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All in a hot and copper sky
The bloody sun at noon,
No bigger than the moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion, As idle as a painted Ship
Upon a painted Ocean.
Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink;
Nor any drop to drink.
The very deeps did rot: 0 Christ!
That ever this should be !
Upon the slimy Sea.
About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danc'd at night; The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so : Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.
And every tongue thro' utter drouth
Was wither'd at the root; We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young ; Instead of the Cross the Albatross About
neck was hung
So past a weary time; each throat
Was parch'd, and glaz'd each eye, 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: It mov'd and mov'd, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it ner'd and ner'd;
It plung'd and tack'd and veer'd.
With throat unslack’d, with black lips bak'd
We could nor laugh nor wail ;
And cry'd, A sail ! a sail !
With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
Agape they heard me call : Gramercy ! they for joy did grin And all at once their breath drew in
As they were drinking all.
See ! See! (I cry'd) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal Without a breeze, without a tide
She steddies with upright keel!
The western wave was all a flame,
The day was well nigh done! Almost
the western wave Rested the broad bright Sun; When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.
And strait the Sun was fleck'd with bars
(Heaven's mother send us grace) As if thro' a dungeon grate he peer'd
With broad and burning face.
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she neres and neres ! Are those her Sails that glance in the Sun
Like restless gossameres ?