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• All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter :
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the Moon did glitter.
• The pang, the curse,
with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.
“ And now this spell was snapt : once more
1 viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen
“ Like one that on a lonesome road
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
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.
• It raised my hair, it fann'd my cheek,
Like a meadow-gale of spring –
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze –
On me alone it blew.
“Oh ! dream of joy ! is this indeed
The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?
We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray --
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.
“ The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn !
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the Moon.
“ The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.
“ And the bay was white with silent light.
Till, rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
- A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were :
I turned my eyes upon the deck -
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
• Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.
“ This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;
“ This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.
“ He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve --
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak stump.
“ The skiff-boat neared : I heard them talk,
• Why, this is strange, I trow !
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now ?'
" • Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said
• And they answered not our cheer.
The planks looked warped ! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere !
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were
66 • Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young.'
66 Dear Lord ! it hath a fiendish look -
(The Pilot made reply)
I am a-feared.' Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.
". The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.
• Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread :
It reached the ship, it split the bay:
The ship went down like lead.
“ Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But, swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.
Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.
“I moved my lips — the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.
"I took the oars : the Pilot's boy, Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
• Ha! ha!' quoth he, full plain I
The Devil knows how to row.'
" And now, all in my own countree,
I stood on the firm land !
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.
••• O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!' The Hermit crossed his brow.
Say quick,' quoth he, “I bid thee say What manner of man art thou?'
• Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale ;
And then it left me free.
“ Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns :
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
“I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.
“What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there :
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are :
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer.