The Sea-Serpent’s Answer To Jonathan

By Ora

As late I trod the sounding shore,

And listen’d to the ocean’s roar;

Sad gazing o’er the wat’ry way,

My thoughts with one that’s far away;

I saw the curling waves divide,

And floating proudly on the tide

The Serpent came! his glitt’ring crest

Rose high above the billow’s breast;

His brilliant scales of varied glow

Reflected in the wave below;

While flash’d his eye with glance severe

Like sun-beam on a glitt’ring spear:

Pow’rless, inert, I stood amaz’d,

While haughty round, the monster gaz’d;

Then spoke; his voice was like the breeze

Rushing amidst the forest trees:—

What first he said, I could not hear,

My senses were benumb’d by fear;

He seem’d to speak of some address

Made through the medium of the press,

Then cried, “I wish that man to see,

“Who fram’d this strange address to me,

“For he must be, (none can deny)

“As much a non-descript as I;—

“He asks me many a question wise}

“About my form, my shell and eyes;}

“To those I scorn to give replies:}

“Some few I’ll answer of the best;

“Who pleases answer all the rest.—

“He asks, “what ocean is my home?”

“ ’Tis through each ocean’s depths to roam:

“I have no home, is my reply,

“The wandering Jew of ocean I.

“He asks, “what ocean gave me birth?”

“I was not born on sea or earth;

“I sprang to life, at God’s command,

“Ere Man was moulded by his hand;

“Then I possess’d the pow’r to rove

“O’er hill or dale, through mead or grove;

“Aloft, on any a circling spire,

“With scale of gold, and eye of fire:

“Admir’d, admiring; fearing none,

“In splendid pride—unmatch’d—alone—

“Curs’d be the day I left the main,

“To sport on earth’s enamel’d plain!

“Or sought the gates of Paradise,

“And wanton’d in its groves of spice.

“Wearied, at length, I sank to rest;

“I woke with dreadful weight opprest!

“In vain I strove, with artful wile,

“To free myself from Satan’s toil;

“In vain I sought to reach the wave,

“I felt myself a passive slave;

“A fire was in my breast and brain;

“I know not how I reach’d the plain

“Where rich in fruit and fragrance stood,

“The Test of Man, the Tree of God!

“Near it, array’d in ev’ry grace,

“A faultless form, an angel’s face,

“The Woman stood; I will not tell}

“The guilty act by which she fell.—}

“ ’Tis mourn’d in Heaven, and prais’d in Hell!}

“With rapid speed I left the tree,

“I felt again that I was free;

“By instinct urg’d I sought to fly,

“Joy swell’d my heart, and hope mine eye;

“For, from the taste of that dread tree,

“I knew that speech remain’d to me;

“Short was my rapture—judgment came;

“Well is my sentence known to fame!

“Still does that fire in me remain;

“And I a tenant of the main.—

“Five thousand years and more, have flown,

“And still I live, and live alone.

“My life must last while earth remains;

“Fain would I die, but Heaven restrains:

“On me how useless are your arts!

“Pow’rless your balls—pointless your darts:

“Vainly your puny nets are spread;

“My Fate withholds me from the dead!”

He ceas’d—and plunging in the sea,

Left me from fear, and danger free.

With rapid step I left the shore,

Nor saw the “Great Sea-Monster” more.


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