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And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud
The Moon was at its edge.
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.
The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet how the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes :
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.
The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools-
We were a ghastly crew.
The body of my
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.
“I fear thee, ancient mariner !"
Be calm, thou wedding-guest!
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:
For when it dawned-they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky,
I heard the sky-lark sing:
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning !
And now 'twas like all instruments, Now like a lonely flute; And now it is an angel's song That makes the heavens mute. It ceased; yet still the sails made on A pleasant noise till noon, A noise like that of a hidden brook In the leafy month of June, That to the sleeping woods all night Singeth a quiet tune. Till noon we quietly sailed on, Yet never a breeze did breathe: Slowly and smoothly went the ship, Moved onward from beneath, Under the keel nine fathom deep, From the land of mist and snow, The spirit slid : and it was he That made the ship to go. The sails at noon left off their tune, And the ship stood still also. The Sun, right up above the mast, Had fixed her to the ocean: But in a minute she 'gan stir, With a short uneasy motionBackwards and forwards half her length With a short uneasy motion. Then like a pawing horse let go, She made a sudden bound: It flung the blood into my head, And I fell down in a swound. How long in that same fit I lay, I have not to declare ; But ere my living life returned, I heard, and in my soul discerned Two voices in the air. "Is it he?" quoth one, “Is this the man? By him who died on cross, With his cruel bow he laid full low The harmless albatross. “The spirit who bideth by himself In the land of mist and snow, He loved the bird that loved the man Who shot him with his bow." The other was a softer voice, As soft as honey-dew: Quoth he, “ The man hath
penance done, And penance more will do."
But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing-
What makes that ship drive on so fast!
What is the ocean doing?
Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the Moon is cast.
If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim
See, brother see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.
But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?
The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.
Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated :
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the mariner's trance is abated.
I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather :
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high ;
The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck,
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,
Had never passed away :
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.
And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far north, yet little saw
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;
Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. But soon there breathed a wind on me, Nor sound nor motion made : Its path was not upon the sea, In ripple or in shade. It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek Like a meadow-gale of spring It mingled strangely with my fears, Yet it felt like a welcoming. Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, Yet she sailed softly too: Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze On me alone it blew. Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed The light-house top I see? Is this the hill ? is this the kirk? Is this mire own countree? We drifted o'er the harbour-bar, And I with sobs did prayO let me be awake, my God! Or let me sleep alway. The harbour-bay was clear as glass, So smoothly it was strewn! And on the bay the moonlight lay, And the shadow of the moon. The rock shone bright, the kirk no less, That stands above the rock: The moonlight steeped in silentness The steady weathercock. And the bay was white with silent light, Till rising from the same, Full many shapes, that shadows were, In crimson colours came. A little distance from the prow Those crimson shadows were: I turned my eyes upon the deckOh Christ! what saw I there! Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat, And, by the holy rood! 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, Each one a lovely light;
This seraph-band, each waved his hand :
No voice did they impart-
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.
But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the pilot's cheer;
My head was turned perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.
The pilot and the pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.
I saw a third-I hear his voice:
It is the hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The albatross's blood.
This hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears !
He loves to talk with mariners
That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve-
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.
The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
Why, this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now P”
“Strange, by my faith!” the hermit said
And they answered not our cheer!
The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were
Brown skeletons of leaves that lay
My forest-brook along :
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young.”
Dear Lord ! it hath a fiendish look(The pilot made reply)