'But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?'
Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the Moon is cast—
If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.'
'But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?'
'The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.
Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated.'
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the Moon did glitter.
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen—
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.
The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the Moon.
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.
I heard the Pilot's cheer;
My head was turned perforce away
And I saw a boat appear.
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.
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.