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S. T. COLERIDGE.
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER.
IN SEVEN PARTS.
With sloping masts and dipping prow,
It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. “ By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me? The bridegroom's doors are open'd wide, And I am next of kin; The guests are met, the feast is set: May'st hear the merry din.” He holds him with his skinny hand, “ There was a ship,” quoth he. “ Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!" Eftsoons his hand dropt he. He holds him with his glittering eyeThe wedding-guest stood still, And listens like a three year's child: The Mariner hath his will. The wedding-guest sat on a stone: He cannot chuse but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner. * The ship was cheer'd, the harbour clear'd, Merrily did we drop Below the kirk, below the hill, Below the light-house top. The sun came up upon the left, Out of the sea came he ; And he shone bright, and on the right Went down into the sea. Higher and higher every day, Till over the mast at noon”The wedding-guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon. The bride hath paced into the hall, Red as a rose is she; Nodding their heads before her goes The merry minstrelsy. The wedding-guest he beat his breast, Yet he can not chuse but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner. “ And now the storm-blast came, and he Was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o'ertaking wings, And chased us south along.
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
PART II. The sun now rose upon the right: Out of the sea came he, Still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea. And the good south wind still blew behind, But no sweet bird did follow, Nor any day for food or play Came to the Mariners' hollo!
bit my arm,
And I had done an hellish thing,
A weary time! a weary time! And it would work 'em woe:
How glazed each weary eye! For all averred, I had killed the bird
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.
At first it seem'd a little speck,
And then it seem'd a mist: Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist! 'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
And still it near'd and near'd: That bring the fog and mist.
And as if it dodged a water-sprite, The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
It plunged and tack'd and veer'd. The furrow stream'd off free:
With throat unslack'd, with black lips baked. We were the first that ever burst
We could nor laugh nor wail ; Into that silent sea.
Through utter drought all dumb we stoo!! Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
I sucked the blood, 'Twas sad as sad could be;
And cried, A sail! a sail! And we did speak only to break
With throat unslacked, with black lips baied, The silence of the sea !
Agape they heard me call: All in a hot and copper sky,
Gramercy! they for joy did grin, The bloody sun, at noon,
And all at once their breath drew in, Right up above the mast did stand,
As they were drinking all. No bigger than the moon.
See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more! Day after day, day after day,
Hither to work us weal; We stuck, nor breath nor motion,
Without a breeze, without a tide, As idle as a painted ship
She steddies with upright keel! Upon a painted ocean.
The western wave was all a-flame. Water, water, every where,
The day was well nigh done! And all the boards did shrink;
Almost upon the western wave Water, water, every where,
Rested the broad bright sun; Nor any drop to drink.
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.
And straight the sun was flecked with bars, Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
(Heaven's mother send us grace!) Upon the slimy sea.
As if through a dungeon-grate he peerd, About, about, in reel and rout
With broad and burning face. The death-fires danced at night;
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat lood) The water, like a witch's oils,
How fast she nears and nears! Burnt green, and blue and white.
Are those her sails that glance in the sun, And some in dreams assured were
Like restless gossameres ! Of the spirit that plagued us so:
Are those her ribs through which the sun Nine fathom deep he had followed us
Did peer, as through a grate? From the land of mist and snow.
And is that woman all her crew? And every tongue, through utter drought,
Is that a Death ? and are there two?
Is Death that woman's mate?
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold: Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Her skin was as white as leprosy, Had I from old and young!
The Night-mair Life-in-Death was she, Instead of the cross, the Albatross
Who thicks man's blood with cold.
The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
“The game is done! I've won, I've won!" Was parched, and glazed each eye.
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
A gust of wind sterte up behind
I closed my lids, and kept them close, And whistled through his bones ; [mouth, And the balls like pulses beat ; Through the holes of his eyes and the hole of his For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky Half whistles and half groans.
Lay, like a cloud, on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.
The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they: Off shot the spectre-bark.
The look with which they look'd on me
Had never pass'd away.
An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high: The stars were dim, and thick the night,
But oh! more horrible than that The steersman's face by his lamp gleam'd white;
Is the curse in a dead man's eye! From the sails the dews did drip
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse, Till clombe above the eastern bar
And yet I could not die. The horned moon, with one bright star
The moving moon went up the sky, Within the nether tip.
And no where did abide : One after one, by the star-dogg'd moon
Softly she was going up, Too quick for groan or sigh,
And a star or two beside Each turn’d his face with a ghastly pang,
Her beams bemock'd the sultry main, And curs'd me with his eye.
Like April hoar-frost spread; Four times fifty living men,
But where the ship's huge shadow lay, (And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
The charmed water burnt alway With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
A still and awful red. They dropped down one by one.
Beyond the shadow of the ship, The souls did from their bodies iy,
I watch'd the water-snakes: They fled to bliss or woe!
They moved in tracks of shining white, And every soul, it passed me by,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.
Within the shadow of the ship
I watch'd their rich attire: “ I fear thee, ancient Mariner! I fear thy skinny hand!
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black, And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
They coiled and swam; and every track As is the ribbed sea-sand.
Was a flash of golden fire. I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
O happy living things! no tongue And thy skinny hand, so brown.”
Their beauty might declare: Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest!
A spring of love gusht from my heart, This body dropt not down.
And I blessed them unaware!
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.
The self same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
O sleep! it is a gentle thing, I look'd upon the rotting sea,
Belov'd from pole to pole! And drew my eyes away;
To Mary Queen the praise be given ! I look'd upon the rotting deck,
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven, And there the dead men lay.
That slid into
I look'd to Heaven, and tried to pray;
The silly buckets on the deck,
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
Around, around, flew each sweet sound, My garments all were dank;
Then darted to the sun ; Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
Slowly the sounds came back again, And still my body drank.
Now mixed, now one by one. I moved, and could not feel my limbs :
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky I was so light-almost
I heard the sky-lark sing; I thought that I had died in sleep,
Sometimes all little birds that are, And was a blessed ghost.
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning! And soon I heard a roaring wind:
And now 'twas like all instruments, It did not come anear;
Now like a lonely flute; But with its sound it shook the sails,
And now it is an angel's song, That were so thin and sere.
That makes the Heavens be mute. The upper air burst into life!
It ceased; yet still the sails made on And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
A pleasant noise till noon, To and fro they were hurried about;
A noise like of a hidden brook And to and fro, and in and out,
In the leafy month of June, The wan stars danced between.
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.
Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.
Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go. A river steep and wide.
The sails at noon left off their tune, The loud wind never reached the ship,
And the ship stood still also. Yet now the ship moved on!
The sun, right up above the mast, Beneath the lightning and the moon
Had fixt her to the ocean; The dead men gave a groan.
But in a minute she 'gan stir, They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
With a short uneasy motionNor spake, nor moved their eyes;
Backwards and forwards half her length,
With a short uneasy motion.
Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound: The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
It fung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.
How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare; We were a ghastly crew.
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.
“ Is it he?" quoth one, “Is this the man? But he said nought to me.
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low, “ I fear thee, ancient Mariner !"
The harmless Albatross. Be calm thou wedding-guest!
The spirit who bideth by himself 'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
In the land of mist and snow, Which to their corses came again,
He loved the bird that loved the man But a troop of spirits blest:
Who shot him with his bow."
For when it dawned-they dropped their arms,
The other was a softer voice,
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Swiftly, swiftly, flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too: What makes that ship drive on so fast?
Sweetly, sweetly, blew the breeze, What is the ocean doing?
On me alone it blew.
Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house top I see? The ocean hath no blast;
Is this the hill? is this the kirk? His great bright eye most silently
Is this mine own countree? Up to the moon is cast
We drifted o’er the harbour-bar, If he may know which way to go ;
And I with sobs did prayFor she guides him smooth or grim.
O let me be awake, my God! See, brother, see! how graciously
Or let me sleep alway. She looketh down on him.
The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn! But why drives on that ship so fast,
And on the bay the moonlight lay, Without or wave or wind?
And the shadow of the moon.
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less, The air is cut away before,
That stands above the rock: And closes from behind.
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent light, For slow and slow that ship will go,
Till rising from the same, When the Mariner's trance is abated.”
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
A little distance from the prow 'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
Those crimson shadows were: The dead men stood together.
I turned my eyes upon the deck
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat, All fixed on me their stony eyes,
And, by the holy rood! That in the moon did glitter.
A mau all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.
This seraph-band, each waved his hand: I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
It was a heavenly sight! Nor turn them up to pray.
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light:
This seraph-band, each waved his hand, And looked far forth, yet little saw
No voice did they impart Of what had else been seen
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart. that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread,
But soon I heard the dash of oars, And having once turn'd round, walks on,
I heard the pilot's cheer; And turns no more his head;
My head was turn'd perforce away, Because he knows, a frightful fiend
And I saw a boat appear. Doth close behind him tread.
The pilot, and the pilot's boy, But soon there breathed a wind on me,
I heard them coming fast: Nor sound nor motion made :
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy Its path was not upon the sea,
The dead men could not blast. In ripple or in shade.
I saw a third-I heard his voice : It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
It is the hermit good! Like a meadow-gale of spring
He singeth loud his godly hymns