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Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
There passed a weary time. Each throat
At first it seemed a little speck,
It moved and moved, and took at last
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
And cried, A sail! a sail!
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, Agape they heard me call:
Grammercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at one their breath drew in,
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 aflame.
When that strange shape drove suddenly
And straight the Sun was flecked with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud),
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Are those her ribs through which the Sun
And is that woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
The naked hulk alongside came,
The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out;
We listen and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steerman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned 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,
Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan),
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
The souls did from their bodies fly,-.
And every soul, it passed me by,
"I fear thee, ancient mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest!
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
The many men so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
I looked upon the rotting sea,
I looked upon the rotting deck,
I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
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 sky,
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 terrible 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 bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
And where the ship's huge shadow lay,
Beyond the shadow of the ship
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,
O happy living things! no tongue
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
The self-same moment I could pray;
The albatross fell off, and sank