The Sea-Monster

By Jonathan

Good mister Monster, pray how big art thou?

What is thy shape?—How art thou made?

Art fashion’d like a fish, snake, horse, or how?

Come to the land and talk with me;

Be not afraid

And I will tell thee what folks think of thee.

’Tis said, when stretch’d at length upon the ocean,

That thou wilt reach a half a mile, or so,

Looking like rum-casks swimming in a row;

And when thy train thou writhest to and fro,

The sea is thrown in terrible commotion.

Like other bloated reptiles, fill’d with pride,

Thy head thou rearest high above the tide,

And seem’st, in op’ning thy huge jaws, to say,

Like them, ‘ye pigmies, keep out of my way.’

Where are there kept to sell

The raw materials of thy ball-proof shell?

A coat like yours would be a clever thing

For many a war-like President and King.

What is thy colour? Diff’rent people say

That thou art black, white, brown, and green & grey,

And that thy eyes, not with “hell’s sparkles” glow,*

But that they are two hells in embryo.

Thou’st fond of mutton, too, they say;

For sometimes thou wilt sweep

Out of the sea to catch a harmless sheep:—

How many hundreds could’s thou eat a day?

Pray, great Sir Monster, whither dost thou roam?

And tell us wherefore thou hast left thy home.

Where is thy home?—What ocean gave thee birth?

Wast born in frozen regions of the Pole,

Where Northern seas their icy billows roll,

And Hecla’s thunders shake the solid earth?

Hast heard the Baltic with hoarse clangour rave?

Or, as thy beard and whiskers say indeed,

Art thou a Musselman of Turkish breed?

And hast thou bath’d in the Ægean wave?

Why hast thou left thy home?

Like Europe’s peasants, have you learn’d to hate

Your native clime, and hence expatriate?

Or dost thou hither come,

Flying from justice, a French refugee,

To this “asylum of oppress’d humanity?”

Or art thou,—like the Yankies [sic] who, of late,

Expect to find, sans labour, care, or money,

A place which overflows with milk and honey,—

To western lands about to emigrate?

In one thing thou hast been more wise than they,

Who to this earthly Eden beg their way;

Thy monstrous shoal of herring long will last

To give thee, ev’ry day, a rich repast:

Twas kind in thee to drive them to Cape-Ann,

Where every being is a fisherman.

Didst ever see a whale? Some folks there are,

Who say thou art a whale, and e’en declare,

The very one, in whose capacious crop

Old Jonah liv’d, like King in butcher’s shop.

That thou art the Behemoth some believe,—

Some, the Leviathan of which Job writ,—

Some, the same serpent that beguiled Eve,—

And some that thou are Satan from the pit.

Thou seem’st whate’er folks say, whate’er thou be,

At least, the mighty Mogul of the sea.

*A spark of hell lies burning on his eye.

Airs of Palestine.


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