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All stood together on the deck
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fix'd on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

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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.

A man all light, a seraph-man,

The pang, the curse, with which they On every corse there stood.

Had never pass'd away:

I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sail'd softly, too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-
On me alone it blew.

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.

And the ancient O! dream of joy! is this, indeed,

mariner beholdeth his native country.

The light-house top I see?

Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this my own countrée ?

The rock shone bright, the kirk no

That stands above the rock:

The moonlight steep'd in silentness,
The steady weathercock.

The curse is final. And now the spell was snapt: once Each one a lovely light;

ly expiated.


I view'd the ocean green,

And look'd far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen-

And the bay was white with silent

The angelic spi-
rits leave the

Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes that shadows were, dead bodies
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turn'd my eyes upon the deck-
O, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
And, by the holy rood!

This seraph band, each waved his

But soon there breathed a wind on me, The pilot and the pilot's boy,

Nor sound nor motion made:

It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,

This seraph band, each waved his

No voice did they impart

No voice; but O! 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.

I heard them coming fast:

Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

And appear in their own forms of light.

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 shrive 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 mariners
That come from a far countrée.

The hermit of the wood.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and


He hath a cushion plump:

It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak stump.

Approacheth the "Strange, by my faith!" the hermit
ship with wonder.

And now, all in my own countrée,
I stood on the firm land!

The skiff-boat near'd: I heard them The hermit stepp'd forth from the



And scarcely he could stand.

"Why this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights, so many and

That signal made but now ?"

"And they answer not our cheer!
The planks look'd warp'd! and see
those sails,

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

That eats the she-wolf's young."

"Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look-
(The pilot made reply,)


Ha ha!" quoth he, "full plain I


The devil knows how to row."

"O shrive me, shrive me, holy man !" The ancient ma-
riner earnestly en-
The hermit cross'd his brow.
treateth the ber
"Say quick," quoth he, "I bid thee mit to shrive him;

and the penance
of life falls on

What manner of man art thou ?"

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The ship sudden
ly sinketh.

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.

The ancient ma- Stunn'd by that loud and dreadful

riner is saved in the pilot's boat.


Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days

I am a-fear'd."-" Push on, push on!" What loud uproar bursts from that

Said the hermit cheerily.



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.

The wedding-guests are there
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bridemaids singing are:
And hark! the little vesper-bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer.

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.

I took the oars: the pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
The mariner, whose eye is bright,
Laugh'd loud and long, and all the Whose beard with age is hoar,


Is gone and now the wedding-guest
Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.

His eyes went to and fro,

And to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.

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He went like one that hath been

And is of sense forlorn,
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

'Trs the middle of night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awaken’d the crowing cock:
Tu-wbit -Tu-whoo!
And hark, again! the crowing cock,
How drowsily it crew.


Sir Leoline, the baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff, which
From her kennel beneath the rock
Maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over-loud;
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark ?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
'Tis a month before the month of May,
And the spring comes slowly up this way.

The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the wood so late,
A furlong from the castle gate ?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;
And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that's far away.

PREFACE.* The first part of the following poem was written in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninetyseven, at Stowey in the county of Somerset. The second part, after my return from Germany, in the year one thousand eight hundred, at Keswick, Cumberland. Since the latter date, my poetic powers have been, till very lately, in a state of suspended animation. But as, in my very first conception of the tale, I had the whole present to my mind, with the wholeness, no less than with the loveliness of a vision, I trust that I shall yet be able to embody in verse the three parts yet to come.

It is probable, that if the poem had been finished at either of the former periods, or if even the first and second part had been published in the year 1800, the impression of its originality would have been much greater than I dare at present expect. But for this, I have only my own indolence to blame. The dates are mentioned for the exclusive purpose of precluding charges of plagiarism or servile imitation from myself. For there is amongst us a set of critics, who seem to hold, that every possible thought and image is traditional; who have no notion that there are such things as fountains in the world, small as well as great; and who would, therefore, charitably derive every rill they behold Aowing, from a perforation made in some other man's tank. I am confident, however, that as far as the present poem is concerned, the celebrated poets whose writings I might be suspected of having imitated, either in particular passages, or in the tone and the spirit of the whole, would be among the first to vindicate me from the charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to address them in this doggerel version of two monkish Latin hexameters.

'Tis mine, and it is likewise yours;
But an’ if this will not do,
Let it be mine, good friend! for I

Am the poorer of the two. I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a new principle: namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents will be found to be only four. Nevertheless, this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some transition, in the nature of the imagery or passion.

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
And naught was green upon the oak,
But moss and rarest misletoe:
She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence prayeth she.
The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel !
It moan'd as near as near could be,
But what it is she cannot tell.-
On the other side it seems to be,
Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.
The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady's cheek-
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.

What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright, Drest in a silken robe of white,

. To the edition of 1816.

That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck, and arms were bare;
Her blue-vein'd feet unsandall'd were,
And wildly glitter'd here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.

guess, 'twas frightful there to see A lady so richly clad ås sheBeautiful exceedingly!

Mary mother, save me now!
(Said Christabel,) And who art thou?
The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet:-
Have pity on my sore distress,

I scarce can speak for weariness:

Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!
Said Christabel, How camest thou here?
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet:-

My sire is of a noble line,

And my name is Geraldine;

Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even me, a maid forlorn:

They choked my cries with force and fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.

They spurr'd amain, their steeds were white;
And once we cross'd the shade of night.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
I have no thought what men they be;
Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five,
Took me from the palfrey's back,
A weary woman, scarce alive.
Some mutter'd words his comrades spoke:
He placed me underneath this oak,
He swore they would return with haste:
Whither they went I cannot tell-

I thought I heard, some minutes past,
Sounds as of a castle-bell.
Stretch forth thy hand, (thus ended she,)
And help a wretched maid to flee.

Then Christabel stretch'd forth her hand, And comforted fair Geraldine:

O well, bright dame! may you command The service of Sir Leoline;

And gladly our stout chivalry
Will he send forth and friends withal,
To guide and guard you safe and free
Home to your noble father's hall.

She rose; and forth with steps they pass'd
That strove to be, and were not, fast.
Her gracious STARS the lady blest,
And thus spake on sweet Christabel :-
All our household are at rest,
The hall as silent as the cell;
Sir Leoline is weak in health,
And may not well awaken'd be,
But we will move as if in stealth;
And I beseech your courtesy,

This night, to share your couch with me.

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And on her elbow did recline
To look at the Lady Geraldine.

Beneath the lamp the Lady bow'd,
And slowly roll'd her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shudder'd, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold her bosom and half her side-
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel.

Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs ;
Ah! what a stricken look was hers!
Deep from within she seems halfway
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly as one defied
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the maiden's side!—
And in her arms the maid she took,
Ah well-a-day!

And with low voice and doleful look
These words did say:

In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell
Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!
Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow
This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow;
But vainly thou warrest,

For this is alone in

Thy power to declare,

That in the dim forest
Thou heardest a low moaning,

And foundest a bright lady, surpassingly fair:
And didst bring her home with thee in love and in


To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.


Ir was a lovely sight to see
The lady Christabel, when she
Was praying at the old oak tree.
Amid the jagged shadows
Of mossy leafless boughs,
Kneeling in the moonlight,
To make her gentle vows;
Her slender palms together prest,
Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resign'd to bliss or bale-
Her face O call it fair, not pale!
And both blue eyes more bright than clear,
Each about to have a tear.

With open eyes (ah wo is me!)
Asleep, and dreaming fearfully,
Fearfully dreaming, yet I wis,
Dreaming that alone, which is-

O sorrow and shame! Can this be she,
The lady, who knelt at the old oak tree?
And lo! the worker of these harms,
That holds the maiden in her arms,
Seems to slumber still and mild,
As a mother with her child.

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