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The Sun, right up above the mast,
385 But in a minute she 'gan stir,2
With a short uneasy motion-
Then like a pawing horse let go,
390 She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.
the beauty of the stanza? Why do you imagine the poet chose to drop these four stanzas which followed stanza LXXXIV in the version of 1798?
1 Compare the gloss with that of stanza XXV. Are they contradictory? Have we
any hint given as to the subsequent course of the vessel ?
2 What purpose is served by the shifting of accents in this line and 387 ?
'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
400 With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.
The Polar Spirit's fellow-demons, 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.
The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man 405 Who shot him with his bow.' 3
The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.' 4
1 Would conscious life express all Coleridge would imply in living life?
2 What does the Poet mean by speaking in the gloss of these spirits as demons? Reread the motto at the beginning of the poem. Compare the nature of these spirits with that of the witches of "Macbeth." What motive is represented by each of these voices ? Why are these special two chosen? Is there any significance in the kind of bow used by the Mariner ?
Where does the Ancient Mariner himself lay emphasis on the value of love?
4 Why not shall do instead of will do? Trace through the remainder of the poem the fulfilment of the spirit's prophecy of the further penance of the Ancient Mariner. Is the penance shown in the rest of the poem as severe as that of the past?
hath been cast into a trance; for the angelic power causeth the vessel to drive northward faster
than human life could endure.
410 But tell me, tell me! speak again,
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
'Still as a slave before his lord,
His great bright eye most silently
If he may know which way to go;
'But why drives on that ship so fast,
'The air is cut away before,
425 And closes from behind.
Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
1 Why does the Poet resort to the device of introducing these two voices? Why not begin this part with 1. 430 ?
2 State in your own language the central thought of this stanza. Do you find any other instances of the Poet's stating common facts in very beautiful language?
For slow and slow that ship will go,
430 I woke, and we were sailing on As in a gentle weather:
The supernatural motion is retarded; the Mariner
"T was night, calm night, the Moon was high; awakes, and
The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck, 435 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,
440 I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
445 Of what had else been seen
Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on
And turns no more his head;
450 Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.2
1 Why cannot the Mariner pray ?
his penance begins anew.
The curse is finally expiated.
2 What causes the Mariner's fear? Cf. with stanza XII. In what sense are they
corresponding stanzas ?
And the ancient Mariner beholdeth his native country
But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea, 455 In ripple or in shade.1
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
460 Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-
Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
We drifted o'er the harbor-bar,
470 O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.3
1 Where do we receive the first intimation that the voyage is about to end? Would this portion of the poem have been more effective if we had been told more in detail of the return of the ship? Where have we noted a similar rapidity in the movement of the story?
2 In what preceding passage has strong emotion been indicated by the use of the interrogation? Compare with stanza VI. Cf. also with Longfellow's "Lighthouse":
"The mariner remembers when a child
On his first voyage he saw it fade and sink;
3 Why is it natural the Mariner should fear this sight is but a dream?