GOD THE SAVIOR
Author : Herman MELVILLE, c. 1851
paraphasing Death, and the terrors of the grave,
metrical adaptation of Psalm 18 by Isaac WATTS
Source : Moby-Dick, chapter 9
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.
Tune : OLD 100TH
Attr. to Loys BOURGEOIS, 1551
We have sung Melvilles text in worship at Fremont Baptist (Seattle),
and it is a constituent of my "comic worship oratorio" Jonah was a Prophet (Minor)