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“ Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
The glorious sun uprist :
Then all averred I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
“'Twas right,' said they, “such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.'
“ The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free :
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
“ Down dropt the breeze; the sails dropt down; 'Twas sad as sad could be ; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea.
“ All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
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, everywhere!
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere !
Nor any drop to drink.
“ The very deep did rot: 0 Christ,
That ever this should be !
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.
“ About, about, in reel and rout,
The death-fires danced at night :
The waters, 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 followed us
From the land of mist and snow.
“ And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root :
We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
“Ah, well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung.
“ The naked hulk alongside came;
And the twain were casting dice :
• The game is done ; I've won, I've won
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
“ The sun's rim dips ; the stars rush out;
At one stride comes the dark :
With far-heard whisper o'er the sea,
Off shot the specter-bark.
“ We listened, and looked sideways up:
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip.
The stars were dim, and thick the night;
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip;
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The hornèd moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.
“ One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye:
“ Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan,)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.
“ The souls did from their bodies fly;
They fled to bliss or woe;
And every soul it passed me by
Like the whizz of my cross-bow.”
“I fear thee, ancient mariner ;
I fear thy skinny hand;
And thou art long and lank and brown
As is the ribbed sea-sand.
“ I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand so brown.”
“ Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest:
This body dropped not down.
“ Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea !
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.
“ The many men so beautiful !
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.
“ I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away ;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
“ I looked to heaven, and tried to pray ;
But, or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.
“ I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
Lay like a load on my weary eye;
And the dead were at my feet.
“ The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they :
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.
“ An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But, oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye.
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse;
I could not die.
“ The moving moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide ;
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside.
“ Her beams bemocked the sultry main
Like April hoar-frost spread ;
But, where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.
“ Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes :
They moved in tracks of shining white ;
And, when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.
“ Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire :
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.
“O) happy, living things ! no tongue
Their beauty might declare :
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
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."
“ Tuis hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
Ilow loudly his sweet voice he rears !
He loves to talk with inarineres
That come from a far countree.
« Ile kneels at morn and noon and eve; Ile lith a cushion plump : It is the moss that wholly hides The rotted old oak-stump. 6. The skiff-boat neared : I heard them talk: Why, this is strange, I trow! Where are those lights, so many and fair, That signal made but now ? ' “• Strange, by my faith!' the hermit said; * And they answered not our cheer. The planks looked warped; and see those sails, How thin they are, and sear! 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.' 666 Dear Lord, it hath a fiendish look,' (The pilot made reply :) I am a-feared.' Push on, push on!' Said the hermit cheerily.
“ The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred :
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 reached the ship, it split the bay, –
The ship went down like lead.
“ Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned,
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 shrieked,
And fell down in a fit;
The holy hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.
“ I took the oars : the pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
Ilis eyes went to and fro.
• Ila, 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.
“Oh, shrive me, shrive me, holy man!'
The hermit crossed his brow.
Say quick,' quoth he, ' I bid thee say,
What manner of man art thou?'.
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
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.