“The Sermon” Poem by Herman Melville

The Sermon

     “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.”

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