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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Albatross
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
 

WITH sloping masts and dripping prow,
  As who, pursued with yell and blow,
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
  And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,        5
  And southward aye we fled.
 
And now there came both mist and snow,
  And it grew wondrous cold;
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
  As green as emerald.        10
 
And through the drifts the snowy clifts
  Did send a dismal sheen;
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
  The ice was all between.
 
The ice was here, the ice was there,        15
  The ice was all around;
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
  Like noises in a swound!
 
At length did cross an Albatross:
  Thorough the fog it came;        20
As if it had been a Christian soul,
  We hailed it in God’s name.
 
It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
  And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;        25
  The helmsman steered us through!
 
And a good south-wind sprung up behind;
  The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
  Came to the mariner’s hollo!        30
 
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
  It perched for vespers nine;
Whilst all the night, through fog-smoke white,
  Glimmered the white moonshine.—
 
God save thee, ancient Mariner!        35
  From the fiends that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so?—With my cross-bow
  I shot the Albatross!
 
THE SUN now rose upon the right;
  Out of the sea came he,        40
Still hid in mist, and on the left
  Went down into the sea.
 
And the good south-wind still blew behind,
  But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play        45
  Came to the mariner’s hollo!
 
And I had done a hellish thing,
  And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
  That made the breeze to blow.        50
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
  That made the breeze to blow!
 
Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head
  The glorious Sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird        55
  That brought the fog and mist.
’Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
  That bring the fog and mist.
 
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
  The furrow followed free;        60
We were the first that ever burst
  Into that silent sea.
 
Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
  ’Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break        65
  The silence of the sea!
 
All in a hot and copper sky,
  The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
  No bigger than the Moon.        70
 
Day after day, day after day,
  We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
  Upon a painted ocean.
 
Water, water, everywhere,        75
  And all the boards did shrink:
Water, water, everywhere,
  Nor any drop to drink.
 
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
  That ever this should be!        80
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
  Upon the slimy sea.
 
About, about, in reel and rout
  The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,        85
  Burnt green, and blue, and white.
 
And some in dreams assurèd were
  Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathoms deep he had followed us
  From the land of mist and snow.        90
 
And every tongue, through utter drought,
  Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
  We had been choked with soot.
 
Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks        95
  Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
  About my neck was hung.
 
 
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