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The harbor-bay was clear as glass,
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
475 And the shadow 1 of the moon.
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
The moonlight steeped in silentness 2
480 And the bay was white with silent light,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
A little distance from the prow 485 Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
1 Is shadow here used in its ordinary sense?
Suggestive of Remorse, iv, 3.
"The many clouds, the sea, the rocks, the sands
The angelic spirits leave the dead bodies,
Which is the more impressive, the departure of the ship amid cheers or its return in silence? Here were inserted in the edition of 1798 five stanzas:
The moonlight bay was white all o'er
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
A little distance from the prow
I turn'd my head in fear and dread,
The bodies had advanc'd and now
They lifted up their stiff white arms,
I pray'd and turn'd my head away
• Why had the Ancient Mariner failed to notice this spectacle before?
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
490 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,
495 Each one a lovely light; 1
This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart―
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
500 But soon I heard the dash of oars,
My head was turned perforce away,
The Pilot, and the Pilot's boy,
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
1 Compare this scene with that of stanza LXXIX.
2 After this stanza appeared in the 1798 version the following:
Then vanished all the lovely lights;
The bodies rose anew:
With silent pace, each to his place,
Came back the ghastly crew.
The wind that shade nor motion made,
On me alone it blew.
3 The meaning of blast?
I saw a third-I heard his voice:
It is the Hermit good!
510 He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrive my soul, he'll wash away
This Hermit good lives in that wood 2
515 Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve
520 He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.3
The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
525 Where are those lights so many and fair,
Strange, by my faith!" the Hermit said
"And they answered not our cheer!
The Hermit of the Wood.
Approacheth the ship with wonder.
Do the last two lines serve any purpose beyond portraying the feelings of the Ancient Mariner? Does the hermit "wash away the Albatross's blood"?
• How does this man differ from the ordinary conception of a hermit? Where have we found countree' similarly spelled and accented? Has the poet any justification, besides that of producing a rhyme, for thus changing the accent?
Would anything be lost to the poem by the omission of this stanza ?
The ship sud. denly sinketh.
The planks looked warped! and see those sails, 530 How thin they are and sere! 1
I never saw aught like to them,
Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
535 When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
"Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look
(The Pilot made reply)
540 I am a-feared "—" Push on, push on!"
The boat came closer to the ship,
The boat came close beneath the ship,
545 And straight a sound was heard.
Under the water it rumbled on,
It reached the ship, it split the bay;
550 Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
1 What adjectives have been used before in describing the appearance of the sails? a With what feelings does the hermit regard the ship?
What is the effect of the irregularity in the metrical structure of the first line of this stanza?
Where has the comparison in this line been used before? In which place is the comparison the more appropriate?
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
555 Within the Pilot's boat.
Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
560 I moved my lips-the Pilot shrieked
The Holy Hermit raised his eyes,
I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
565 Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
'Ha! ha!' quoth he, full plain I see,'
570 And now, all in my own countree,
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
'O shrive me, shrive me, holy man!' 2 575 The Hermit crossed his brow.
The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrive him;
and the penance of life falls on him.
1 What, besides the mysterious disappearance of the ship, induces the pilot's boy to mistake the Ancient Mariner for the Devil, and the hermit to ask, "What manner of man art thou?"
2 What added idea of the Ancient Mariner's penance do we get from the gloss?