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SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT
IN SEVEN PARTS
Danila credo, plurersitate. Sed horum cognationes
Facile credo, plures esse Naturas invisibiles quam visibiles in rerum universitate. Sed horum omnium familiam quis nobis enarrabit? et gradus et cognationes et discrimina et singulorum munera ? Quid agunt ? quæ loca habitant ? Harum rerum notitiam semper ambivit ingenium humanum, nunquam attigit. Juvat, interea, non diffiteor, quandoque in animo, tanquam in tabulk, majoris et melioris mundi imaginem contemplari : ne mens assuefacta hodiernæ vitæ minutiis se contrahat nimis, et tota subsidat in pusillas cogitationes. Sed veritati interea invigilandum est, modusque servandus, ut certa ab incertis, diem a nocte, distinguamus. -T. BURNET, Archäol. Phil. p. 68.
wind and fair weather, till it reached the Line.
How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean ; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country. [1798.]
PART I An ancient It is an ancient Mariner, Mariner Anal meeteth three And he stoppeth one of three. Gallants bid. “By thy long grey beard and den to a wed ding-feast,
glittering eye, and detaineth one.
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
ding-Guest heareth the bridal music; but the
tinueth his tale.
The Bridegroom's doors are
opened wide, And I am next of kin; The guests are met, the feast is
set: May'st hear the merry din.”
Higher and higher every day,
For he heard the loud bassoon. The Wed. The bride hath paced into the
Red as a rose is she; Mariner con. Nodding their heads before her
goes The merry minstrelsy. The Wedding-Guest he beat his
breast, Yet he cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient
man, The bright-eyed Mariner. 40 “And now the Storm-blast came,
He holds him with his skinnyhand, “There was a ship," quoth he. 10 "Hold off ! unband me, grey
beard loon!" Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
The ship driven by a storm toward the south pole.
The Wed. He holds him with his glittering ding-Guest is spell-bound
eyeby the eye of The Wedding-Guest stood still, the old seafaring man, And listens like a three years and constrained to
child : hear his tale. The Mariner hath his will.
With sloping masts and dipping
prow, As who pursued with yelland blow
Day after day, day after day,
At first it seemed a little speck,
gins to be
At its nearer approach, it seemeth him to be a ship: and at a dear ransom he freeth his Bpeech from the bonds of thirst.
And the Al. Water, water, every where,
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist ! batross beAnd all the boards did shrink;
And still it neared and neared: avenged. Water, water, every where 121
As if it dodged a water-sprite, Nor any drop to drink.
It plunged and tacked and
With throats unslaked, with
black lips baked, legs
We could nor laugh nor wail; Upon the slimy sea.
Through utter drought all dumb
we stood ! About, about, in reel and rout
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail ! a sail ! 161
With throats unslaked, with white.
black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call: A Spirit had And some in dreams assured A flash of Gramercy they for joy did
grin, Of the Spirit that plagued us
And all at once their breath so:
drew in, parted couls Nine fathom deep he had fol
As they were drinking all.
See ! see! (I cried) she tacks no
more! Constantino- And every tongue, through utter
Hither to work us weal; drought,
without wind Without a breeze, without a tide, Was withered at the root;
She steadies with upright keel! We could not speak, no more than if
The western wave was all aelement with. We had been choked with soot.
171 out one or
The day was well-nigh done! more. The shipAh! well-a-day! what evil looks
Almost upon the western wave mates, in their Had I from old and young! 140 rore distress,
Rested the broad bright Sun; would fain. Instead of the cross, the Alba
When that strange shape drove throw the whole guilt tross
suddenly on the ancient Mariner: in About my neck was bung.
Betwixt us and the Sun. sign whereof they hang the dead sea-bird
It seemeth And straight the Sun was flecked round his PART III
him but the neck.
with bars, There passed a weary time. /
(Heaven's Mother send us Each throat
grace!) Was parched, and glazed each
As if through a dungeon-grate eye.
he peered A weary time! a weary time!
With broad and burning face. How glazed each weary eye, The ancient Mariner be When looking westward, I be
Alas! (thought I, and my heart holdeth a Birn in the held
beat loud) element afar off. A something in the sky.
How fast she nears and nears !
And horror follows. For can it be a ship that comes onward
181 mates drop
Are those her sails that glance | His ship
Four times fifty living men,
And its ribs Are those her ribs through which
They dropped down one by one. are seen as bars on the
the Sun face of the
Did peer, as through a grate ? But Life-insetting Sun.
The souls did from their bodies
Death begins The Spectre And is that Woman all her her work on
fly, Woman and
the ancient crew ?
They fled to bliss or woe! her death
Mariner mate, and no Is that a Death ? and are there
And every soul, it passed me other on board the two ?
by, skeleton-ship. Like vessel, Like vessel," Is Death that Woman's mate?
Like the whizz of my cross-bow!” like crew! Her lips were red, her looks
PART IV , were free,
190 Her locks were yellow as gold:
“I fear thee, ancient Mariner ! Her skin was as white as leprosy, ding-Guest I fear thy skinny hand! The Night-mare Life-in-Death Spirit is talk. And thou art long, and lank, and
ing to him; was she,
brown, Who thicks man's blood with
As is the ribbed sea-sand. cold.
I fear thee and thy glittering Death and The naked hulk alongside came,
eye, Life-in-Death have diced for And the twain were casting dice;
And thy skinny band, SO the ship's che The game is done! I've won !
brown.”— crew, and she (the latter)
I've won !' winneth the
“ Fear not, fear not, thou Wedancient Quoth she, and whistles thrice. ancient Ma
riner assurNo twilight
eth him of This body dropt not down. within the
his bodily The Sun's rim dips; the stars courts of the
life, and proSun.
ceedeth to rush out:
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
And never a saint took pity on sea,
My soul in agony.
He despiseth The many men, so beautiful ! At the rising We listened and looked side- | the creatures And they all dead did lie : of the Moon,
of the calm. ways up!
And a thousand thousand slimy Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
• Lived on; and so did I.
I looked upon the rotting sea, The steersman's face by his lamp that they And drew my eyes away ; 241
should live, gleamed white;
and so many I looked npon the rotting deck, From the sails the dew did drip
And there the dead men lay.
I looked to heaven, and tried to bright star
pray ; Within the nether tip.
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came, and One after One after one, by the star-dogged
My heart as dry as dust.
1 For the last two lines of this stanza, I am in
debted to Mr. Wordsworth. It was on a delightful ghastly pang
walk from Nether Stowey to Dulverton, with him and
his sister, in the antumn of 1797, that this poem was And cursed me with his eye. I
planned, and in part composed. [Note of S. T. C.]