History of Literature



Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"


Illustrations by Gustave Dore


    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


    Illustrations by Gustave Doré



      Part VII

      The Hermit of the wood.
      "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 eve--
      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?'



      Plate 31: The Whirl

      Approacheth the ship
      with wonder.
      'Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said--
      'And they answered not our cheer!
      The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
      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.'


      Plate 32: The Pilot

      '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.


      Plate 33: Oh shrieve me, holy man

      The ship suddenly
      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 Mariner is
      saved in the Pilot's
      Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
      Which sky and ocean smote,
      Like one that hath been seven days drowned
      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.


      Plate 34: Strange power of speech


      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.'


      And now, all in my own countree,
      I stood on the firm land!
      The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
      And scarcely he could stand.



      Plate 35: I know the man that must hear me


      The ancient Mariner
      earnestly entreateth the
      Hermit to shrieve him;
      and the penance of life
      falls on him.
      'O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!'
      The Hermit crossed his brow.
      'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say--
      What manner of man art thou?'


      Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
      With a woful agony,
      Which forced me to begin my tale;
      And then it left me free.



      Plate 36: The Wedding Guests

      And ever and anon
      throughout his future
      life an agony
      constraineth him to
      travel from land to land.
      Since then, at an uncertain hour,
      That agony returns:
      And till my ghastly tale is told,
      This heart within me burns.


      I pass, like night, from land to land;
      I have strange power of speech;
      That moment that his face I see,
      I know the man that must hear me:
      To him my tale I teach.


      Plate 37: So Lonely


      What loud uproar bursts from that door!
      The wedding-guests are there:
      But in the garden-bower the bride
      And bride-maids singing are:
      And hark the little vesper bell,
      Which biddeth me to prayer!


      O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
      Alone on a wide wide sea:
      So lonely 'twas, that God himself
      Scarce seemed there to be.


      O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
      'Tis sweeter far to me,
      To walk together to the kirk
      With a goodly company!--


      To walk together to the kirk,
      And all together pray,
      While each to his great Father bends,
      Old men, and babes, and loving friends
      And youths and maidens gay!



      Plate 38: The mariner is gone


      And to teach by his own
      example, love and reverence
      to all things that God made
      and loveth.
      Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
      To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
      He prayeth well, who loveth well
      Both man and bird and beast.


      He prayeth best, who loveth best
      All things both great and small;
      For the dear God who loveth us,
      He made and loveth all.


      The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
      Whose beard with age is hoar,
      Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
      Turned from the bridegroom's door.


      He went like one that hath been stunned,
      And is of sense forlorn:
      A sadder and a wiser man,
      He rose the morrow morn.



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