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About this Poem 

From Moby Dick (Harper & Brothers, 1851)

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.”
 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Born in 1819 into a once-prominent New York family, Herman Melville was raised

by this poet

poem
Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
  The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
  The forest-field of Shiloh—
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
  Around the church of Shiloh—
The church so lone, the log-
poem
Dip, dip, in the brine our paddles dip, 
Dip, dip, the fins of our swimming ship! 
How the waters part, 
As on we dart; 
   Our sharp prows fly, 
   And curl on high, 
As the upright fin of the rushing shark, 
Rushing fast and far on his flying mark! 
Like him we prey; 
Like him we slay; 
   Swim on the foe
poem
About the Shark, phlegmatical one, 
Pale sot of the Maldive sea, 
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim, 
How alert in attendance be. 
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw 
They have nothing of harm to dread, 
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank 
Or before his Gorgonian head: 
Or lurk in