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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,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
See! see! (I cried,) she tacks no more!
Without a breeze, without a tide,
The western wave was all aflame.
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), How fast she nears and nears!
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!
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright star
I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
The many men so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
I looked upon the rotting sea,
I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
A wicked whisper came, and made
I closed my lids, and kept them close,
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
An orphan's curse would drag to hell
But oh! more terrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
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
O happy living things! no tongue
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
The self-same moment I could pray;
The albatross fell off, and sank
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
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,
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And soon I heard a roaring wind:
But with its sound it shook the sails,
The upper air burst into life!