|Temple de Lyon, Nommé paradis / Jean Perrissin, 1564|
Image Credit: Chrétiens et Sociétés XVIe-XXIe siècles
The Inquirer took this excerpt on Father Mapple from Moby-Dick (the London edition, titled The Whale), reprinting the text of the British edition from "I had not been seated very long . . ." to "Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah, 'and God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.' "
Photo: Trip Advisor
. . . like most old-fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one. . . .
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,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.' "
Arch'd over me a dismal gloom,
While all God's sun-lit waves roll'd by,
And left 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 call'd 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 songs forever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power."
The Mapple excerpt printed in the Washington Daily Union (November 30, 1851) stopped at the end of chapter 8 and thus did not include the altered psalm with Melville's radiant dolphin. The passage from the Philadelphia Inquirer (November 22, 1851) is the first and only newspaper excerpt from I have seen with Mapple's hymn.