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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Author Unknown

Jonah’s Voyage in the Whale

From ‘Patience,’ a Poem of the Fourteenth Century: Version of Israel Gollancz

AS a mote in at a minster door, so mighty were its jaws,

Jonah enters by the gills, through slime and gore;

he reeled in through a gullet, that seemed to him a road,

tumbling about, aye head over heels,

till he staggers to a place as broad as a hall;

then he fixes his feet there and gropes all about,

and stands up in its belly, that stank as the devil;

in sorry plight there, ’mid grease that savored as he

his bower was arrayed, who would fain risk no ill.

Then he lurks there and seeks in each nook of the nave

the best sheltered spot, yet nowhere he finds

rest or recovery, but filthy mire

wherever he goes; but God is ever dear;

and he tarried at length and called to the Prince….

Then he reached a nook and held himself there,

where no foul filth encumbered him about.

He sat there as safe, save for darkness alone,

as in the boat’s stern, where he had slept ere.

Thus, in the beast’s bowel, he abides there alive,

three days and three nights, thinking aye on the Lord,

His might and His mercy and His measure eke;

now he knows Him in woe, who could not in weal.

And onward rolls the whale through deep wild-seas,

through many rough regions, in stubborn will;

for, though that mote in its maw was small,

that monster grew sickish at heart, I trow,

and worried the wight. And Jonah aye heard

the huge flood as it lashed the whale’s back and its sides.