Puslapio vaizdai

Facile credo, plures esse Naturas invisibiles quam visibiles in rerum universitate. Sed horum omnium familiam quis nobis enarrabit, et gradus et cognationes et discrimina et singulorum munera ? Quid agunt? quæ loca habitant? Harum rerum notitiam semper ambivit ingenium humanum, numquam attigit. Juvat, interea, non diffiteor, quandoque in animo, tamquam in tabula, majoris et melioris mundi imaginem contemplari: ne mens assuefacta hodiernæ vitæ minutiis se contrahat nimis, et tota subsidat in pusillas cogitationes. Sed veritati interea invigilandum est, modusque servandus, ut certa ab incertis, diem a nocte, distinguamus.

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I can readily believe that there are in the universe more Natures unseen than seen. But who shall explain to us their relation, their several ranks and degrees of consanguinity, their differences and their functions? What do they do? Where do they dwell? Man's skill has ever sought, but never attained, a knowledge of these things. I cannot deny, however, that it is profitable at times to allow the mind to dwell on the contemplation of a larger and better world, as if seen on a map; otherwise, accustomed as the mind is to the petty details of a daily routine, it may become depressed and sink utterly into trifling thoughts. Still a strict regard must be had for the truth, and moderation is to be observed that we may distinguish the definite and the doubtful between the day and the night.

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'By thy long gray beard and glittering eye,

Now wherefore stopp'st thou me? 5


5 "The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide, And I am next of kin; "


The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din."


He holds him with his skinny hand, 10"There was a ship," quoth he."

"Hold off! unhand me, graybeard loon!"
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

1 Rime.-Look up the derivation of the word.

2 What is gained by such an abrupt beginning of the story?

An ancient Mariner meeteth three gallants bidden to a wedding feast, and detaineth one.

Some one has said that the reader of the poem is the Wedding Guest. What does the statement mean, and is it true? Would anything be lost by referring through the poem to the Ancient Mariner as the old sailor?

There are several artistic reasons for Coleridge's introducing the Wedding Guest instead of telling the story directly to the reader. Can you name three such reasons? 5 Who utters lines 3 and 4?

How is the effect of abruptness produced in lines 6 and 7?

What is gained by having the Ancient Mariner tell the story as happening to himself rather than to some one else?

The weddingguest is spellbound by the eye of the old seafaring man, and constrained to hear his tale.

The Mariner tells how the ship sailed southward with a good wind and fair weather, till

it reached the Line.


He holds him with his glittering eye 1-
The wedding-guest stood still,

15 And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.


The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone;
He cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

20 The bright-eyed 2 Mariner.


"The ship was cheered, the harbor cleared, Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.3


25 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.1

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The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,

For he heard the loud bassoon.5

1 Such a line as this, repeating with a slight variation a preceding line, is called a repetend. What is gained by means of this device? Find other illustrations of its use in this poem. Compare 1. 13 with 1. 9. Which force indicates the greater power?

2 Which is the better epithet as applied to the Ancient Mariner's eyes, glittering or bright? Why?

3 Why at this point in his narrative should the Poet hurry so? What does the word "kirk "imply as to the place?

4 A poetical way of telling us what about the course of the vessel ?

5 Bassoon. "During Coleridge's residence in Stowey his friend Poole reformed the church choir and added a bassoon to its resources. Mrs. Stanford ("T. Poole and his

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The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man, 40 The bright-eyed Mariner.2


66 And now the Storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along."


45 With sloping masts and dipping prow, As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And forward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,

50 And southward aye we fled.*


The Wedding-
Guest heareth
the bridal
music; but
the Mariner
continueth his

The ship drawn by a storm toward the south pole.

Friends," 1, 247) happily suggests that this was the very original and prototype of the "loud bassoon" whose sound moved the wedding guest to beat his breast!'" Campbell's Note.


1 Why is the movement of 1. 35 especially good? Cf. "Christabel," 1. 65: The lonely maid and the lady tall are pacing both into the hall." Cf. also "The Ballad of the Dark Ladie":"But first the nodding minstrels go." What words in this stanza are especially suggestive and picturesque ?

2 of what stanza is this nearly a repetition? What is the Poet's purpose in such repetition?

3 What poetic device adds greatly to the vividness of this stanza? An earlier version (1798) reads:

"Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,

A Wind and Tempest strong!

For days and weeks it play'd us freaks-
Like Chaff we drove along."

4 How does the Poet secure a rapidity of movement reflecting the speed of the ship?

The land of ice, and of fearful

sounds, where no living thing was to be seen.

Till a great sea-bird, called the Albatross,

came through the snow-fog, and was received with great joy and hospitality.


And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.1



55 And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen: 3

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.


The ice was here, the ice was there,

60 The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound! 4


At length did cross an Albatross;
Thorough the fog it came;

65 As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.


It ate the food it ne'er had eat,5
And round and round it flew.

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;

70 The helmsman steered us through!

This stanza implies perhaps as much as it expresses. What are some of the emotions it suggests? "treads the shadow of his foe": what do you understand by this expression? 1 Read aloud this stanza, and determine what is its most significant word. Why? 26 Drifts" probably means banks or clouds of mist. Would some such verb as cast be as effective as send?

Sheen. What difference between the use of the word here and that in line 314? 4 What suggestion in this comparison, "like noises in a swound," makes it very effective?

5 How does the reception of the albatross by the mariners and its actions during the succeeding days increase the guilt of killing the bird?

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