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“ Ah! welladay! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

The shipmates,

in their sore dis140 tress, would

fain throw the whole guilt on the ancient Mariner: in sign whereof they hang the dead sea bird round his neck.



" 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 seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist :
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

The ancient Mariner beholdeth a sign in the element afar off.


“A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist !
And still it neared and neared :
As if it dodged a water sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.


“With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could nor laugh nor wail ;

At its nearer ap

proach, it seemThrough utter drought all dumb we stood ! eth him to be

a ship: and at a I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,

160 dear ransom he

freeth his speech And cried, 'A sail ! a sail !'

from the bonds

of thirst.
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call :
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,

A flash of joy.
And all at once their breath drew in, 165
As they were drinking all,


And horror fol- " See! see!' I cried, .she tacks no more
lows. For can it
be a ship that

Ilither, to work us weal –
comes onward
without wind or

Without a breeze, without a tide, tide ?

She steadies with upright keel!


“ The western wave was all aflame,
The day was well-nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange ship drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.


It seemeth him but the skeleton of a ship.

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


666 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?

And its ribs are

56. Are those her ribs through which the Sun 185 seen as bars on the face of the

Did peer, as through a grate ? setting Sun. And is that Woman all her crew ? The Specter Woman and her Is that a Death ? and are there two? Death-mate, and no other, on

Is Death that woman's mate?' board the skeleton ship. Like vessel, like “ Her lips were red, her looks were free, 190 crew !

Her locks were yellow as gold :
Her skin was white as leprosy,
The nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

- The naked hulk alongside came,

193 Death and Life

in-Death have And the twain were casting dice:

diced for the • The game is done! I've won, I've won !'

ship's crew,

and she (the latQuoth she, and whistles thrice.

ter) winneth the ancient

Mariner. “ The Sun's rim dips ; the stars rush out ; No twilight

within the At one stride comes the dark ;


courts of the With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,

Sun. Off shot the spectre-bark.

At the rising of the Moon,


“We listened, and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My lifeblood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night ;
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed

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.



one after


his shipmates drop down dead.

“ 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 crossbow !”

220 But Life-in

Death begins her work on the ancient Mariner.


The Wedding Guest feareth that a spirit is talking to him.


“I fear thee, ancient Mariner !
I fear thy skinny hand !
And thou art long and lank and brown,
As is the ribbed sea sand.


But the ancient Mariner assureth him of his bodily life, and proceedeth to relate his horrible penance.

“I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand so brown!
“ Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding Guest ! 230
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
Lived on; and so did I.

He despiseth
the creatures of
the calm,


and envieth
that they should
live, and so
many lie dead.

“ 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



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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,
And yet 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 bemock'd the sultry main,
Like April hoarfrost spread ;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

In his loneliness
and fixedness
he yearneth
towards the


Moon, and the
stars that still
sojourn, yet
still move on-
ward ; and
everywhere the
blue sky belongs
to them, and is
their appointed

rest, and their 265 native country

and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly ex

pected, and yet 270 there is a silent

joy at their

By the light of the Moon he beholdeth God's creatures of great calm.


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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.




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