their mournful tale,
And some with Jove endeavor to prevail.
Like Baalam's priests, they cry aloud in vain,
No fansy'd god or knew, or cur’d their pain,
Relentless justice heightens still the storm,
And ruin stares in every frightful form.
But Jonah, harden'd in his dire offence,
And thoughtless of the turn of providence;
Altho' the cause of all the threaten'd woe,
Retir'd alone, and hid himself below.
Asleep, or ftunn'd, no dangers could awake
His senseless mind, 'till thus the master spake :
• Thou fluggard, who amidst our common woes Canst thus, unmov'd, thyself to death expofe;
What art thou? Where are all thy senses gone? • Hast thou no God? Or know'st thou there is one? Shake off thy flumber, and devoutly fue
For common safety to thyself and crew.
• Perhaps thy guardian, for thy fake, nay send
Relief to thee, that may us all befriend.'
Mean while the sailors hold a long debate
About the cause of their impending fate.
One reckons murder is the fatal spring;
Another treason 'gainst the state or king.
But all agreed some impious wretch was there,
On whose account the gods were so severe :
And all resolv'd to find him out by lot,
Whoe'er he was, or whatsoe'er his fault.
Now one by one their trembling hands advance ! Each fore afraid the lot should prove his chance,
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Each looks with terror on his actions past,
And, at the thoughts of dying, stands aghaft.
Each thought the tempest for his crimes was sent,
And all look'd pale about the dire event.
Vain were their fears; for Jonah was to come,
Jonah! the cause, the subject of the doom.
The trembling wretch no sooner shook the urn,
Than all their eyes on him, the guilty, turn.
All curious, press to learn from whence he came,
What his condition was, and what his name.
Conscious of ill, he feels an inward smart,
And fad distraction rages in his heart.
His outward form declares his secret pain,
For looks the language of the soul explain.
O, easy task for men to murder fame!
But who can stifle his own fenfe of shame?
The wretch that to an abject state is thrown,
Than mankind's favor, loses more his own.
There is a judge in every human breast,
The source of conftant trouble, or of reft.
This inmate friend, or foe, will still appear,
And 'rest the finner in his mad career:
Swifter than wind it flies where'er he goes,
And bears along a train of cutting woes.
No crime so secret, but it ponders well,
And reprehends with an interior hell.
This guest, unseen, now dreadfully appears,
To hollow “ Rebel" thro' the prophet's ears.
Prompted by this, he frank confession made,
And, after filence was commanded, said;