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Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung.
There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,
When, looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.
At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared ;
As if it dodged a water sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood !
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
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,
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 steadies with upright keel!
The western wave was all aflame.
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,
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud),
How fast she nears and nears !
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Like restless gossamers!
Are those her ribs through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate ?
And is that woman all her crew ?
Is that a Death ? and are there two?
Is Death that woman's mate?
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The night-mare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thick's man blood with cold.
The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
The game is done! I've won, I've won!"
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out;
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.
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,
And cursed me with his
Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan),
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.
The souls did from their bodies fly,-.
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my cross-bow!
“I fear thee, ancient mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.
I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand so brown.”
Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest!
This body dropt not down.
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.
The many men so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.
I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But, or ever a prayer had gushed,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.
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,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.
Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes ;
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,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.
O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.
The self-same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
PART V. Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing, Beloved from pole to pole! To Mary Queen the praise be given ! She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven, That slid into my soul. 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, My garments all were dank; Sure I had drunken in my dreams, And still my body drank. I moved, and could not feel my limbs: I was so light-almost I thought that I had died in sleep, And was a blessed ghost. And soon I heard a roaring wind : It did not come anear ; But with its sound it shook the sails, That were so thin and sere. The upper air burst into life! And a hundred fire-flags sheen, To and fro they were hurried about! And to and fro, and in and out, The wan stars danced between.