“‘Is it he?’ quoth one,
’Is this the man?
By Him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low 400
The harmless Albatross.
“’The spirit who bideth by
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’ 405
“The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew;
Quoth he, ’The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’”
“’But tell me, tell me! speak
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?’”
“’Still as a slave before
The ocean hath no blast; 415
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 420
She looketh down on him.’”
“’But why drives on that ship
Without or wave or wind?’”
“’The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind. 425
“’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.’
“I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
’T was night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.
“All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter: 435
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the Moon did glitter.
“The pang, the curse, with which
Had never passed away;
I could not draw my eyes from theirs, 440
Nor turn them up to pray.
“And now this spell was snapped:
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen— 445
“Like one that on a lonesome road
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 450
Doth close behind him tread.
“But soon there breathed a wind
Nor sound nor motion made;
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade. 455
“It raised my hair, it fanned my
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.