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The anciert(shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man! earnestly The Hermit crossed his brow. entreateth the Hermit “Say quick, quoth he, “I bid thee him; and
sayof life falls What manner of man art thou ? '
Forthwith this frame of mine was
And ever and anon
Since then, at an uncertain hour, throughout That agony returns :
And till my ghastly tale is told,
his future life an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land.
like night, from land to land;
What loud uproar bursts from that
O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
To walk together to the kirk,
Farewell ! farewell ! but this I tell
And to teach by his own example love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.
He prayetlı best, who loveth best
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
He went like one that hath been stunned,
THE first part of the following poem was written in the year 1797, at Stowey, in the county of Somerset. The se cond part, after my return from Germany, in the year 1800, at Keswick, Cumberland. It is probable, that if the poem had been finished at either of the former periods, or if even the first and second part had been published in the year 1800, the impression of its originality would have been much greater than I dare at present expect. But for this, I have only my own indolence to blame. The dates are mentioned for the exclusive purpose of precluding charges of plagiarism or servile imitation from myself. For there is amongst us a set of critics, who seem to hold, that every possible thought and image is traditional; who have no notion that there are such things as fountains in the world, small as well as great; and who would therefore charitably derive every rill they behold flowing, from a perforation made in some other man's tank. I am confident, however, that as far as the present poem is concerned, the celebrated poets whose writings I might be suspected of having imitated, either in particular passages, or in the tone and the spirit of the whole, would be among the first to vindicate me from the charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to address them in this doggerel version of two monkish Latin hexameters.
'Tis mine and it is likewise yours;
I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a new principle; namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents will be found to be only four. Nevertheless this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some transition, in the nature of the imagery or passion.
'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich, Hath a toothless mastiff bitch; From her kennel beneath the rock She maketh answer to the clock, Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour; Ever and aye, by shine and shower, Sixteen short howls, not over loud ; Some
say, she sees my lady's shroud.
Is the night chilly and dark ?