The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.


By S. T. Coleridge.

An ancient Mariner mecteththree Gal ants bidden to a wedding feast, and detaineth one.

The wedding-guest is spellbound by the eye of the old seafaring man, and constrained to hear his tale.

IT is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
" By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
" Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ?
“ The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide,
66 And I am next of kin;
« The guests are met, the feast is set :
“ May'st hear the merry din.”
He holds him with his skinny hand,
“ There was a ship,” quoth he.
“ Hold off ! unhand me, grey-beard loon !”
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye-
The wedding-guest stood still,
And listens like a three years child :
The Mariner hath his will.
The wedding-guest sat on a stone :
He can not chuse but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner.
The ship was cheer'd, the harbour clear'd,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the light-house top.
The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he ;
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.
Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon-
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.
The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Mariner tells how the ship sailed southward with a good wind and fair weather, tillit reached the line.

The wedding-guest heareth the bridal music; but the mariner continueth his tale.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he can not chuse but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong :
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.
With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow,
Still treads the shadow of his foe
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roar'd the blast,
And southward aye we fled.
And now there came both' mist and snow,
And it grew wonderous cold :
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.
And through the drifts the snowy clift
Did send a dismal sheen :
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-
The ice was all between.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around :
It cracked and growled, and roar'd and howl'd,
Like noises in a swound !
At length did cross an Albatross :
Thorough the fog it came ;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit ;
The helmsman steer'd us through !
And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the Mariner's hollo !
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perch'd for vespers nine ;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.
6 God save thee, ancient Mariner !
From the fiends, that plague thee thus !
Why look'st thou so ?"-With my cross bow
I shot the ALBATROSS !

The ship drawn by & storm

toward the south pole.

The land of ice, and of

fearful sounds, where no living thing was to be seen.

Till a great sea-bird called the Albatross came through the snow-fog, and was received with great joy and hospitality

And lo! the Albatross proveth a bird of good omen, and followeth the ship as it returned northward, thro' fog and floating ice.

The ancient Mariner inhospitably killeth the pious bird of good omen.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

PART THE SECOND. The Sun now rose upon the right : Out of the sea came he, Still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea. And the good south wind still blew behind, But no sweet bird did follow, Nor any day for food or play Came to the mariners' bollo ! And I had done an hellish thing, And it would work 'em woe : For all averred, I had killed the bird That made the breeze to blow ! Ah wretch ! said they, the bird to slay, That made the breeze to blow ! Nor dim nor red, like God's own head The glorious Sun uprist: Then all averred, I had killed the bird That brought the fog and mist. 'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, That bring the fog and mist. The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow stream'd off free: We were the first that ever burst Into the silent sea. Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down, 'Twas sad as sad could be ; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea ! All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody Sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, No bigger than the Moon. Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion, As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink ; Water water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea.

His ship-mates cry out against the ancient Mariner, for killing the bird of good luck.

But when the fog cleared off, they justify the sanie, and

thus make themselves accomplices in the crime.


The fair breeze continues; the ship enters the Pacific Ocear, and sails northward, even till it reaches the Line.

The ship hath been suddenly becalm. ed.

And the Albatross begins to be avenged.

A spirit had followed them; one of the invisi. ble inhabitants of this planet, neither departed souls nor angels; con. cerning whom the learn. ed Jew,Josephus, and the Platonic Constanti. nopolitan, Michael Psellus, may be consult. ed. They are very numerous, and there is no climate or element without one or more.

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 followed 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 choak'd 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.

The ship-mates, in
their sore distress,
would fain throw the
whole guilt on the
ancient Mariner : in
sign whereof they hang
the dead sea-bird
round his neck.

The Ríme of the Ancient Mariner.


The ancient Ma. niner beholdeth a sign in the element afar off.

THERE passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, 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.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist !
And still it near'd and near'd :
And as if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tack'd and veer'd.
With throat unslack'd, with black lips baked,
We could not laugh nor wail ;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood !
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail !
With throat unslacked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call :
Grainercy ! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

At its nearer approach, it seemeth him to be a ship; and at a dear ransom he freeth his speech from the bonds of thirst.

A flash of joy.

And horror follows For can it be a ship that comes onward without wind or tide ?

It but the skeleton of a ship

And its ribs are seen as bars on the


and her Death. mate, and no other on board the skele.

See ! See ! (I cried) she tacks no more !
Hither to work us weal ;
Without a breeze, without a tide;
She steddies with upright keel !
The western wave was all a-flame.
The day was well nigh 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 flecked with bars,

seemeth him
(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 ?

face of the setting And is that Woman all her crew ? Is that a DEATH ? and are there two ?

The spectre woman Is DEATH that Woman's mate? Her lips were red, her looks were free,

ton-ship. Her locks were yellow as gold : Her skin was as white as leprosy,

Like vessel, like The Night-Mair LIFE-IN-DEATH was she, Who thicks man's blood with cold. The naked hulk alongside came,

IN DEATH, have And the twain were casting dice :

diced for the ship's

crew and she (the “ The game is done! I've won ! l've won !" latter) winneth the Quoth she, and whistles thrice. A gust of wind sterte up behind And whistled through his bones ; Through the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth, Half whistles and half groans. 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 side ways 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 gleamed white, From the sails the dews did dripTill clombe above the eastern bar

At the rising of The horned Moon, with one bright star Within the nether tip.



ancient Mariner.

the moon,

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