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The Rime of the Ancient Marinerby SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
|An ancient Mariner meeteth three Gallants bidden to a wedding feast, and detaineth one.||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 opened wide,
He holds him with his skinny hand,
|The Wedding-Guest is spellbound by the eye the old seafaring man and constrained to hear his tale.||He holds him with his glittering eye -
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
"The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
|The Mariner tells how the ship sailed southward with a good wind and fair weather, till it reached the Line.||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 arid higher every day,
|The Wedding-Guest heareth the bridal but the Mariner continueth his tale.||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,
|The ship drawn by a storm toward the South Pole.||'And now the Storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong;
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.
With sloping masts and dipping prow,
And now there came both mist and snow
|The land of ice and of fearful sounds, where no living thing was to be seen.||And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken -
The ice was all between.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
|Till a great sea-bird, called the Albatross, came through the snowfog, and was received with great joy and hospitality.||At length did cross an Albatross;
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
|And lo! the Albatross proveth a bird of good omen, and followeth the ship as it returned northward through fog and floating ice.||And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariners' hollo!
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
|'The ancient Mariner inhospitably killeth the pious bird of good omen.||'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! -
Why look'st thou so?' -'With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.'
|'The Sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Wen down into the sea.
And the good south wind still blew behind,
|His shipmates cry out against the ancient Mariner, for killing the bird good luck.||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!
|But when the fog cleared off, they justify the same, and thus make themselves accomplices in the crime.||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 continues; the ship enters be Pacific Ocean and sails northward, even till it reaches tile Line.||The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
|The ship hath been suddenly becalmed.||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,
Day after day, day after day,
|And the Albatross begins to be avenged.||Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
About, about, in reel and rout
|A spin had followed them; one of the in visible inhabitants of this planet, neither departed souls nor angels; concerning whom the learned Jew, Josephus, and the Platonic Constantinopolitan, Michael Psellus, may be consulted. They are very numerous, and there is no climate or element without one or more.||And some in dreams assured were
Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the bind of mist and snow.
And every tongue, through utter drought,
|The shipmates, in their sore distress, would fain throw the whole guilt on the ancient Mariner: in sign whereof they hang the dead sea-bird round his neck.||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 ancient Mariner beholdeth a sign in the element afar off.||'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,
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
|At its nearer approach, it seemeth him to be a ship; and at a clear ransom he freeth his speech from the bonds of thirst.||With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could 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 throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
|A flash of joy.||And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.
|And horror follows. For can a be a ship that comes onward without wind or tide?||See! See! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal:
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!
The western wave was all a-flame.
|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.
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
|And its ribs are seen as bars on the face of the setting Sun. The spectre-woman and her deathmate and no other other on board the skeleton ship. Like vessel, like crew!||Are those her 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,
|Death and Life-inDeath have diced for the ship's crew, and (the latter) winneth the ancient Mariner.||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.
|No twilight within the courts of the sun.
At the rising of the Moon,
|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 listened and looked sideways up!
|one after another,||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.
|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.
|but Life-in-Death begins her work on the ancient Mariner.||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!'
|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!
This body dropt not down.
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
|He despiseth the creatures of the calm.||The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.
|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;
I closed my lids, and kept them close,
|But the curse liveth for him in the eye of the dead men.||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
|In his loneliness and fixedness he yearneth towards the journeying Moon and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward; and everywhere the blue sky belongs, to them, and is their appointed rest, and their native country and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected and yet there is silent joy at their arrival.||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,
|By the light of Moon he beholdeth God's creatures of the great calm.||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
|Their beauty and their happiness.
He blesseth them in his heart.
|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 spell begins to break.||
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
|'Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.
|By grace of the holy Mother, the ancient Mariner is refreshed with rain.||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 lips were wet, my throat was cold,
I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
|He heareth the sounds and sights and commotions in the sky and the element.||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 the coming wind did roar more loud,
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
|The bodies of the ship's crew are inspired, and the ship moves on;||The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
The body of my brother's son
|but not by the souls of the men nor by daemons of earth or middle air, but by a blessed troop of angelic spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint.||'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!'
'Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:
For when it dawned -they dropt their arms,
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
And now 'twas like all instruments,
It ceased; yet still the sails made on
Till noon we quietly sailed on,
|The lonesome Spirit from the South Pole carries on the ship as far as the Line, in obedience|| 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.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.
The Sun, right up above the mast,
Then, like a pawing horse let go,
|The Polar Spirit's fellow-daemons, the invisible inhabitants of the element, take part in his wrong; and two of them relate, one to the other, that penance long and heavy for the ancient mariner hath been accorded to the Polar Spirit, who returneth southward.||How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
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?
"The spirit who bideth by himself
The other was a softer voice,
'"But tell me, tell me! speak again,
"Still as a slave before his lord,
"If he may know which way to go;
|The Mariner hath been cast into a trance; for the angelic power causeth the vessel to drive northward faster than human life could endure.||"But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?"
"The air is cut away before,
"Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
|The supernatural motion is retarded; the Mariner awakes and his penance begins anew.||I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the Moon was high;
The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck,
'The pang, the curse, with which they died,
|The curse is finally expiated.||And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen -
Like one, that on a lonesome road
But soon there breathed a wind on me,
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
|And the ancient Mariner be holdeth his native country.||Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?
We drifted o'er the harbour-bay,
The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
The angelic spirits leave the dead bodies and appear in their own forms of light.
| 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
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
But soon I heard the dash of oars,
The Pilot and the Pilot's boy,
I saw a third -I heard his voice:
|The Hermit of the Wood.||'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 marineres
That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve -
The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
|approacheth the ship with wonder.||"Strange, by my faith!" the Hermit said -
"And they answered not our cheer!
The planks look warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were
"Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
"Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look -"
The boat came closer to the ship,
The ship suddenly sinketh.
|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.
|The ancient Mariner is saved in the Pilot's boat.||Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote
Like one that bath 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,
I moved my lips -the Pilot shrieked
I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
And now, all in my own countree,
|The ancient mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrive him; and the penance of life falls on him.||"O 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
|And ever and anon throughout his future life an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land,||Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land;
What loud uproar bursts from that door!
O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
To walk together to the kirk,
|and to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.||Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
He went like one that hath been stunned,
A poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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