|The Rime of the Ancient Mariner|
|by Samuel Taylor Coleridge|
"I fear thee, ancient mariner! I fear thy skinny hand! And thou art long, and lank, and brown, As is the ribbed sea-sand. I fear thee and thy glittering eye, And thy skinny hand, so brown."-- "Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest! This body dropped 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 looked upon the rotting sea, And drew my eyes away; I looked upon the rotting deck, And there the dead men lay. I looked to heaven, and tried to pray; But or ever a prayer had gushed, A wicked whisper came, and made My heart as dry as dust. I closed my lids, and kept them close, Till 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 looked on me Had never passed away. 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 bemocked 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 watched the water snakes: They moved in tracks of shining white, And when they reared, the elfish light Fell off in hoary flakes. Within the shadow of the ship I watched their rich attire: Blue, glossy green, and velvet black, They coiled and swam; and every track Was a flash of golden fire. O happy living things! No tongue Their beauty might declare: A spring of love gushed from my heart, And I blessed them unaware: Sure my kind saint took pity on me, And I blessed them unaware. The selfsame moment I could pray; And from my neck so free The albatross fell off, and sank Like lead into the sea.