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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 82 | volume XV | January-February, 2012



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 82January-February, 2012
Prose

Moby Dick

an excerpt


/9
p. 1
Herman Melville

CHAPTER 9. The Sermon.

Father Mapple rose, and in a mild voice of unassuming authority ordered the scattered people to condense. "Starboard gangway, there! side away to larboard—larboard gangway to starboard! Midships! midships!"
    There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher.
    He paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit's bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea.
    This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog—in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and joy—
    "The ribs and terrors in the whale,
    Arched over me a dismal gloom,
    While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by,
    And lift me deepening down to doom.
      
    "I saw the opening maw of hell,
    With endless pains and sorrows there;
    Which none but they that feel can tell—
    Oh, I was plunging to despair.
      
    "In black distress, I called my God,
    When I could scarce believe him mine,
    He bowed his ear to my complaints—
    No more the whale did me confine.
      
    "With speed he flew to my relief,
    As on a radiant dolphin borne;
    Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
    The face of my Deliverer God.
      
    "My song for ever shall record
    That terrible, that joyful hour;
    I give the glory to my God,
    His all the mercy and the power."

    Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the howling of the storm. A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down upon the proper page, said: "Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah—'And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.'"
    "Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters—four yarns—is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish's belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters;






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