Imágenes de página

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.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot's cheer;

My head was turn'd perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot, and the Pilot's boy,

I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third-I heard his voice:

It is the Hermit good!

He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.

He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The Albatross's blood.


This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineres

That come from a far countree.

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 Hermit of the wood.

The ship suddenly sinketh.

The skiff-boat near'd: I heard them talk,
'Why, this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now?'

ApproachethStrange, by my faith!' the Hermit saidthe ship with

wonder. 'And they answer'd not our cheer!

The planks look warp'd! and see those
How thin they are and sere!


I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

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.'

'Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look'—

(The Pilot made reply)

'I am a-fear'd'-'Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,

But I nor spake nor stirr'd;

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 reach'd the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunn'd by that loud and dreadful sound,

The ancient
Mariner is

saved in the Which sky and ocean smote,

Pilot's boat.

Like one that hath been seven days drown'd
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 shriek'd
And fell down in a fit;

The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And pray'd where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,

Laugh'd loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.

'Ha! ha!' quoth he, 'full plain I see

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.

The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrieve him; and the pe

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd nance of life

falls on him.

'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say— What manner of man art thou?'

With a woful 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;
The 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!

And ever
and anon
his future life

and agony constraineth him to travel from land to land;

And to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to

all things

that God made and loveth.

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:

So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
'Tis sweeter far to me,

To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company!-

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,

While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone and now the Wedding-Guest
Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunn'd,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.


[ROBERT SOUTHEY was born at Bristol on Aug. 12, 1774. He was educated at Westminster School and at Balliol College, Oxford; and after some years of wandering and unsettlement he went to live, in 1803, at Greta Hall, near Keswick, which remained his home till his death in 1843. In 1813 he was made poet laureate. Besides his countless prose works, his volumes of verse were very numerous; the chief of them are:-Poems by Robert Lovell and Robert Southey, of Balliol College, Oxford, 2 vols., 1795-9; Joan of Arc, 1796; Poems, 1797; Thalaba the Destroyer, 1801; Madoc, 1805; Metrical Tales and other Poems, 1805; The Curse of Kehama, 1810; Roderick, the last of the Goths, 1814; A Vision of Judgment, 1821.]

In the year 1837, two years before his brain softened and his mind went to ruin, Southey superintended a collective edition of his poems in ten volumes.

Of his five narrative poems, Joan of Arc, written at nineteen years of age (1793-94), was, in his own just estimation, the least worthy to succeed; and yet it gave him what he calls a 'Baxter's shove into his right place in the world.'

Thalaba came next; 'the wild and wondrous song;' delightful in its kind, as a Tale of the Arabian Nights is delightful; but wanting, as all stories in which supernatural agencies play a leading part must be, in one sort of charm,-that which results from a sense of art exercised in the fulfilment of a law. For when the law of Nature is set aside, the poet's fancy may ‘wander at its own sweet will.'

To a poem thus lawless in its incidents and accidents, Southey thought that a rythmic structure of blank verse almost equally lawless was appropriate. He does not deny that regular blank verse is superior; he says of it in one of his prefaces,- Take it in all its gradations, from the elaborate rhythm of Milton, down to its loosest structure in the early dramatists, I believe there is no measure comparable to it, either in our own or in any other

« AnteriorContinuar »