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"And straight the sun was flecked with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace!) As if through a dungeon
grate he peered, With broad and burning
"Alas! (thought I, and my
heart beat loud) How fast she nears and
nears! Are those her sails that
glance in the sun, Like restless gossameres?
"Are those her ribs through which the sun 185 Did peer, as through a grate? And is that Woman all her crew? Is that a Death? and are
there two? Is Death that woman's
"Her lips were red, her looks were free, 190 Her locks were yellow as gold: Her skin was as white as
leprosy, The nightmare Life-in
Death was she, Who thicks man's blood
"The naked hulk alongside came, 195
And the twain were casting I
dice; 'The game is done! I've
won, I've won!' Quoth she, and whistles
"The sun's rim dips; the
stars rush out: At one stride comes the I
dark; 200 With far-heard whisper,
o'er the sea, Off shot the spectre-bark. I
One after another.
His shipmates drop down dead.
The stars were dim, and
thick the night, The steersman's face by his
lamp gleamed white; From the sails the dew did drip— Till clomb above the eastern bar The horned moon, with one bright star 210 Within the nether tip.
"One after one, by the stardogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, And cursed me with his eye. 215
"Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.
"The souls did from their bodies fly,— 220
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!"
Part IV "I fear thee, ancient Mar- The Wedding
• t Guest feareth that
mer • a spirit is talking to
I fear thy skinny hand! 225 And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
"I fear thee and thy glitter-
And thy skinny hand, so brown."—
But Life-in-Death begins her work on the ancient Mar
But t1n' ancient Mariner assureth him of his bodily life, and proceeaeth to relate his horrible penance.
He despiseth the creatures of the calm,
And envieth that they should live, and to many be dead.
But the curse liveth for him in the eye of the dead
"Fear not, fear not, thou
This body dropt not down.
"Alone, alone, all, all alone, Alone on a wide, wide sea! And never a saint took
pity on My soul in agony. 235
"The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie: And a thousand thousand slimy things Lived on; and so did I.
"I looked upon the rotting sea, 240
And drew my eyes away; I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
"I looked to heaven, and tried to pray; But or ever a prayer had gusht, 245 A wicked whisper came, and made My heart as dry as dust.
"I closed my lids, and kept
them close, And the balls like pulses |
beat; For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky, 250 Lay like a load on my weary eye, And the dead were at my
"The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me 255
Had never passed away.
"An orphan's curse would
drag to hell A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that Is the curse in a dead man's eye! 260
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse, And yet I could not die.
"The moving moon went
up the sky, And nowhere did abide: Softly she was going up, 265 And a star or two beside—
"Her beams bemocked the
sultry main, Like April hoar-frost spread; But where the ship's huge
shadow lay, The charmed water burnt
alway 270 A still and awful red.
"Beyond the shadow of
the ship, I watched the water-snakes: They moved in tracks of
shining white, And when they reared, the
elfish light 275 Fell off in hoary flakes.
"Within the shadow of
the ship I watched their rich attire: Blue, glossy green, and
velvet black, They coiled and swam;
and every track 280 Was a flash of golden fire.
"O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware! 285
Sure my kind saint took pity on me, And I blessed them unaware.
"The selfsame moment I
could pray; And from my neck so free
In his loneliness and fixedness be yearneth towards the journeying moon, and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward; and everywhere the blue sky belongs to them, and 1s their appointed rest, and their native country and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected; and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival.
By the light of the moon he beholdeth God's creatures of the great calm.
Their beauty and their happiness.
He blesseth them in his heart.
The spell begins tc break.
anc1ent Mariner is refreshed with rain.
He heareth sounds
ind seeth strange sights and commo
The Albatross fell off, and sank 290
Like lead into the sea.
"Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole! To Mary Queen the praise
be given! She sent the gentle sleep
from Heaven, 295 That slid into my soul.
"The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained, I dreamt that they were
filled with dew; And when I awoke, it
"My lips were wet, my throat was cold, My garments all were dank; Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.
"I moved, and could not feel my limbs: 305
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.
"And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear; 310 But with its sound it shook the sails, That were so thin and sere.
"The upper air burst into life! And a hundred fire-flags sheen, To and fro they were hurried about; 315
And to and fro, and in and out, The wan stars danced between.
"And the coming wind did
roar more loud, And the sails did sigh like
sedge; And the rain poured down from one black cloud; The moon was at its edge.
"The thick black cloud was cleft, and still 322
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag, 325
A river steep and wide.
"The loud wind never reached the ship, spired, and the
Yet now the ship moved on! slup movcs on:Beneath the lightning and the moon
"They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose, 331
"The helmsman steered, the ship moved on; 335
like lifeless tools— We were a ghastly crew.
"The body of my brother's son 341
Stood by me, knee to knee:
"I fear thee, ancient Mar
But not by the souls of the men, nor by demons of earth or middle air. but by a blessed troop of angelic spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint.
'Twas not those souls that
fled in pain, Which to their corses came
again, But a troop of spirits blest:
"For when it dawned— they dropped their arms, 350
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.
"Around, around, flew each
sweet sound, Then darted to the sun; 355 Slowly the sounds came
back again, Now mixed, now one by
from the sky I heard the skylark sing; Sometimes all little birds
that are, 360 How they seemed to fill
the sea and air With their sweet jargoning!
"And now 'twas like all
instruments, Now like a lonely flute; And now it is an angel's
song, 365 That makes the heavens be
"It ceased; yet still the
sails made on A pleasant noise till noon, A noise like of a hidden
brook In the leafy month of June, 370
That to the sleeping woods all night Singeth a quiet tune.
"Till noon we quietly sailed on, Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship, 375
Moved onward from beneath.
"Under the keel nine
fathom deep, From the land of mist and
snow, The spirit slid; and it was he That made the ship to go. The sails at noon left off
their tune, 381 And the ship stood still
"The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean;
But in a minute she 'gan stir, 38s
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length,
With a short uneasy motion.
"Then like a pawing horse let go, She made a sudden bound: It flung the blood into my head, 391 And I fell down in a swound.
"How long in that same fit Hay, I have not to declare; But ere my living life
returned, 395 I heard, and in my soul
discerned Two voices in the air.
"'Is it he?' quoth one, 'is this the man? By Him who died on cross, With his cruel bow he laid full low 400
The harmless Albatross.
'"The spirit who bideth
by himself In the land of mist and
Spirit from the south pole carries 00 the ship as far as the Line, in obedience to the angelic troop, but still requireth vengeance.
The Polar Spirit's fellow-demons, the invisible inhabitants of the element, take part in bis wrong, and two of them relate, one to the other, that penance long and heavy for the ancient Mariner bath been accorded to the Polar Spirit. who returoeth southward.
The Mariner hath been cast into a trance; for the anrelk power causeth the vessel to drive northward faster than human life could endure
He loved the bird
loved the man Who shot him with his bow.' 405
"The other was a softer
voice, As soft as honey-dew: Quoth he, 'The man hath
penance done, And penance more will do.'
'"But tell me, tell me! speak again, 410
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast? What is the ocean doing?'
"'Still as a slave before
his lord, The ocean hath no blast; His great bright eye most
silently 416 Up to the moon is cast—
"'If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him, smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously 420
She looketh down on him.'
First Voice "'But why drives on that
ship so fast, Without or wave or wind?'
"'The air is cut away
before, And closes from behind.
'"Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high! 426
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated.'
The supernatural motion is retarded; the Marin e r awakes, and his penance begins anew.
"I woke, and we were sailing on, 430
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood to-
"All stood together on the deck,
"The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Nor turn them up to pray.
"And now this spell was Jf££!%?kbaSiy
snapt: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet
little saw Of what had else been seen—
"Like one, that on a lonesome road 446
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend 450
Doth close behind him tread.
"But soon there breathed
a wind on me, Nor sound nor motion made: Its path was not upon the
sea, In ripple or in shade. 455
"It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek Like a meadow-gale of spring— It mingled strangely with my fears, Yet it felt like a welcoming.