The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Part V. (Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,...)
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
|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.
|By grace of the holy Mother, the ancient Mariner is refreshed with rain.|
|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.
|He heareth sounds and seeth strange sights and commotions in the sky and the element.|
|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 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 lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
|The bodies of the ship's crew are inspired, and the ship moves on;|
|They groaned, they stirred, 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 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!
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:
|But not by the souls of the men, nor by dæmons of earth or middle air, but by a blessed troop of angelic spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint.|
|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 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.
|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 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 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 length
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.
|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.
|The Polar Spirit's fellow-dæmons, 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.|
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:
The man hath penance done,
Source:The Golden Book Of Coleridge
London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.