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His ship-mates drop down dead;
One after one, by the star-dogg'a Moon
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang,
And curs'd me with his eye.
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 whiz of my CROSS-BOW !
But LIFE-IN. DEATH begins her work on the an. cient Mariner.
The wedding-guest feareth that a spirit is talking to him;
But the ancient Mariner assureth him of his bodily life, and proceed. eth to relate his horrible penance.
He despiseth the creatures of the calm,
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
PART THE FOURTH.
" 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
Liv'd on, and so did I.
I look'd upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away ;
I look'd upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
I look'd to Heaven, and tried to pray ;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
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 cloud, on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.
And envieth that they should live, and so many lie dead.
But the curse liveth for him in the eye of the dead men.
'The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they :
The look with which they look'd on me
Had never pass'd away.
An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
A spirit from on high ;
But oh ! more horrible 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 no where did abide :
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside
Her beams bemock'd the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.
Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watch'd 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 watch'd 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 gusht 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.
In his loneliness and fixedness, he yearneth towards the journeying Moon, and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward; and every where the blue sky belongs to them, and is their appointed rest, and their native country, and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected, and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival.
By the light of the
Moon he beholdeth
God's creatures of the
Their beauty and their happiness.
He blesseth them in his heart.
The spell begins to break.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
PART THE FIFTH.
OH SLEEP ! it is a gentle thing,
Belov'd from pole to pole !
To Mary Queen the praise be given !
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven
That slid into my soul.
By grace of the holy Mother, the ancient Mariner is refreshed with rain.
He heareth sounds and seeth strange sights and comme. tions in the sky and the element.
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.
And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge ;
And the rain pour'd 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 now the ship moved on !
Beneath the lightening and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groan'd, they stirr'd, 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 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 brother's son
Stood by me, knee to knee :
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.
The bodies of the ship's crew are inspirited, and the ship moves on;
But not by the Bouls of men, nor by dæmons of earth or middle air, but by a blessed troop ofangelic spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint.
• 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 seem'd 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 be mute.
It ceased ; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like 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 fixt her to the ocean ;
But in a minute she 'gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion-
Backwards and forwards half her length,
With a short uneasy motion.
Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound :
It fung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.
The lonesome spirit from the south-pole carries on the ship as far as the line, in obedience to the angelic troop, but still requireth vengeance.
The Polar Spirit's fellow-dæmons, the invisible in. habitants of the element, take part in his wrong; and two of them relate, one to the other, that penance long and heavy for the ancient Mariner hath been accorded to the Polar Spirit, who returneth southward.
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."
The Ríme of the Ancient Mariner.
PART THE SIXTH.
“ 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 Mariner bath been cast into a trance : for the angelic power causeth the vessel to drive northward, faster than human life could endure.
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.”