The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Part VI. (But tell me, tell me! speak again...)
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
But tell me, tell me! speak again,
SECOND VOICE"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,
|The Mariner hath been cast into a trance; for the angelic power causeth the vessel to drive northward faster than human life could endure.|
SECOND VOICE"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."
|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.
|The supernatural motion is retarded; the Mariner awakes, and his penance begins anew.|
|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.
|And now this spell was snapt: once more|
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen --
|The curse is finally expiated.|
|Like one, that on a lonesome road|
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
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.
|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?
|And the ancient Mariner beholdeth his native country.|
|We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,|
And I with sobs did pray --
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.
|The harbour-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,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
|The Angelic spirits leave the dead bodies,|
|A little distance from the prow|
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck --
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
|And appear in their own forms of light.|
|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.
Source:The Golden Book Of Coleridge
London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.