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The skiff-boat near'd: I heard them talk,
'Why, this is strange, I trow!

Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now?'

ApproachethStrange, by my faith!' the Hermit said-
the ship with
wonder. 'And they answer'd not our cheer!

The ship suddenly sinketh.

The ancient
Mariner is

The planks look warp'd! and see those
How thin they are and sere!

I never saw aught like to them,

Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag

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.'

6 Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look'

(The Pilot made reply)

'I am a-fear'd'-'Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirr'd;

The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:

It reach'd the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunn'd by that loud and dreadful sound,

saved in the Which sky and ocean smote,

Pilot's boat.

Like one that hath been seven days drown'd
My body lay afloat;

But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,

The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips-the Pilot shriek'd
And fell down in a fit;

The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And pray'd where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,

Laugh'd loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.

'Ha! ha!' quoth he, ‘full plain I see

The Devil knows how to row.'

And now, all in my own countree,

I stood on the firm land!

The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

'O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!'
The Hermit crossed his brow.

'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say—
What manner of man art thou?'

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd
With a woful agony,

Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns;

And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have strange power of speech;
The moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!

The wedding-guests are there :

But in the garden-bower the bride

And bride-maids singing are :
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!

The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrieve him; and the pe

nance of life

falls on him.

And ever and anon throughout his future life and agony constraineth him to travel from land to land;

And to teach,
by his own
love and

reverence to
all things
that God
made and

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:

So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
'Tis sweeter far to me,

To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company!—

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,

While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,

Is gone and now the Wedding-Guest
Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunn'd,
And is of sense forlorn :

A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.


[ROBERT SOUTHEY was born at Bristol on Aug. 12, 1774. He was educated at Westminster School and at Balliol College, Oxford; and after some years of wandering and unsettlement he went to live, in 1803, at Greta Hall, near Keswick, which remained his home till his death in 1843. In 1813 he was made poet laureate. Besides his countless prose works, his volumes of verse were very numerous; the chief of them are:-Poems by Robert Lovell and Robert Southey, of Balliol College, Oxford, 2 vols., 1795-9; Joan of Arc, 1796; Poems, 1797; Thalaba the Destroyer, 1801; Madoc, 1805; Metrical Tales and other Poems, 1805; The Curse of Kehama, 1810; Roderick, the last of the Goths, 1814; A Vision of Judgment, 1821.]

In the year 1837, two years before his brain softened and his mind went to ruin, Southey superintended a collective edition of his poems in ten volumes.

Of his five narrative poems, Joan of Arc, written at nineteen years of age (1793-94), was, in his own just estimation, the least worthy to succeed; and yet it gave him what he calls a 'Baxter's shove into his right place in the world.'

Thalaba came next; 'the wild and wondrous song;' delightful in its kind, as a Tale of the Arabian Nights is delightful; but wanting, as all stories in which supernatural agencies play a leading part must be, in one sort of charm,—that which results from a sense of art exercised in the fulfilment of a law. For when the law of Nature is set aside, the poet's fancy may 'wander at its own sweet will.'

To a poem thus lawless in its incidents and accidents, Southey thought that a rythmic structure of blank verse almost equally lawless was appropriate. He does not deny that regular blank verse is superior; he says of it in one of his prefaces,- Take it in all its gradations, from the elaborate rhythm of Milton, down to its loosest structure in the early dramatists, I believe there is no measure comparable to it, either in our own or in any other

language, for might, and majesty, and flexibility and compass.' But for Thalaba he prefers a blank verse of his own, in which the decasyllabic rule is renounced, and the lines, following a spontaneous melody, divide themselves into every variety of length, with the ordinary iambic cadence interrupted from time to time by some trochaic or dactylic movement, springing up as a pleasant surprise :

Years of his youth, how rapidly ye fled

In that beloved solitude!

Is the morn fair and doth the freshening breeze
Flow with cool current o'er his cheek?
Lo! underneath the broad-leaved sycamore
With lids half closed he lies,
Dreaming of days to come.

His dog beside him in mute blandishment
Now licks his listless hand;

Now lifts an anxious and expectant eye,

Courting the wonted caress.


Southey in his school-days at Westminster had conceived the design of founding a poem on each of the more important mythologies known to the world. Thalaba was founded on the Mahometan; and Kehama followed, founded on the Hindoo. For Kehama he had less expectation of success, inasmuch as it rambles farther still beyond the range of human sympathies. It had an advantage, however, of which he seems to have been unconscious, that of being in rhyme. This he valued by its cost to himself, which was apparently next to nothing; he says in a letter to me that 'rhyme suggests more thoughts than it baulks ;' but it is to rhyme probably that the greater success of Kehama was owing.

In the one poem, as well as in the other, though we are carried far and wide into other worlds than this, we meet from time to time with some penetrating insight into human life and nature as it exists here below ::

'Be of good heart, and may thy sleep be sweet,
Ladurlad said; ... Alas! that cannot be
To one whose days are days of misery.
How often did she stretch her hands to greet
Ereenia, rescued in the dreams of night!
How oft, amid the vision of delight,

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