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About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danced at night; The water, like a witch's oils, Burnt green and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
And every tongue through utter drouth Was withered at the root;
We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah well-a-day! what evil looks
Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
"So pass'd 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!
It plunged and tacked and veered.
With throat unslaked, with black lips baked We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drouth all dumb we stood
Till I bit my arm and sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!
With throat unslaked, with black lips baked Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in
As they were drinking all.
See! See! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal
Without a breeze, without a tide
She steddies with upright keel!
The western wave was all a flame.
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.
And straight the Sun was flecked with bars
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud) How fast she neres and neres !
Are those her Sails that glance in the Sun
Like restless gossameres ?
Are those her Ribs, through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And are those two all, all her crew,
That Woman, and her Mate?
His bones were black with many a crack,
Jet-black and bare, save where with rust
They were patched with purple and green.
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
And she was far liker Death than he;
Her flesh made the still air cold.