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It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek,

Like a meadow-gale of spring-
It mingled strangely with my fears,

Yet it felt like a welcoming.

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The rock shone bright, the kirk no less

That stands above the rock :
The moonlight steeped in silentness

The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,

Till rising from the same
Full many shapes, that shadows were,

In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow

Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck-

O Christ! what saw I there?

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;

And by the holy rood
A man all light, a seraph-man,

On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand ;

It was a heavenly sight:
They stood as signals to the land,

Each one a lovely light.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,

No voice did they impart-
No voice; but O! the silence sank

Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,

I heard the pilot's cheer:
My head was turned perforce away,

And I saw a boat appear.

The pilot, and the pilot's boy,

I heard them coming fast :
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy

The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third-I heard his voice;

It is the hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns

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:
It is the moss that wholly hides

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 :
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below

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 :
The boat came close beneath the ship,

And straight a sound was heard.

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.

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.

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 countrée

I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,

And scarcely he could stand.


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 mind was wrenched

With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale,

And then it left me free.

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 ;
The moment that his face I see
I know the man that must hear me;

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

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