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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 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 frem some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

2 The loud wind never reached the ship,

Yet now the ship moved on !
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all up


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


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 brother's son
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!

He heareth sounds and seeth strange sights and commotions in the sky and the element.

The bodies of the ship's crew are inspired, and the ship moves on;

3 But not by the souls of the men, nor by demons of earth or middle air, but by a blessed froop of angelie spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint.

"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


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 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.

1 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 motion—

Backwards and forwards half her lengt!
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.

1 The lonesome Spirit from the south-pole carries on the ship as far as the Line, in obedi ence to the angelic troop, but still requireth


1 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 drie 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 gọ;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.'


2. But why drives on that ship so fast, Without or wave or wind?'


The air is cut away before, And closes from behind.

The Polar Spirit's fellow-demons, the invisible inhabitants 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.

The Mariner hath been cast into a trance; for the angelic power causeth the vessel to drive northward faster than human life could endure.

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.'

1 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.

2 And now this spell was snapt: once


I viewed the ocean green.

And looked far forth, 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


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.

3 Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house top I see?

Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?

1The supernatural motion is retarded; the Mariner awakes, and his penance begins anew. The curse is finally expiated.

3 And the ancient Mariner beholdeth his native country.

We drifted o'er the harbor-bar, And I with sobs did pray

O let me be awake, my God! Or let me sleep alway.'

The harbor-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,

1 Full many shapes, that shadows were, In crimson colors came.

2 A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
• I turned my eyes upon the deck-
Oh, 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 heard 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.

1 The angelic spirits leave the dead bodies, And appear in their own forms of light.


1" 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 marineres
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?'

2'Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said

And they answered not our cheer! The planks look warped and see those sails,

How thin they are and sere!

I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

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Like one that hath been seven days


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 shrieked
And fell down in a fit;

The Holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: The Pilot's boy
Who now doth crazy go
Laughed 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.

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

'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee sayWhat manner of man art thou?'.

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched

With a woful agony,

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

2 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 ;
That 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!

1 The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrieve him; and the penance of life falls on him,

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

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,
lle made and loveth all."

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,

And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

1797-1798. 1798.


The first part of the following poem was writ ten in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, at Stowey, in the county of Somerset. The second part, after my return from Germany, in the year one thousand eight hundred, at Keswick, Cumberland. Since the latter date, my poetic powers have been, till very lately, in a state of suspended animation. But as, in my very first conception of the tale, I had the whole present to my mind, with the wholeness, no less than with the liveliness of a vision; I trust that I shall be able to embody in verse the three parts yet to come, in the course of the present year...

I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a new principle: namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents will be found

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to be only four. Nevertheless this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some tran. sition in the nature of the imagery or passion. (From Coleridge's Preface to the first edition.)


"TIS the middle of night by the castle clock,

And the owls have awakened the crowing cock,

And hark, again! the crowing cock,
How drowsily it crew.

Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff, which

From her kennel beneath the rock
Maketh answer to the clock,

Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;

Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray;
"Tis a month before the month of May.
And the Spring comes slowly up this


The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the woods so late,
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;

And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that's far away.

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
And naught was green upon the oak
But moss and rarest misletoe:

She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence prayeth she.

The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel!
It moaned as near, as near can be,
But what it is she cannot tell.--
On the other side it seems to be,

Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak


The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the inglet curl
From the lovely lady's cheek-
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at
the sky.

Hush, beating heart of Christabel !
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!

She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.
What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright,
Drest in a silken robe of white,
That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
The neck that made the white robe


Her stately neck, and arms were bare;
Her blue-veined feet unsandal'd were,
And wildly glittered here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.
I guess, 'twas frightful there to see
A lady so richly clad as she-
Beautiful exceedingly!

Mary mother, save me now!
(Said Christabel,) And who art thou?
The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet :-
Have pity on my sore distress,

I scarce can speak for weariness: Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!

Said Christabel, How camest thou here? And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,

Did thus pursue her answer meet:

My sire is of a noble line,
And my name is Geraldine :
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even me, a maid forlorn:
They choked my cries with force and

And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.
They spurred amain, their steeds were

And once we crossed the shade of night.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,

I have no thought what men they be; Nor do I know how long it is

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