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268

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled,and roar'd and howl d,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross:
Thorough the fog it came;
Ab if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had cat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman stecr'd us through!

And a good south-wind sprung up behind;

The Albatross did follow,

And every day, for food or play,

Came to the Mariner's hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,

It perch'd for vespers nine;

Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke

white, Glimmered the white Moon-shine.

God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus !—
Why lookst thou so?—With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross!

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!

And I had done an hellish thing,

And it would work 'em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird

That made the breeze to blow,

Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay

That made the breeze to blow!

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,

Tli.il bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow stream'd off 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!

AH in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right np 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, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with lega
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced 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 ns so:
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought.
Was wither'd at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choak'd 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.

111.

There passed a weary time. Each throat

Was parched, and glazed each eye.

A weary time! a weary time!

How glazed each weary 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 moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, » ihapc, I wist!
And still it near'd and near'd:
And as if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tack'd and veer'd.

With throat unslak'd, with black lips baked,

We conld nor laugh nor wail;

Through utter drought all dumb we stood!

I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,

And cried: A sail.' a sail!

With th mat unslak'd, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Graraercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) 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 upon the western wave

Rested the broad bright Sim;

When that strange shape drove suddenly

Betwixt us and the Sun.

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peer'd,
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Like restless gossameres!

Are those Aer ribs through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
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:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mair Lifk-in-dkitii was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
Aad the twain were casting dice;
The game is done! I've, 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 spectre-bark.

We Iistcn'd and look'd sideways up!

Fear at my heart, as at a cup,

My life-blood seem'd to sip!

The stars were dim, and thick the night,

The steersman's face by bis lamp gleam'd

white;
From the sails the dews did drip—
Till elombe above the eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip-
One after one, by the star-dogg'd Moon
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang,
And curs'd 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 whiz of my Cboss-bow!

IV.

I Fbar thee, ancient Mariner!

I fear tby 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 dropt 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

Liv'd on; and so did I.

I look'd upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I look'd upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I look'd to Heaven, and tried to pray;
But ere ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.

1 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 reck did they:
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;

But oh! more horrible than that

Is the curse in a dead man's eye!

Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,

And yet I could not die.

The moving Moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star jor two beside—

Her beams bemock'd 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 watch'd the water-snakes:

They moved in tracks of shining white,

And when they reared, the elfish light

Fell ofT in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship

I watch'd 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 gusht 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.

V.

Oh Slrep! it is a gentle thing,
Belov'd from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven.
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,

That had so long remained,

I dreamt that they were filled with dew;

And when I awoke, it rained.

My lipa were wet, my throat was cold.
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams.
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep.
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about;
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud.

And the sails did sigh like sedge;

And the rain pour'd down from one black

cloud; The Moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag.
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship.
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the 3Ioon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all np
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;'
It had been strange, even in a dream
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on:

Yet never a breeze np blew;

The mariners all 'gan work the rope*.

Where they were wont to do:

They raised their limbs like lifeless

We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother's son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope.
But he said nought to me.

I fear thee, ancient Mariner!—
Be calm, thou wedding-guest!
Tvaa not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits hlest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their

arms, And clustered round the mast; Sweet sounds rose slowly through their

mouths, And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came hack again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a -dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that arc,
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel's song,
That makes the Heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on

A pleasant noise till noon,

A noise like of a hidden brook x

In the leafy month of June,

That to the sleeping woods all night

Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship.
Moved onward from beneath.

ruder 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.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The Snn, right np above the mast,
Had fat her to the ocean;
Bat in a minute she 'gan stir,

With a short uneasy motion

Backwards and forwards half her length,
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flnng 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;
Bat ere my living lire returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voice* in the air.

Is it he? qnoth one, Is this the man?
By Him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low.
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.

The other was a softer voice,

As soft as honey-dew;

Quoth he: The man hath penance done,

And penance more will do.

VI.

FIRST VOICB.

But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the Ocean doing?

SECOND VOICE.

Still as a slave before his lord,
The Ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the Moon is cast—

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.

FIB8T VOICE.

But why drives on that ship so fast.
Without or wave or wind?

SECOND VOICE.

The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more hiffh!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated.

I woke, and we were sailing on

As in a gentle weather:

"Twos night, calm night, the Moon was high;

The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes.
That in the Moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what hod else been seen—

Like one, that on a lonesome road

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And, having once turn'd round, walks on,

And turns no more his head;

Because he knows, a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned ray cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely witli my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, sM-iftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house-top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?

We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—

0 let me be awake, my God!
Or let me Bleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear ns glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same.
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:

1 turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay fiat, lifeless and flat.
And, by the holy rood!
A man'all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light:

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! 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.

The Pilot, and the Pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third—I heard his voice:

It is the Hermit good!

He singcth loud his godly hymns

That he makes in the wood.

He'll sbrieve my soul, he'll wash away

The Albatross's blood.

VII.

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 marincres
That come from a far countree.

He kneels at morn, and noon and
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.

The skiff-boat nenr'd: I heard them talk:
Why this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair.
That signal made but now?

Strnnge, by my faith! the Hermit said—

And they answered not our cheer!

The planks look warped! and see those Mils.

How thin they are and sere!

I never snw ought like to them.

Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag

My forest-brook along;

When the ivy-tod is heavy with mow.

And the owlet whoops to the wolf below.

That eats the she-wolf's young.

Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look—
(The Pilot made reply)
I am a-feared—Push on, push on!
Said the Hermit cheerily.

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