~ Ian Doescher ~
TALE OF NOAH
When people multiplied o’er all the earth
There were full many daughters born to them.
These daughters, to which they had given birth,
Unto the sons of God seem’d like a gem—
So fair were they, in beauty so array’d.
The sons of God from them did choose their wives.
God said, “Since mortals have of flesh been made,
My spirit shall not e’er support their lives.
One hundred twenty years their days shall span.”
Now when the errant sons of God went out
And wed the daughters of the human clan,
The Nephilim, strong warriors and stout,
Were roaming o’er the earth in pow’r and might.
These were the giants who, with strength ablaze,
Did triumph in the battles they did fight—
Were heroes of renown in ancient days.
Then God saw that the people’s hearts were vile,
And prone to ev’ry wicked, evil thought.
O’er all the earth they spread their filthy bile,
So that God’s heart with grief and shame was fraught.
God said, “I shall destroy what I created—
The people, animals, the birds that fly—
For since their evil goes on unabated,
My heart has sorrowful been made thereby.”
There was an upright man call’d Noah who
Found favor in God’s sight, most high and broad.
This is his tale: a blameless man, and true:
In righteousness did Noah walk with God.
Now Noah had a wife whose heart was brave,
They had three sons nam’d Japheth, Ham and Shem.
These men, much like their father, God forgave—
Thus Noah’s venture also came to them.
The earth was fill’d with sin and violence,
All people with corruption were replete.
God saw their wrongs, so grave and so immense,
And pledg’d to make an end of them complete.
God said to Noah, “I shall make an end
Of all the flesh that liveth on the earth,
For in brutality their days they spend
And all their cruelty has but little worth.
Thus, make thyself an ark of cypress wood,
With rooms inside and cover’d o’er with pitch.
Its scope must be with prowess understood:
So shall it be made strong in ev’ry stitch.
Three hundred cubits shalt thou make the length,
And thirty cubits tall from base to head.
With fifty cubits shall its width have strength,
Thus may its course run clear, not be misled.
A roof shall cover o’er the ark entire,
And one large door shall open on the side.
Three decks shalt thou build: lower, mid and higher,
Thus shall the ones within it safely ride.
My role in this shall be to bring the flood,
The rising tide of waters o’er the ground.
Thus I’ll destroy—with ne’er a drop of blood—
All flesh in which the breath of life is found;
For all shall die. Yet Noah, thou shalt live!—
And with thee shall my covenant be made.
To you, your wife, your sons and their wives give
I now this ark; thus, be thou not afraid.
Go then, and seek out two of ev’ry kind
Of all the living things that do have breath.
Bring them—one female and a male one find—
And keep them with you; save them from this death.
Of birds, I pray collect all that have wings,
Of animals, find each and ev’ry one,
E’en find thou all the little creeping things,
Two each: and keep them till the flood is done.
Forget not this: take with thee goodly food,
And store it all within the ark’s vast berth,
It shall keep thy strong energy renew’d
Until the waters dwindle o’er the earth.”
Thus God did speak, and Noah listen’d well,
And did all God commanded on that day.
In faith and righteousness he did excel,
And therefore God’s decree he did obey.
Then God spoke once again and said to him,
“Now go into the ark, you and your house,
Before I bring about this thing most grim.
Go with your sons and those they do espouse.
Take with thee seven pair of all clean beasts,
The males and their companions go with thee.
A single pair of those unclean for feasts,
And seven pair of ev’ry bird you see—
Thus shall you keep alive each of these breeds.
For, by my troth, it shall be seven days
Until I bring the rain for sinful deeds
And blot out humans and their errant ways.
For forty days and nights the rain shall come,
And all shall be destroy’d when it doth fall.”
Again did Noah to God’s will succumb,
That no disaster might on him befall.
Six hundred years of age had
Noah when The waters came and fell upon the land.
And Noah, with his three sons—faithful men—
And all their wives did board at God’s command.
From God’s destruction they made their escape—
Now watch as animals, clean and unclean,
Birds of the air and those of squirming shape
All two by two, female and male convene!
All this was done as God commanded it—
Through Noah’s deference life had rebirth—
In seven days the skies began to spit
And water fell like buckets o’er the earth.
‘Twas the six hundredth year of Noah’s life,
The second month, upon the sev’nteenth day,
The fountains of the deep were fierce and rife—
The windows of the heavens all gave way.
For forty days and forty nights rain fell,
And when it started Noah and his spouse,
And Japheth, Ham and Shem—their wives as well—
All came into the ark as to a house.
With them came ev’ry animal—the wild
And the domestic, each unto their kind,
The wingèd creatures, creeping things—all fil’d
Into the ark, just as God hath design’d.
These all were in the ark, all two by two,
The male and female: any that had breath.
Two each of beings that had flesh came through
And God did seal them in, sav’d them from death.
For forty days the flood did swell the tide,
And bore the ark upon its rippling waves.
The waters rose up high on ev’ry side,
While all without sunk into soggy graves.
The waters even cover’d o’er the mountains,
E’en peaks that once did near the heavens sweep.
The ark rose over all, atop the fountains,
While mounts were sunk full fifteen cubits deep.
And all that walk’d or flew on earth did die:
The animals, both tame and wild as well,
The swarming creatures, birds that touch’d the sky—
With humankind they all did hear death’s knell.
God made an end of ev’ry living thing
That crawl’d or mov’d or stroll’d along the ground.
Each creature that unto its breath did cling
God devastated with a pow’r profound.
‘Twas only Noah, safely in the ark,
And all who travel’d with him who remain’d.
The waters on the earth did make their mark
One hundred fifty days they were sustain’d.
"Noah's Ark Just Before the Flood" by Kazuya-Akimoto
Then Noah said, “O God, stay with us now,
Reject not those who do your righteous will.
Instead, be near us and fulfill your vow
To bear us safely till we shall be still.
My life already has been full and long:
No further boons or blessings could I want.
Yet you have look’d on me with favor strong,
And in your plan have plac’d me at the front.
My heart doth tremble at the friends now lost—
Those who, outside, do perish by your might.
I prithee, now that they are tempest-toss’d,
Give them the grace to die with souls contrite.
Forget not those inside this floating ark,
My sons and I, my wife belovèd too,
My sons’ wives—all of us who seek the spark
Of your vast pow’r and love—pray, see us through.
For certain, we are fill’d with daily fear,
By thy great force we are amaz’d and aw’d.
Bring us to safety—our entreaties hear!
Show us thy mercy with thy might, sweet God.
How shall I sing of thy most holy name?
What melody can this old man give voice?
That you have sav’d me doth my heart proclaim,
Not by some duty, nay—by thine own choice.
Now, be with us as thou hast always been,
Remember how for your commands we toil.
Turn back the waters from the earth again,
And let us walk once more upon the soil.”
Then God remembered Noah and his crew—
Both the domestic animals and wild
Unruly animals, all two by two,
That had into the ark together fil’d.
God brought a wind upon the earth entire,
With God’s own breath it blew upon the ground.
The waters did subside, the rains expire,
The fountains of the deep still’d all their sound.
One hundred fifty days of boundless spray
Had come, and then the floodwaters decreas’d—
The seventh month, upon the se’enteenth day
The ark on Ararat its voyage ceas’d.
Until the tenth month did the waters fall,
Till on the first day of that month they clear’d
Such that, o’er the horizon, mountains tall
In all their brilliant splendor reappear’d.
When forty days had pass’d on Ararat,
Old Noah op’d the window in the side
And sent a raven forth this way and that—
It flew about until the waters dried.
Then Noah sent a dove out from the ark,
To learn if God’s great flood had truly gone.
The dove could find no place to land or park
And thus return’d to Noah’s ark anon.
The waters still envelop’d all the earth;
The dove found neither tree nor branch nor limb.
So Noah stretch’d his hand to give it berth
And safely did the dove return to him.
In seven days he sent the dove outside
To see if from the flood they had relief.
The dove return’d when it was eventide
And in its beak it held an olive leaf.
The flood’s decline thus Noah did discern,
And in another seven days sent out
The dove. This time, the bird did not return,
So Noah rais’d to God this joyous shout:
“O God most merciful, most broad, most high,
I thank you, Lord, that you have brought us through.
With praise resounding unto you I cry:
The life you gave to me I pledge to you.”
‘Twas then, in the six hundred and first year,
The first day of the first month, verily,
The waters from the earth did disappear,
And Noah took the roof off so to see—
There from the ark the land he did survey,
And saw the ground was drying by and by.
The second month, the twenty-seventh day—
E’en on that hour the earth was fully dry.
God said to Noah, “Go forth from the ark,
You with your wife, your sons and their wives too.
Take with you all the beasts that did embark,
That they may increase—thus shall life renew.
The animals, the birds that take to air,
The creeping things that crawl along the ground:
Let them each multiply as I declare,
And let their numbers on the earth abound.
So Noah left the ark with his dear wife,
His sons and their wives left the ark as well.
And all the beasts that had the breath of life
Went forth in families, their ranks to swell.
Then Noah built an altar to his God,
And offer’d on it animals and birds.
The incense rose with fragrance sweet and broad;
To God’s own heart the Lord proclaim’d these words:
“The fertile ground shall nevermore be curs’d
Because of humankind’s most blatant sin.
The hearts of humans always choose the worst,
But I shall not destroy them e’er again.
As long as earth endures in heaven’s sphere—
The cold and heat, the time of crops’ increase,
The summer, winter, seasons of the year,
The day and night—ay, none of these shall cease.”
Then God bless’d Noah and his sons and said,
“Be fruitful, bountiful, and multiply,
May your descendants ever be widespread.
Fill all the earth both far gone and nearby.
And fear of you shall fall on ev’ry beast:
The animals that live by my command,
The birds that roam the sky from west to east,
The fish i’the sea and creeping things on land.
They shall be yours, I place them in your care.
And all the living things are yours to eat,
Just as I give you vegetable fare:
Ay, ev’rything is yours, both plants and meat.
But this you shall not do: not eat the thing
That makes a creature live—I mean its blood.
For ev’ry life owes me a reckoning,
Yes, any life descended from the flood.
Hear this—attend to these words I have said:
Shakespeare's "Globe Theater"