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It cracked and growled, and roared and howled;
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an albatross,
Through 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 steered 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 perched for vespers nine;

Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.

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"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 ancient mariner inhospitably killeth the pious bird of good omen.


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 mariner's hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird
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 followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that 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.

His shipmates cry out against the ancient mariner, for killing the bird of good luck.

But when the fog cleared off, they justify the same, and thus make themselves accomplices in the crime.

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

The ship hath been suddenly becalmed;

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!

Yea, shiny things did crawl with legs
Upon the shiny 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 followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered 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.


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.

And the albatross begins to be avenged.

A spirit had followed them; one of the invisible inhabitants of this planet, neither departed souls or angels; concerning whom the learned Jew, Josephus, and the Platonic Constantinopolitan, Michael Psellus, may be consulted. They are very numerous, and there is no climate or element without one or


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 ancient mariner beholdeth a sign in the element afar off.

At first it seemed a little speck,

And then it seemed 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 neared and neared;

As if it dodged a water sprite,

It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor 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 throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:

Grammercy! 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 aflame.
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,
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)

As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
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 gossamers?

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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 night-mare 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.

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.

And its ribs are seen as bars on the face of the setting sun.

The spectre woman and her death-mate, and no other, on board the skeleton-ship.

Like vessel, like crew!

Death and Life-in-death have diced for the ships' crew, and she (the latter) winneth the ancient mariner.

No twilight within the courts of the Sun.

We listened and looked sideways up!

Fear at my heart, as at a cup,

At the rising of the Moon,

My life-blood seemed to sip!

The stars were dim, and thick the night,

The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed 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-dogged Moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,

Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

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

One after another,

His ship-mates drop down dead;

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