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'The very deep did rot: O Christ!

That ever this should be!

Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

'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
Of the Spirit that plagued us so ;
Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.

'And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was wither'd at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

'Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

PART III

'There pass'd a weary time. Each throat
Was parch'd, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time !

How glazed each weary eye!
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

'At first it seem'd a little speck, And then it seem'd a mist;

It moved and moved, and took at last

A certain shape, I wist.

wist] perceived,

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it near'd and near'd:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tack'd and veer'd.

'With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could not laugh nor wail;

Through utter drought all dumb we stood !
I bit my arm, I suck'd the blood,

And cried, A sail! a sail!

'With throats 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 steadies with upright keel!

'The western wave was all a-flame,
The day was wellnigh 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 fleck'd with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace !)

As if through a dungeon-grate he peer'd
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 gossameres ?

'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 Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man's 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.

66

'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'd and look'd sideways up! Fear at my heart, as at a cup,

My life-blood seem'd to sip!

The stars were dim, and thick the night,

The steersman's face by his lamp gleam'd 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-dogg'd Moon,

Too quick for groan or sigh,

Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

dogg'd] followed closely by.

'Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropt down one by one.

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The souls did from their bodies fly,-
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it pass'd me by

Like the whizz of my cross-bow.'

PART IV

'I fear thee, ancient Mariner !
I fear thy skinny hand!

And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribb'd 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 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 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 look'd on me
Had never pass'd away.

6

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 nowhere 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 rear'd, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

D

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