Project Canterbury

Ape Matean Bishop Selwyn

Printed notice, probably by Melanesian Mission Press, Norfolk Island [1898].

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown, translated by Thorgeir Kolshus, 2009


Alo qon February 2, ratol me nina Pau, takele vanua ilone France; i Bishop qara risa ran alo tano epana, natarapena we mageregere. Ni me vetvet valqon wa si na maran qarig, te tavaraka a maran; pa me risarisa tamaike o wik wonowono. Nan alo qon ilone February 9, qara qeteg raka o lulua wa a sisire, wa nasurina tama me mot ran, we vule aneanea we risarisa tamaike. Pa alo qon ilone, Friday, tama alo tine qon qara qeteg nalanala raka, we mapmapsag matila; pa i Doktor me pirin lei, ni we matur galtag.

Iloke nan o vavae mon Mrs. Selwyn i rasoana, ni me rave sin kakakae at munragai nol a Norfolk Is., wa alo valvanua i siwo, wa si:

"Na me tataga i Doktor si na varusia ape gopae iloke si tama avea; nan neia wa si tete esu lai, te qale esu galtag wun o qon si te tuwale, si tagai. Kara qara lolomaran ape matea si arivtag veta; pa ineia, ni gate gilala ran; wa na me kel at suria we varusia ape Ganarono, tama sin gilala lai. Nan neia wa si a maran wun si arisa, ape ilokenake ni we nononom matila ape gene we mava, ni we mageregere; pa ni me vet si kara a matur, i Nurse sin ilogoroa; wa kara qara mawui we risa galtag. Nan tavala maran ni qale mapmapsag gate wia mantag, gate vavava vaga qoqo, pa si nasurina we mageregere aneane. Pa o loa me qeteg tapariu veta, wa na me ilo nanagona we sea nan amoa, wa i Nurse me vet si te paso nake. Ni me ronotag wun si tagai? pa ni qara varus nau wa si, O matea nake? Nan nau wa si o matea. Nan ni me varus mulan si we nun ran? Nan nau wa si We nun, meratape, na me gilala veta. Nan alo ilone ni me sagarag rorono inau, wa na me ilo namatana, ni gate gogolo ilo. Pa galewora ni me vava, pa mun o linai we mano poa we mava, we vet wa, "O sogov mon Lord inina Jesus Christ wa o tapeva mon God wa o pulpul mon o Vui we Rono ni toga amen nina nol ti tuai ti tuai. Amen." Ilone o nonomia wa ilone o vavae amaia; ni me vavava rorono tamaike, si we vava poa, we lalanag napanena, tama alo Ima we Rono, wa si nina nol, nol. Alo loa ti tan vagavat, i Pearlie natuna me vasogo o tataro ilone we ukeg isei nia ilo matea; wa me wia munia, ni me vet sin toga rorono ilokenake. Wa tama non o nonomia sur God vires, ni qara gilala sin te mate tamaike, wa ni tete nonom lai ape tanun. Pa tama o nonomia te ava, wa ti vet si we mageregere aneane; wa vagarua, tama si neia vawo aka, ni me vet si, "Log nau alo bell tuwale, nipea ava, si na mamata alo bell tuwale." Wa me tamaine ran, gate ava ilo, alo masao qon ran ilone God me logia, wa ni me mamata raka a Paradis. Ape o loa me tan vagavat ti, wa ni qara mapmapsag mantag tama o natmera, wa o vivtig tagai, wa ni me sagsagarag kara, wa kara me ronotag lai o vavae ilone o paspasonai, wa si, "Tapeva mon God, ------- Pulpul;" wa o loa ti sus, o bell tuwale te tan ti vawo aka, wa ni qara mapsag mot.

Pa alo Monday, alo matava ran, me sasa neia ilo Ima we Rono, wa me Ganarono aia. Wa a liwomaran, o tataro ape tavig tamate me paso, qara sasa lue neia we mano aras ape tano tamate; wa ikamam tama pul sanavul vat we tataga we mule ruarua mun o ranoi. Wa alo vanua ilone o sul a matesala we tira reag, wa saru savrag o tamate, wa o vavtig soldier alo tinesara me tira rorono, tama si neia o tagvanua. Pa me vanovia alo qarana sin mapsagia, wa me sur o as, qara kel vitagia ilo vanua. Wa me riv ape qat qaranina o metigtig nirua; ape alo vanua ilone o metigtig te maur mantag, wa sin tama o metigtig nan a Norfolk Island, wa alo valvanua nan ilone i siwo.

Pa na we rave tamaike si na gaganag at mun ragai; wa me vula tuwale goro veta, pa tama si gate paso tipa, tama si ilokenake. Pa te nomnom kel apena mun o varean God; mun o nonom ape neia me rono rarakut, we rono maul, we rono malamuaga ran, gate siriga ilo, gate wutoto ilo; wa mun o nonom mulan ape ni me sov mantag lai naatana avunan i Lord, wa si me sogov ma munia o tur tamata alo qonina o paspasoanai."



February 2 in the evening, the three of them reached Pau, a part of France; the Bishop just lay down on his bed, his body was weak. He kept saying that even if he was idle today, he would rise again tomorrow; but he spent the whole week in bed. Then on February 9, he began to vomit and came down with diarrhoea, and his body seemed to be crumbling, it is wearisome lying down all the time this way. But on that day, Friday, around midnight, he started gasping for air, vainly trying to rest; but the Doctor managed to help him, so he slept for a while.

These are the words of Mrs. Selwyn, his wife, which she wrote so that they could be spread to everyone on Norfolk Island, and on every other island down there, and they go:

I followed the Doctor to ask him about the illness, how it was going; and about him whether he would not survive, or would stay alive for a while, maybe a day, or not. The two of us had just realised that death could be imminent; but he could not tell; and I went back to him and asked about Holy Communion, whether he could carry it through. And he said maybe tomorrow if he was out of bed, because now he could not think about anything important, he was weak; but he said that if the two of us went to sleep, the Nurse could look after him; and we nodded and went to lie down for a short while. The day after he just rested and was not very well, did not speak much, but his body was trembling a lot. Well into the day, I saw that his face looked different, and the Nurse said this was the end. Maybe he heard it or not? but he asked me then, This is Death? And I yes maybe it is [unclear phrasing]. And he asked again, is it really so? And I said It is so, my beloved child, I have seen it already. And at that point he looked at me quietly, and I saw his eyes, he was not afraid. Some time passed, and with a voice that was quite loud and strong, he said, “The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessing of God and the union with the Holy Spirit remain with you for ever and ever. Amen.” These were his thoughts and those were the words on his mind; he stayed quiet, as if having something important to say, raised his hands, as in the church, and to every single one of us. At the strike of four, his child Pearlie read the prayer to release those who are facing the end; and it did him good, he said that he would remain silent for now. And it was as if his mind was set on God, realising now that he would die like this, and he could not have any thoughts for the living. But then it was as if his mind was wandering, and he was about to say something but was too weak; and twice, as if he was onboard the ship, he said "Call me on the first bell, do not miss it, so that I can wake up at the first bell." And this is how it was like, no mistake, at night God called him, and he woke up in Paradise. From the strike of four o’clock, he was resting like a child, without pain, and he looked at the two of us, and we could listen to those final words, and they were, "God’s love ------- be together;" and before the sun was sinking, the bell struck one as on the ship, and he finally rested for good.

And on Monday, in the early morning, he was carried to the church, and there was Holy Communion there. And at noon, after the funeral, he was carried to the cemetery which was quite far away; and we were about forty people who walked two and two by foot. And people along the road would rise and stand, and see the dead pass, and a group of soldiers on the village square stood quietly in rank, as if he were a nobleman [literal translation ‘house owner’, my interpretation]. And we laid him down in the grave, and sang a song, and then left him and walked back to the village. And we planted two palm-like trees at the head of the grave; because in that place the palm tree grows well, it is almost like the palm tree on Norfolk Island, and all the other islands down there.

But I write this so that it can be told to the others; it is already one month ago, but it is as if it is not yet over, as if it is still happening. But thinking back is with thanks to God; in remembrance of him who suffered so much, who suffered for so long, who truly suffered [malamuaga is unfortunately difficult to disentangle], did not tire, did not complain; and think about how he may rest his soul on the Lord, and how he blessed him with true peace on his last day."

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