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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
That stands above the rock :
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent
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
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.
This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears !
He loves to talk with marineres
That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and
He hath a cushion plump :
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.
The skiff-boat neared: I heard them
talk, Why, this is strange, I trow ! Where are those lights so many and
fair, That signal made but now?'
Strange, by my faith !' the Hermit Approach
eth the ship said* And they answered not our cheer!
The planks looked warped! and see
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were
Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young.'
Dear Lord ! it hath a fiendish look-
(The Pilot made reply)
I am a-feared'— Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.
The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred ;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.
The ship suddenly sinketh.
Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread :
It reached the ship, it split the bay ;
The ship went down like lead.
The ancient Stunned by that loud and dreadful
saved in the sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat,
Upon the whirl, where sank the ship, The boat spun round and round ; And all was still, save that the hill Was telling of the sound.
I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.
I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the
while His eyes went to and fro. · Ha! ha!' quoth he, “full plain I
see, The Devil knows how to row.'
my own countree, I stood on the firm land ! The Hermit stepped forth from the
boat, And scarcely he could stand.