JONAH: And thus is my blessing and my curse. To have the ear of the God of All, to harken unto His voice and heed His word, ‘twould sound as the ravings of a madman or demon possessed to hear from another’s lips, and yet, am I mad myself? Hast my wits slipped ‘tween my ears ‘pon hearing that great voice—
FOOL (hidden): “Jonah, son of Amittai: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city,
And cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”
JONAH: Again, this voice! By the four winds, am I thus addled? Fly! Fly! Tarshish cannot distance me from my madness!
FOOL: Forsooth, my flying dove, art thou not a good deal off thy course?
What winds blow thee this way by foot or by horse?
JONAH: What say you?
FOOL: Neither are these Gath-hepher and thy Galilean walls,
Nor the palace in Ninevah and its gilded halls.
JONAH: Go to! Who art thou?
FOOL: I am but a hammer, a saw, a tool
By what means God to speak through a fool
JONAH: Vex me not with thy riddles, art thou the voice I heard presently?
FOOL: My voice speaks not my words in speech,
But one whose command I do beseech.
JONAH: Thou art counterfeit in wit and ways, God wouldst never speak through the mouth of a fool.
FOOL: And why not speak through a fool, I pray?
Wouldst thou rather He, like Balaam, used an ass’s bray?
Suit thyself what prefer’st for thou
As like unto like I’ll swear to thy ass’s brow
JONAH: Enough with thy jesting!
FOOL: If I had but more blood to stoke the fire of my liver
I might be a burning bush as unto the Law-giver.
JONAH: Have done!
FOOL: But alack and alas, I am more sodden than my wish,
My dampening humors shall wet thee as 'twere with the fish.
JONAH: Folly is thy name, fool art thou plain!
FOOL: Aye, and should I be naught but a puppet 'pon string,
Sent to thee, for words thou shalt bring.
JONAH: How know ye my charge to Ninevah?
FOOL: I know not that is in the knowing what I may,
Yet I am bid speak, and that which I utter is't what I say.
JONAH: Thou speakest not for God, that is my office.
FOOL: Thou speak'st for God, this is true
What thou shalt in uttering I say'st to you.
JONAH: I'll have thee stoned for saying such!
FOOL: Thou forget
Thy witless wit
Thou doth accuse
A prophetic muse
Though through this mask
I perform my task
And bring thee hence
All that God intents.
JONAH: As far as the east is from the west, from these shores I shall depart, from thee and from Thee, it matters not. My sailor I trust hast acted as my emissary and has secured my passage thus. And so, since I cannot hie thee off, I shall depart from this wretched quay and make haste ere wind and tide strand me here one more hour. I am gone.
FOOL: Ah me, ah my
'Tis not for I
To do nor die
For thee and thy
I shall decry
Storms I know
Shall toss thee O!
With thee I stow
'Til fair winds blow
END SCENE I
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