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It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek,
Like a meadow-gale of spring-
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less
That stands above the rock :
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same
In crimson colours came.
A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
O Christ! what saw I there?
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
And by the holy rood
On every corse there stood.
This seraph-band, each waved his hand ;
It was a heavenly sight:
Each one a lovely light.
This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart-
Like music on my heart.
But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the pilot's cheer:
And I saw a boat appear.
The pilot, and the pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast :
The dead men could not blast.
I saw a third-I heard his voice;
It is the hermit good!
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The albatross's blood.”
“ 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 Mariners
That come from a far countrée.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve
He hath a cushion plump:
The rotted old oak-stump.
The skiff-boat ner'd; I heard them talk,
Why, this is strange, I trow! Where are those lights so many and fair
That signal made but now ?'
Strange, by my faith!' the hermit said
And they answered not our cheer. The planks look warped, and see those sails
How thin they are and sere! I never saw aught like to them
Unless perchance it were
The skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest brook along :
That eats the she-wolf's young.'
* Dear Lord ! it has 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 :
And straight a sound was heard.
Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread :
The ship went down like lead.
Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
My body lay afloat:
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.
I moved my lips: the pilot shrieked,
And fell down in a fit.
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 countrée
I stood on the firm land!
And scarcely he could stand.
O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!'
The hermit crossed his brow.
Forthwith this frame of mind was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
And then it left me free.
Since then, at an uncertain hour
That agony returns ;
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech ;
To him my tale I teach.
What loud uproar bursts from that door !
The wedding-guests are there; But in the garden-bower the bride