“The Sun’s rim dips; the stars
At one stride comes the dark; 200
With far-heard whisper o’er the sea
Off shot the spectre-bark.
“We listened and looked sideways
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip! 205
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright star 210
Within the nether tip.
“One after one, by the star-dogged
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye. 215
“Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.
“The souls did from their bodies
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my cross-bow!”
“I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand! 225
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand,
“I fear thee and thy glittering
And thy skinny hand, so brown.”—
“Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest! 230
This body dropped not down.
“Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony. 235
“The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.
“I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
“I looked to heaven and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht, 245
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.
“I closed my lids, and kept
And the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea
and the sky, 250
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.
“The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me 255
Had never passed away.
“An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is a curse in a dead man’s eye! 260
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.