Wesley, Samuel, 1662-1735:
- THE HISTORY OF THE Holy Bible, In Verse, with
Sculptures. [from The History of the Old Testament in verse (1715)]
CCLVI. Jonah, Chap. I.
Jonah commanded to go to Nineveh: He
flees from the presence of the Lord: Is swallow'd by a Whale, & c.
10650 Tho' Israel God's First-born, his
10651 Tho' his Pavilion he in Salem place;
10652 The Nations too their Maker's Goodness share,
10653 Nobly diffusive as the Sun or Air;
10654 His Grief to punish, his Delight to spare .
10655 For this to Nineveh was Jonah sent,
10656 To bid their vast unnumber'd Crowds repent:
10657 A hopeless Task! when Israel won't believe,
10658 How shou'd the faithless Heathen him receive?
10659 A Tyrian Bark the wayward Prophet bore
10660 A different Course, for the Tartessian shore.
10661 In vain he from the Omnipresent flies,
10662 The Winds and Waves in Arms against him rise,
10663 And stop the Fugitive, nor Oar, nor Sail
10664 Can stem the Storm, nor nautic Art prevail:
10665 Their Course is lost, they lose the sight of
10666 All Hope is gone, for now the Sailors pray :
10667 On Moloch these, and these Astarte call,
10668 On Dagon some, and some on mighty Baal;
10669 Deaf to their Pray'rs, and helpless Idols all.
10670 Jonah alone did still his Cabin keep,
10671 (O how cou'd Jonah's Guilt so calmly sleep!)
10672 Till rouz'd, among th' affrighted Crew he goes,
10673 At once the Danger and the Cause he knows.
10674 Glory he gave to Heav'n, and thus he said,
10675 ---I serve the Hebrews God, from him I fled :
10676 Cease your mistaken Pray'rs and causless Fear,
10677 This Storm, his Messenger, arrests me here.
10678 Me, me, devoted to the raging Seas,
10679 An Off'ring cast, you'll soon their Wrath appease:
10680 Unwillingly they his Request perform,
10681 They heave him o're, and with him lose the Storm :
10682 ---Nor is he yet beyond th' Almighty's Care,
10683 Th' Almighty did a monstrous Fish prepare;
10684 Which seiz'd him falling, whose capacious Womb,
10685 Three dismal Days and Nights his living Tomb.
10686 --- Vain Grecian Poets hence, of after-date,
10687 By Tyrian Hercules the Fact relate,
10688 And steal their Hero's Fame from Jonah 's wond'rous
CCLVII. Jonah, Chap. II.
Jonah's Prayer. He's cast out from the Whale's Belly.
10689 What cannot Faith and Penitence
10690 Imprison'd Jonah sues not here in vain :
10691 Nor did he in this horrid Gaol despair,
10692 But thus to Heav'n directs his fervent Pray'r .
10693 ---When sinking deep beneath the briny Wave,
10694 Th' unfathom'd Ocean my untimely Grave :
10695 To thee, O God, I cry'd, nor cry'd too late,
10696 Thou sav'st me from the gaping Jaws of Fate .
10697 Beneath the wat'ry World confin'd I lay,
10698 Where rolling Waves forbad the sight of Day :
10699 The Floods begirt, the Seas besieg'd me round,
10700 My fainting Head with weedy Fillets bound.
10701 The strong Foundations of the Mountains steep,
10702 The wealthy Chambers of the aged Deep,
10703 The massy Bars that Earth's huge Frame support,
10704 The Mother-Water's unfrequented Court,
10705 Secrets to mortal Eyes before unknown,
10706 Thou hast, O God! to me thy Servant shown:
10707 Yet still I live, and hope for happier Days,
10708 My God in his High Temple hope to praise :
10709 Let others fondly trust in Idols vain,
10710 The stupid World adore the Gods they feign;
10711 As stupid as their sensless Deities,
10712 Leave Truth and Mercy, and believe in Lies;
10713 To thee alone, my God! I'll sacrifice;
10714 Admiring Crowds shall hear my joyful Songs,
10715 Salvation only to the Lord belongs.
10716 Jehovah hears, agen he Light shall see,
10717 He bids his monstrous Gaoler set him free;
10718 Who dares detain his sacred Guest no more,
10719 But gently casts him out upon the Oozy Shore .
CLVIII. Jonah, Chap. III.
Jonah preaches to Nineveh: Their Repentance, &c.
10720 To Nineveh the Sea-born Prophet came,
10721 He dares no longer weak Excuses frame,
10722 War, War does from the Lord of Hosts proclaim .
10723 Their lofty Tow'rs, said he, that threat the Skies,
10724 These Walls, that with the Pride of Babel 's rise,
10725 It must be so, their Doom as sure as just,
10726 Shall soon transvers'd, be buri'd in the Dust :
10727 Thy Judge allows thee Forty Days Reprieve,
10728 Prepare, fair Town! thou hast no more to live !
10729 The dreadful News with wise Affright they hear,
10730 Terror and Guilt in every Face appear:
10731 Their trembling Monarch from the Throne descends,
10732 His Crown laid by his purple Robes he rends,
10733 A mournful Court their Suppliant Prince attends.
10734 See where the Royal Penitent appears!
10735 Behold the Dress his untaught Sorrow wears!
10736 With Sackcloth cover'd, Ashes on his Head,
10737 And Dust beneath for Tyrian Carpets spread.
10738 A strict and gen'ral Fast he bids proclaim,
10739 To God the Glory give, to Man the Shame :
10740 Repent, ye Sinners! thus the Heralds cry
10741 Around the spatious Streets --- Repent or Die !
10742 Who knows but Heaven may from its Anger turn,
10743 And boundless Pity comfort those that mourn!
10744 This saw th' All-high from those etherial Plains,
10745 Where thron'd in Glory undisturb'd he reigns:
10746 Yet not unmov'd at wretched Mortals Cares,
10747 He with a gracious Ear regards their Pray'rs :
10748 The Angels of his Vengeance, who prepare,
10749 To spread their wrathful Vials round the Air,
10750 He wills away, they from their Stations come,
10751 Mild Mercy pleads, and he recalls their Doom .
10752 Thus can true Sorrow Heaven's just Wrath assuage,
10753 A Day's Repentance thus may save an impious Age .
CCLIX. Jonah, Chap. IV.
Jonah's Gourd, &c.
10754 The Prophet saw, and thus to God
10755 (His Faith, the Saint, his Passions shew'd the Man,)
10756 ---And must I bear a base Impostor 's Name?
10757 This, this was what I fear'd before I came:
10758 I knew thy Nature to Compassion prone,
10759 To those indulgent who thy Pow'r disown :
10760 How oft thou lett'st the sentenc'd Sinner live,
10761 How slow to Wrath, how easie to forgive !
10762 O take my Life ---my hatred and disdain !
10763 When Honour vanish'd Life itself's a Pain !
10764 ---Thus did Amittai's angry Son complain;
10765 Then quits the Town, a leavy Booth he made,
10766 And sate repos'd beneath its short-liv'd Shade :
10767 ---For soon the mid-day Beams with burning Heat,
10768 Wither the Boughs, and on his Temples beat;
10769 When God a Gourd of speedy Growth prepares,
10770 Which o're his Head a pleasing Arbor rears;
10771 Beneath whose verdant Canopy he lay,
10772 Enjoy'd the Breez and shunn'd the scorching Day :
10773 How ling'ring is our Pain ! how short our Joys
10774 A feeble Worm the with'ring Gourd destroys.
10775 Arose the Sun with fierce and sultry Beams,
10776 And pours directly down his golden Streams;
10777 As on his burning Equinox he rides,
10778 And equal Rays to both the Poles divides:
10779 Enrag'd the fainting Prophet gasps for Breath,
10780 His Gourd is gone, he asks the Shades of Death :
10781 When thus that Goodness which the Best forbears,
10782 And Sinners till full ripe for Vengeance spares;
10783 Can Jonah for a night-born Gourd lament,
10784 And shall not God for Nineveh relent!
10785 The Beasts themselves the common Makers Care,
10786 Shou'd he regardless them forget to spare,
10787 Myriads of Innocents wou'd plead for Mercy there.