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Naufragium exposes the Dangers of those that go to Sea; the various and foolish Superstition of Mariners. An elegant Description of a Storm. They indeed run a Risque that throw their valuable Commodities into the Sea. Mariners impiously invoke the Virgin Mary, St. Christopher, and the Sea itself. Saints are not to be pray'd to, but God alone.


Ant. You tell dreadful Stories: Is this going to Sea? God forbid that ever any such Thing should come into my Mind.

Adol. That which I have related, is but a Diversion, in Comparison to what you'll hear presently.

Ant. I have heard Calamities enough already, my Flesh trembles to hear you relate them, as if I were in Danger myself.

Adol. But Dangers that are past, are pleasant to be thought on. One thing happen'd that Night, that almost put the Pilot out of all Hopes of Safety.

Ant. Pray what was that?

Adol. The Night was something lightish, and one of the Sailors was got into the Skuttle (so I think they call it) at the Main-Top-Mast, looking out if he could see any Land; a certain Ball of Fire began to stand by him, which is the worst Sign in the World to Sailors, if it be single; but a very good one, if double. The Antients believed these to be Castor and Pollux.

Ant. What have they to do with Sailors, one of which was a Horseman, and the other a Prize-Fighter?

Adol. It was the Pleasure of Poets, so to feign. The Steersman who sat at the Helm, calls to him, Mate, says he, (for so Sailors call one another) don't you see what a Companion you have by your Side? I do see, says he, and I pray that he may be a lucky one. By and by this fiery Ball glides down the Ropes, and rolls itself over and over close to the Pilot.

Ant. And was not he frighted out of his Wits?

Adol. Sailors are us'd to terrible Sights. It stopp'd a little there, then roll'd itself all round the Sides of the Ship; after that, slipping through the Hatches, it vanished away. About Noon the Storm began to increase. Did you ever see the Alps?

Ant. I have seen them.

Adol. Those Mountains are Mole Hills, if they be compar'd to the Waves of the Sea. As oft as we were toss'd up, one might have touch'd the Moon with his Finger; and as oft as we were let fall down into the Sea, we seem'd to be going directly down to Hell, the Earth gaping to receive us.

Ant. O mad Folks, that trust themselves to the Sea!

Adol. The Mariners striving in Vain with the Storm, at length the Pilot, all pale as Death comes to us.

Ant. That Paleness presages some great Evil.

Adol. My Friends, says he, I am no longer Master of my Ship, the Wind has got the better of me; all that we have now to do is to place our Hope in God, and every one to prepare himself for Death.

Ant. This was cold Comfort.

Adol. But in the first Place, says he, we must lighten the Ship; Necessity requires it, tho' 'tis a hard Portion. It is better to endeavour to save our Lives with the Loss of our Goods, than to perish with them. The Truth persuaded, and a great many Casks of rich Merchandize were thrown over-Board. Ant. This was casting away, according to the Letter.

Adol. There was in the Company, a certain Italian, that had been upon an Embassy to the King of Scotland. He had a whole Cabinet full of Plate, Rings, Cloth, and rich wearing Apparel.

Ant. And he, I warrant ye, was unwilling to come to a Composition with the Sea.

Adol. No, he would not; he had a Mind either to sink or swim with his beloved Riches.

Ant. What said the Pilot to this?

Adol. If you and your Trinkets were to drown by yourselves, says he, here's no Body would hinder you; but it is not fit that we should run the Risque of our Lives, for the Sake of your Cabinet: If you won't consent, we'll throw you and your Cabinet into the Sea together.

Ant. Spoken like a Tarpawlin.

Adol. So the Italian submitted, and threw his Goods over-Board, with many a bitter Curse to the Gods both above and below, that he had committed his Life to so barbarous an Element.

Ant. I know the Italian Humour.

Adol. The Winds were nothing the less boisterous for our Presents, but by and by burst our Cordage, and threw down our Sails.

Ant. Lamentable!

Adol. Then the Pilot comes to us again.

Ant. What, with another Preachment?

Adol. He gives us a Salute; my Friends, says he, the Time exhorts us that every one of us should recommend himself to God, and prepare for Death. Being ask'd by some that were not ignorant in Sea Affairs, how long he thought the Ship might be kept above Water, he said, he could promise nothing, but that it could not be done above three Hours.

Ant. This was yet a harder Chapter than the former.

Adol. When he had said this, he orders to cut the Shrouds and the Mast down by the Board, and to throw them, Sails and all, into the Sea.

Ant. Why was this done?

Adol. Because, the Sail either being gone or torn, it would only be a Burden, but not of Use; all our Hope was in the Helm.

Ant. What did the Passengers do in the mean Time?

Adol. There you might have seen a wretched Face of Things; the Mariners, they were singing their Salve Regina, imploring the Virgin Mother, calling her the Star of the Sea, the Queen of Heaven, the Lady of the World, the Haven of Health, and many other flattering Titles, which the sacred Scriptures never attributed to her.

Ant. What has she to do with the Sea, who, as I believe, never went a Voyage in her Life?

Adol. In ancient Times, Venus took Care of Mariners, because she was believ'd to be born of the Sea and because she left off to take Care of them, the Virgin Mother was put in her Place, that was a Mother, but not a Virgin.

Ant. You joke.

Adol. Some were lying along upon the Boards, worshipping the Sea, pouring all they had into it, and flattering it, as if it had been some incensed Prince.

Ant. What did they say?

Adol. O most merciful Sea! O most generous Sea! O most rich Sea! O most beautiful Sea, be pacified, save us; and a Deal of such Stuff they sung to the deaf Ocean.

Ant. Ridiculous Superstition! What did the rest do?

Adol. Some did nothing but spew, and some made Vows. There was an Englishman there, that promis'd golden Mountains to our Lady of Walsingham, so he did but get ashore alive. Others promis'd a great many Things to the Wood of the Cross, which was in such a Place; others again, to that which was in such a Place; and the same was done by the Virgin Mary, which reigns in a great many Places, and they think the Vow is of no Effect, unless the Place be mentioned.

Ant. Ridiculous! As if the Saints did not dwell in Heaven.

Adol. Some made Promises to become Carthusians. There was one who promised he would go a Pilgrimage to St. James at Compostella, bare Foot and bare Head, cloth'd in a Coat of Mail, and begging his Bread all the Way.

Ant. Did no Body make any Mention of St. Christopher?

Adol. Yes, I heard one, and I could not forbear laughing, who bawling out aloud, lest St. Christopher should not hear him, promised him, who is at the Top of a Church at Paris, rather a Mountain than a Statue, a wax Taper as big as he was himself: When he had bawl'd out this over and over as loud as he could, an Acquaintance of his jogg'd him on the Elbow, and caution'd him: Have a Care what you promise, for if you should sell all you have in the World, you will not be able to pay for it. He answer'd him softly, lest St. Christopher should hear him, you Fool, says he, do you think I mean as I speak, if I once got safe to Shore, I would not give him so much as a tallow Candle.

Ant. O Blockhead! I fancy he was a Hollander.

Adol. No, he was a Zealander.

Ant. I wonder no Body thought of St. Paul, who has been at Sea, and having suffered Shipwreck, leapt on Shore. For he being not unacquainted with the Distress, knows how to pity those that are in it.

Adol. He was not so much as named.

Ant. Were they at their Prayers all the While?

Adol. Ay, as if it had been for a Wager. One sung his Hail Queen; another, I believe in God. There were some who had certain particular Prayers not unlike magical Charms against Dangers.

Ant. How Affliction makes Men religious! In Prosperity we neither think of God nor Saint. But what did you do all this While? Did you not make Vows to some Saints?

Adol. No, none at all.

Ant. Why so?

Adol. I make no Bargains with Saints. For what is this but a Bargain in Form? I'll give you, if you do so and so; or I will do so and so, if you do so and so: I'll give you a wax Taper, if I swim out alive; I'll go to Rome, if you save me.

Ant. But did you call upon none of the Saints for Help?

Adol. No, not so much as that neither.

Ant. Why so?

Adol. Because Heaven is a large Place, and if I should recommend my Safety to any Saint, as suppose, to St. Peter, who perhaps, would hear soonest, because he stands at the Door; before he can come to God Almighty, or before he could tell him my Condition, I may be lost.

Ant. What did you do then?

Adol. I e'en went the next Way to God the Father, saying, Our Father which art in Heaven. There's none of the Saints hears sooner than he does, or more readily gives what is ask'd for.

Ant. But in the mean Time did not your Conscience check you? Was you not afraid to call him Father, whom you had offended with so many Wickednesses?

Adol. To speak ingenuously, my Conscience did a little terrify me at first, but I presently took Heart again, thus reasoning with myself; There is no Father so angry with his Son, but if he sees him in Danger of being drowned in a River or Pond, he will take him, tho' it be by the Hair of the Head, and throw him out upon a Bank. There was no Body among them all behaved herself more composed than a Woman, who had a Child sucking at her Breast.

Ant. What did she do?

Adol. She only neither bawl'd, nor wept, nor made Vows, but hugging her little Boy, pray'd softly. In the mean Time the Ship dashing ever and anon against the Ground, the Pilot being afraid she would be beat all to Pieces, under-girded her with Cables from Head to Stern.

Ant. That was a sad Shift!

Adol. Upon this, up starts an old Priest about threescore Years of Age, his Name was Adam. He strips himself to his Shirt, throws away his Boots and Shoes, and bids us all in like Manner to prepare ourselves for swimming. Then standing in the middle of the Ship, he preach'd a Sermon to us, upon the five Truths of the Benefit of Confession, and exhorted every Man to prepare himself, for either Life or Death. There was a Dominican there too, and they confess'd those that had a Mind to it.

Ant. What did you do?

Adol. I seeing that every thing was in a Hurry, confess'd privately to God, condemning before him my Iniquity, and imploring his Mercy.

Ant. And whither should you have gone, do you think, if you had perished?

Adol. I left that to God, who is my Judge; I would not be my own Judge. But I was not without comfortable Hopes neither. While these Things were transacting, the Steersman comes to us again all in Tears; Prepare your selves every one of you, says he, for the Ship will be of no Service to us for a quarter of an Hour. For now she leak'd in several Places. Presently after this he brings us Word that he saw a Steeple a good Way off, and exhorts us to implore the Aid of that Saint, whoever it was, who had the protection of that Temple. They all fall down and pray to the unknown Saint.

Ant. Perhaps he would have heard ye, if ye had call'd upon him by his Name.

Adol. But that we did not know. In the mean Time the Pilate steers the Ship, torn and leaking every where, and ready to fall in Pieces, if she had not been undergirt with Cables, as much as he could toward that Place.

Ant. A miserable Condition.

Adol. We were now come so near the Shoar, that the Inhabitants of the Place could see us in Distress, and ran down in Throngs to the utmost Edge of the Shoar, and holding up Gowns and Hats upon Spears, invited us to make towards them, and stretching out their Arms towards Heaven, signified to us that they pitied our Misfortune.

Ant. I long to know what happened.

Adol. The Ship was now every where full of Water, that we were no safer in the Ship than if we had been in the Sea.

Ant. Now was your Time to betake yourself to divine Help.

Adol. Ay, to a wretched one. The Sailors emptied the Ship's Boat of Water, and let it down into the Sea. Every Body was for getting into it, the Mariners cry'd out amain, they'll sink the Boat, it will not hold so many; that every one should take what he could get, and swim for it. There was no Time now for long Deliberation. One gets an Oar, another a Pole, another a Gutter, another a Bucket, another a Plank, and every one relying upon their Security, they commit themselves to the Billows.

Ant. But what became of the Woman that was the only Person that made no Bawling?

Adol. She got to Shoar the first of them all.

Ant. How could she do that?

Adol. We set her upon a broad Plank, and ty'd her on so fast that she could not easily fall off, and we gave her a Board in her Hand to make Use of instead of an Oar, and wishing her good Success, we set her afloat, thrusting her off from the Ship with Poles, that she might be clear of it, whence was the greatest Danger. And she held her Child in her left Hand, and row'd with her right Hand.

Ant. O Virago!

Adol. Now when there was nothing else left, one pull'd up a wooden Image of the Virgin Mary, rotten, and rat-eaten, and embracing it in his Arms, try'd to swim upon it.

Ant. Did the Boat get safe to Land?

Adol. None perish'd sooner than they that were in that, and there were above thirty that had got into it.

Ant. By what bad Accident was that brought about?

Adol. It was overset by the rolling of the Ship, before they could get clear of it.

Ant. A sad Accident: But how then?

Adol. While I was taking Care for others, I had like to have been lost myself.

Ant. How so?

Adol. Because there was nothing left that was fit for swimming.

Ant. There Corks would have been of good Use.

Adol. In that Condition I would rather have had a sorry Cork than a gold Candlestick. I look'd round about me, at Length I bethought myself of the Stump of the Mast, and because I could not get it out alone, I took a Partner; upon this we both plac'd ourselves, and committed ourselves to the Sea. I held the right End, and my Companion the left End. While we lay tumbling and tossing, the old preaching Sea-Priest threw himself upon our Shoulders. He was a huge Fellow. We cry out, who's that third Person? He'll drown us all. But he very calmly bids us be easy, for there was Room enough, God will be with us.

Ant. How came he to be so late?

Adol. He was to have been in the Boat with the Dominican. For they all paid him this Deference. But tho' they had confess'd themselves in the Ship, yet having forgotten I know not what Circumstances, they confess'd over again at the Ship-Side, and each lays his Hand upon the other, and while this was doing the Boat was over-turn'd. This I had from Adam himself.

Ant. What became of the Dominican?

Adol. As the same Man told me, having implor'd the Help of his Saints, and stript himself, he threw himself naked into the Sea.

Ant. What Saints did he call upon?

Adol. St. Dominick, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, and one of the Peters, but I can't tell which: But his chief Reliance was upon Catherinea Senensis.

Ant. Did he not remember Christ?

Adol. Not, as the old Priest told me.

Ant. He would have swam better if he had thrown off his sanctified Coul: But if that had been laid aside, how should Catherine of Siena have known him? But go on and tell me about yourself.

Adol. While we were yet tumbling and tossing near the Ship, which roll'd hither and thither at the Mercy of the Waves, the Thigh of him that held the left End of the Stump of the Mast was broken by a great Spike, and so that made him let go his Hold. The old Priest wishing him everlasting Rest, took his Place, encouraging me to maintain my Post on the right Hand resolutely, and to strike out my Feet stoutly. In the mean Time we drank in abundance of salt Water. For Neptune had provided us not only a salt Bath, but a salt Potion too, altho' the old Priest prescribed a Remedy for it.

Ant. What was that?

Adol. Why, as often as a Billow met us, he turn'd his Head and shut his Mouth.

Ant. You tell me of a brave old Fellow.

Adol. When we had been some Time swimming at this Rate, and had made some Way, the old Priest being a very tall Man, cries out, Be of good Heart, I feel Ground; but I durst not hope for such a Blessing. No, no, says I, we are too far from Shoar to hope to feel Ground. Nay, says he, I feel the Ground with my Feet. Said I, perhaps it is some of the Chests that have been roll'd thither by the Sea. Nay, says he, I am sure I feel Ground by the Scratching of my Toes. Having floated thus a little longer, and he had felt the Bottom again, Do you do what you please, says he, I'll leave you the whole Mast, and wade for it. And so he took his Opportunity, at the Ebbing of the Billows, he made what Haste he could on his Feet, and when the Billows came again, he took Hold of his Knees with his Hands, and bore up against the Billows, hiding himself under them as Sea Gulls and Ducks do, and at the Ebbing of the Wave, he would start up and run for it. I seeing that this succeeded so well to him, followed his Example. There stood upon the Shoar Men, who had long Pikes handed from one to another, which kept them firm against the Force of the Waves, strong bodied Men, and accustom'd to the Waves, and he that was last of them held out a Pike to the Person swimming towards him. All that came to Shoar, and laying hold of that, were drawn safely to dry Land. Some were sav'd this Way.

Ant. How many?

Adol. Seven. But two of these fainted away being brought to the Fire.

Ant. How many were in the Ship?

Adol. Fifty-eight.

Ant. O cruel Sea. At least it might have been content with the Tithes, which are enough for Priests. Did it restore so few out of so great a Number?

Adol. There we had Experience of the wonderful Humanity of the Nation, that supply'd us with all Necessaries with exceeding Chearfulness; as Lodging, Fire, Victuals, Cloaths, and Money to bear our Charges when we went away.

Ant. What Country was it?

Adol. Holland.

Ant. There's no Nation more human, altho' they are encompass'd with such fierce Nations. I fancy you won't be for going to Sea again.

Adol. No, unless God shall please to deprive me of my Reason.

Ant. I would rather hear such Stories than feel them.

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