|Anon.||trans. Marie Borroff (from Middle English)|
Anon out of þe norþ-east þe noys bigynes,
When boþe breþes con blowe vpon blo watteres;
Rogh rakkes þer ros with rudnyng anvnder,
Þe see soughed ful sore, gret selly to here.
Þe wyndes on þe wonne water so wrastel togeder
Þat þe wawes ful wode waltered so highe
And efte busched to þe abyme, þat breed fysches
Durst nowhere for rogh arest at þe bothem.
When þe breth and þe brok and þe bote metten,
Hit watz a joyles gyn þat Jonas watz inne,
For hit reled on roun vpon þe roghe yþes.
Þe bur ber to hit baft, þat braste alle her gere,
Þen hurled on a hepe þe helme and þe sterne;
Furst tomurte mony rop and þe mast after;
Þe sayl sweyed on þe see, þenne suppe bihoued
Þe coge of þe colde water, and þenne þe cry ryses.
Yet coruen þay þe cordes and kest al þeroute;
Mony ladde þer forth lep to laue and to kest -
Scopen out þe scaþel water þat fayn scape wolde -
For be monnes lode neuer so luþer, þe lyf is ay swete.
Þer watz busy ouer borde bale to kest,
Her bagges and her feþer-beddes and her bryght wedes,
Her kysttes and her coferes, her caraldes alle,
And al to lyghten þat lome, yif leþe wolde schape.
Bot euer watz ilyche loud þe lot of þe wyndes,
And euer wroþer þe water and wodder þe stremes.
Þen þo wery forwroght wyst no bote,
Bot vchon glewed on his god þat gayned hym beste:
Summe to Vernagu þer vouched avowes solemne,
Summe to Diana deuout and derf Neptune,
To Mahoun and to Mergot, þe mone and þe sunne,
And vche lede as he loued and layde had his hert.
Þen bispeke þe spakest, dispayred wel nere:
"I leue here be sum losynger, sum lawles wrech,
Þat hatz greued his god and gotz here amonge vus.
Lo, al synkes in his synne and for his sake marres.
I lovue þat we lay lotes on ledes vchone,
And whoso lympes þe losse, lay hym þeroute;
And quen þe gulty is gon, what may gome trawe
Bot He þat rules þe rak may rwe onn þose oþer?"
Þis watz sette in asent, and sembled þay were,
Herghed out of vche hyrne to hent þat falles.
And now out of the northeast the noise begins
As they blow with both their breaths over bleak waters;
The cloud-rack runs ragged, reddening beneath;
The ocean howls hellishly, awful to hear;
The winds on the wan water so wildly contend
That the surges ascending are swept up so high
And then drawn back to the depths, that fear-dazed fish
Dare not rest, for that rage, at the roiled sea-bottom.
When wind and waves as one had worked their will
All joyless was the jolly boat Jonah had boarded;
For she reeled all around upon the rough waves;
The shock of the after wind shattered all her gear,
Hurled helter-skelter the helm and the stern,
Tore loose her tackle, toppled her mast;
The sail swam on the sea; the deck swaying down
Must drink ever deeper, and now the din rises.
They cut cords from the cargo and cast it away;
Many a lad leapt forth to unloose and to cast;
They baled the baneful water, bent on escape,
For though we like our lot but little, life is ever sweet.
So they hauled and they hoisted and heaved over the side
Their bags and their featherbeds and their bright-hued clothes,
Their coffers of costly goods, their casks and their chests,
All to lighten their load, if relief could be had.
But the winds, unwearying, blew wilder than ever,
And the maelstrom ever madder and more to be feared,
Till, wearied out and woeful, they worked no more,
But each turned to the god in whose grace he trusted.
Some to Vernagu devoutly vouchsafed their prayers;
Some addressed them to Diana and doom-dealing Neptune;
To Mahommed and Magog, the Moon and the Sun,
As each followed his faith and had fixed his heart.
Then up spoke the wisest, well-nigh despairing:
"I believe there is some outlaw, some disloyal wretch,
Who has grieved his god and goes here among us;
For his sins we are sinking and soon will perish.
Let us now lay a lottery alike upon all,
And whoso is singled out, send him into the water,
And when the evil one is ousted, what else can we trust
But that the ruler of the rain-cloud will let the rest be?"
They assented to this speech, and summoned were all
From every corner of that craft, to come and stand trial.
Trans. Copyright © W.W.Norton & Co. Inc. 2001, 1977, 1967 - publ. W.W.Norton. Original with acknowledgements to University of Exeter Press.