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If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.

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.

been cast into a



their own forms


The harbour bay was clear as glass, The mariner hath But why drives on that ship so fast, So smoothly it was strewn! trance ; for the Without or wave or wind ?

And on the bay the moonlight lay angelic power

And the shadow of the moon. causeth the vessel to drive north. ward faster than the air is cut away before,

The rock shone bright, the kirk no human life could

And closes from behind.

That stands above the rock:
Fly, brother, fly! more high, more The moonlight steep'd in silentness,
high !

The steady weathercock.
Or we shall be belated :
For slow and slow that ship will go,

And the bay was white with silent
When the mariner's trance is abated.

Till rising from the same,

The angelic spi

rits leave the The supernatural I woke, and we were sailing on Full many shapes that shadows were, dead bodies motion is retard. As in a gentle weather:

In crimson colours came.
ed; the mariner
awakes, and his 'Twas night, calm night, the moon
penance begins
was high;

A little distance from the prow And appear in
The dead men stood together.
Those crimson shadows were:

of light.
I turn'd my eyes upon the deck-
All stood together on the deck 0, Christ! what saw I there!
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fix'd on me their stony eyes,

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
That in the moon did glitter. And, by the holy rood !

A man all light, a seraph-man,
The pang, the curse, with which they on every corse there stood.

Had never pass'd away:

This seraph band, each waved his
I could not draw my eyes from theirs, hand :
Nor turn them up to pray.

It was a heavenly sight!

They stood as signals to the land,
The curse is final. And now the spell was snapt : once Each one a lovely light;
ly expiated.
I view'd the ocean green,

This seraph band, each waved his
And look'd far forth, yet little saw

Of what had else been seen-

No voice did they impart

No voice; but O! the silence sank
Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,

Like music on my heart.
And having once turned round walks

But soon I heard the dash of oars,

I heard the pilot's cheer;
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend

My head was turn'd perforce away,

And I saw a boat appear.
Doth close behind him tread.


But soon there breathed a wind on me, The pilot and the pilot's boy,
Nor sound nor motion made :

I heard them coming fast:
Its path was not upon the sea,

Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy
In ripple or in shade.

The dead men could not blast.
It raised my hair, it fann'd my cheek I saw a third- I heard his voice:
Like a meadow gale of spring- It is the hermit good!
It mingled strangely with my fears He singeth loud his godly hymns
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

That he makes in the wood.

He'll shrive my soul, he'll wash away
Swiftly, swiftly new the ship,

The albatross's blood.
Yet she sail'd softly, too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-

On me alone it blew.

This hermit good lives in that wood And the ancient O! dream of joy ! is this, indeed, Which slopes down to the sea. mariner behold.

The light-house top I see? eth his native

How loudly his sweet voice he rears ! country.

Is this the hill? is this the kirk? He loves to talk with mariners
Is this my own countrée ?

That come from a far countrée.

The hermit of the wood,

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He kneels at morn, and noon, and “ Ha! ha!" quoth he, “ full plain I

He hath a cushion plump:

The devil knows how to row.”
It is the moss that wholly hides

And now, all in my own countrée,
The rotted old oak stump.

I stood on the firm land !
The skiff-boat near’d: I heard them The hermit stepp'd forth from the

“Why this is strange, I trow ! And scarcely he could stand.
Where are those lights, so many and

“() shrive me, shrive me, holy man!” The ancient mafair,

riderearnestlyesThe hermit cross'd his brow.

treateth the ber That signal made but now?" “Say quick," quoth he, “I bid thee mit to shrise bis;

and the penance

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

What manner of man art thou ?”
“ And they answer not our cheer! Forthwith this frame of mine was
The planks look'd warp'd! and see wrench'd
those sails,

With a woful agony,
How thin they are and sere!

Which forced me to begin my tale;
I never saw aught like to them, And then it left me free.
Unless perchance it were
Since then, at an uncertain hour, And

anon througbout
“Brown skeletons of leaves that lag

agony returns :

his future bile 23 My forest brook along; And till my ghastly tale is told,

eth him to trasel When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow, This heart within me burns.

from land to laad. And the owlet whoops to the wolf

I pass, like night, from land to land :

I have strange power of speech;
That eats the she-wolf's young.”

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:
“ Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look-

To him my tale I teach.
(The pilot made reply,)
I am a-fear’d.”—“Push on, push on!” | Whát loud uproar bursts from that
Said the hermit cheerily.

door !

The wedding-guests are there
The boat came closer to the ship,

But in the garden-bower the bride
But I nor spake nor stirrd ;

And bridemaids singing are:
The boat came close beneath the ship, And hark! the little vesper-bell,
And straight a sound was heard.

Which biddeth me to prayer.
The ship sudden. Under the water it rumbled on, () wedding-guest! this soul hath been
Iy sinketh.
Still louder and more dread:

Alone on a wide, wide sea :
It reach'd the ship, it split the bay ; So lonely 'twas, that God himself

The ship went down like lead. Scarce seemed there to be.
The ancient ma. Stunnid by that loud and dreadful O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
rider is saved in

'Tis sweeter far to me, the pilot's boat.

Which sky and ocean smote,

To walk together to the kirk,
Like one that hath been seven days

With a goodly company!-

To walk together to the kirk,
My body lay afloat;

And all together pray,
But swift as dreams, inyself I found

While each to his great Father bends,
Within the pilot's boat.

Old men and babes, and loving friends,

And youths and maidens gay!
Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round; Farewell, farewell! but this I tell And to teach, by

his own example,
And all was still, save that the hill To thee, thou wedding-guest!
Was telling of the sound.

He prayeth well, who loveth well

Both man, and bird, and beast.
I moved my lips—the pilot shriek’d,
And fell down in a fit;

He prayeth best, who loveth best
The holy hermit raised his eyes, All things, both great and small;
And pray'd where he did sit.

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
His eyes went to and fro,

Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.

love and reverence to all things that God ende and loveth.


He went like one that hath been

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

'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awaken'd the crowing cock:
Tu-whit -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 igh,
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 flowing, 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,

the edition of 1816.

That shadowy in the moonlight shone:

They cross'd the moat, and Christabel
The neck that made that white robe wan,

Took the key that fitted well;
Her stately neck, and arms were bare;

A little door she open's straight,
Her blue-vein's feet unsandali'd were,

All in the middle of the gate;
And wildly glitter'd here and there

The gate that was iron'd within and med
The gerns entangled in her hair.

Where an army in battle array bad med
I guess, 'twas frizbtful there to see

The lady sank, belike through pain,
A lady so richly clad as she-

And Christabel with might and main
Beautiful exceedingly!

Lifted her up, a weary weight,

Over the threshold of the gate : Mary mother, save me now!

Then the lady rose again, (Said Christabel,) And who art thou ?

And moved, as she were not in pain.
The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet:-

So free from danger, free from fear,
Have pity on my sore distress,

They cross'd the court: right glad the I scarce can speak for weariness :

And Christabel devoutly cried Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!

To the lady by her side, Said Christabel, How camest thou here?

Praise we the Virgin all divine And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,

Who bath rescued thee from thy distress! Did thus pursue her answer meet:

Alas, alas! said Geraldine,

I cannot speak for weariness.
My sire is of a noble line,

So free from danger, free from fear,
And my name is Geraldine;
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,

They crossid the court: right glad they el Me, even me, a maid forlorn:

Outside her kennel, the mastiff old
They choked my cries with force and fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.

Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.

The mastiff old did not awake,
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.

Yet she an angry moan did make!

And what can ail the mastiff bitch? They spurr'd amain, their steeds were white;

Never till now she utter'd yell
And once we cross'd the shade of night.

Beneath the eye of Christabel.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
I have no thought what men they be ;

Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch;

For what can ail the mastiff bitch?
Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five,

They pass’d the hall, that echoes still,
Took me from the palfrey's back,

Pass as lightly as you will !

The brands were flat, the brands were dyin, A weary woman, scarce alive.

Amid their own white ashes lying:
Some mutter'd words his comrades spoke:

But when the lady pass'd, there came
He placed me underneath this oak,
He swore they would return with haste:

A tongue of light, a fit of flame;

And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
Whither they went I cannot tell-
I thought I heard, some minutes past,

And nothing else saw she therehy,
Sounds as of a castle-bell.

Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall Stretch forth thy hand, (thus ended she,)

Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall And help a wretched maid to flee.

O softly tread! said Christabel,

My father seldom sleepeth well.
Then Christabel stretch'd forth her hand,
And comforted fair Geraldine:

Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare; ( well, bright dame! may you command

And, jealous of the listening air, The service of Sir Leoline ;

They steal their way from stair to stair: And gladly our stout chivalry

Now in glimmer, and now in gloomWill be send forth and friends withal,

And now they pass the baron's room, To guide and guard you safe and free

As still as death with stifled breath! Home to your noble father's hall.

And now have reach'd her chamber-door ;

And now doth Geraldine press down
She rose ; and forth with steps they pass'd

The rushes of the chamber floor.
That strove to be, and were not, fast.
Her gracious stars the lady blest,

The moon shines dim in the open air,
And thus spake on sweet Christabel :-

And not a moonbeam enters here. All our household are at rest,

But they without its light can see The hall as silent as the cell;

The chamber carved so curiously, Sir Leoline is weak in health,

Carved with figures strange and sweet, And may not well awaken'd be,

All made out of the carver's brain, But we will move as if in stealth ;

For a lady's chamber meet: And I beseech your courtesy,

The lamp with twofold silver chain This night, to share your couch with me.

Is fasten'd to an angel's feet.

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

The silver lamp burns dead and dim ;
But Christabel the lamp will trim.
She trimm'd the lamp, and made it bright,
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
Sank down upon the floor below,
O weary lady, Geraldine,
I pray you, drink this cordial wine!
It is a wine of virtuous powers;
My mother made it of wild flowers.

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.

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1 And will your mother pity me,

Who am a maiden most forlorn ?
Christabel answer'd-Wo is me!
She died the hour that I was born.
I have heard the gray-hair'd friar tell,
How on her death-bed she did say,
That she should hear the castle-bell
Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.
O mother dear! that thou wert here!

I would, said Geraldine, she were !
* But soon, with alter'd voice said she-

“ Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine !
I have power to bid thee flee.”
Alas! what ails poor Geraldine ?
Why stares she with unsettled eye?
Can she the bodiless dead espy?
And why with hollow voice cries she,

Off, woman, off! this hour is mine
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me.”

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

charity, To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.

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Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue-

Alas! said she, this ghastly ride25 Dear lady! it hath wilder'd you !

The lady wiped her moist cold brow, 3

And faintly said, “ 'Tis over now !"

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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.

But through her brain of weal and wo
So many thoughts moved to and fro,
That vain it were her lids to close ;
So halfway from the bed she rose,

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