Part 2 out of 3
[Footnote 3: Several of the Lakes in the north of England are let
out to different Fishermen, in parcels marked out by imaginary lines
drawn from rock to rock.]
Can I forget that miserable hour,
When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,
Peering above the trees, the steeple tower
That on his marriage-day sweet music made?
Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid,
Close by my mother in their native bowers:
Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,--
I could not pray:--through tears that fell in showers,
Glimmer'd our dear-loved home, alas! no longer ours!
There was a youth whom I had loved so long.
That when I loved him not I cannot say.
'Mid the green mountains many and many a song
We two had sung, like gladsome birds in May.
When we began to tire of childish play
We seemed still more and more to prize each other;
We talked of marriage and our marriage day;
And I in truth did love him like a brother,
For never could I hope to meet with such another.
His father said, that to a distant town
He must repair, to ply the artist's trade.
What tears of bitter grief till then unknown?
What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed!
To him we turned:--we had no other aid.
Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,
And her whom he had loved in joy, he said
He well could love in grief: his faith he kept;
And in a quiet home once more my father slept.
Four years each day with daily bread was blest,
By constant toil and constant prayer supplied.
Three lovely infants lay upon my breast;
And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed,
And knew not why. My happy father died
When sad distress reduced the childrens' meal:
Thrice happy! that from him the grave did hide
The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel,
And tears that flowed for ills which patience could not heal.
'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come;
We had no hope, and no relief could gain.
But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum
Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain.
My husband's arms now only served to strain
Me and his children hungering in his view:
In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain:
To join those miserable men he flew;
And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew.
There foul neglect for months and months we bore,
Nor yet the crowded fleet its anchor stirred.
Green fields before us and our native shore,
By fever, from polluted air incurred,
Ravage was made, for which no knell was heard.
Fondly we wished, and wished away, nor knew,
'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes deferr'd,
That happier days we never more must view:
The parting signal streamed, at last the land withdrew.
But from delay the summer calms were past.
On as we drove, the equinoctial deep
Ran mountains-high before the howling blast.
We gazed with terror on the gloomy sleep
Of them that perished in the whirlwind's sweep,
Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue,
Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap,
That we the mercy of the waves should rue.
We readied the western world, a poor, devoted crew.
Oh I dreadful price of being to resign
All that is dear _in_ being! better far
In Want's most lonely cave till death to pine,
Unseen, unheard, unwatched by any star;
Or in the streets and walks where proud men are,
Better our dying bodies to obtrude,
Than dog-like, wading at the heels of war,
Protract a curst existence, with the brood
That lap (their very nourishment!) their brother's blood.
The pains and plagues that on our heads came down;
Disease and famine, agony and fear,
In wood or wilderness, in camp or town,
It would thy brain unsettle even to hear.
All perished--all, in one remorseless year,
Husband and children! one by one, by sword
And ravenous plague, all perished: every tear
Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board
A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.
Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
By the first beams of dawning light impress'd;
In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main,
The very ocean has its hour of rest,
That comes not to the human mourner's breast.
Remote from man, and storms of mortal care,
A heavenly silence did the waves invest:
I looked and looked along the silent air,
Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair.
Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps!
And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke:
The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps!
The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke!
The shriek that from the distant battle broke!
The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host
Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke
To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,
Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!
Yet does that burst of woe congeal my frame,
When the dark streets appeared to heave and gape,
While like a sea the storming army came,
And Fire from hell reared his gigantic shape,
And Murder, by the ghastly gleam, and Rape
Seized their joint prey, the mother and the child!
But from these crazing thoughts my brain, escape!
--For weeks the balmy air breathed soft and mild,
And on the gliding vessel Heaven and Ocean smiled.
Some mighty gulph of separation past,
I seemed transported to another world:--
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast
The impatient mariner the sail unfurl'd,
And whistling, called the wind that hardly curled
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home,
And from all hope I was forever hurled.
For me--farthest from earthly port to roam
Was best, could I but shun the spot where man might
And oft, robb'd of my perfect mind, I thought
At last my feet a resting-place had found:
Here will I weep in peace, (so fancy wrought,)
Roaming the illimitable waters round;
Here watch, of every human friend disowned,
All day, my ready tomb the ocean-flood--
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound:
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.
By grief enfeebled was I turned adrift,
Helpless as sailor cast on desert rock;
Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,
Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.
I lay, where with his drowsy mates, the cock
From the cross timber of an out-house hung;
How dismal tolled, that night, the city clock!
At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,
Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my tongue.
So passed another day, and so the third:
Then did I try, in vain, the crowd's resort,
In deep despair by frightful wishes stirr'd,
Near the sea-side I reached a ruined fort:
There, pains which nature could no more support,
With blindness linked, did on my vitals fall;
Dizzy my brain, with interruption short
Of hideous sense; I sunk, nor step could crawl,
And thence was borne away to neighbouring hospital.
Recovery came with food: but still, my brain
Was weak, nor of the past had memory.
I heard my neighbours, in their beds, complain
Of many things which never troubled me;
Of feet still bustling round with busy glee,
Of looks where common kindness had no part.
Of service done with careless cruelty,
Fretting the fever round the languid heart,
And groans, which, as they said, would make a dead man start.
These things just served to stir the torpid sense,
Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised.
Memory, though slow, returned with strength: and thence
Dismissed, again on open day I gazed,
At houses, men, and common light, amazed.
The lanes I sought, and as the sun retired,
Came, where beneath the trees a faggot blazed;
The wild brood saw me weep, my fate enquired,
And gave me food, and rest, more welcome, more desired.
My heart is touched to think that men like these,
The rude earth's tenants, were my first relief:
How kindly did they paint their vagrant ease!
And their long holiday that feared not grief,
For all belonged to all, and each was chief.
No plough their sinews strained; on grating road
No wain they drove, and yet, the yellow sheaf
In every vale for their delight was stowed:
For them, in nature's meads, the milky udder flowed,
Semblance, with straw and panniered ass, they made
Of potters wandering on from door to door:
But life of happier sort to me pourtrayed,
And other joys my fancy to allure;
The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor
In barn uplighted, and companions boon
Well met from far with revelry secure,
In depth of forest glade, when jocund June
Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon.
But ill it suited me, in journey dark
O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch;
To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,
Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch;
The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,
The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill;
Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding still.
What could I do, unaided and unblest?
Poor Father! gone was every friend of thine:
And kindred of dead husband are at best
Small help, and, after marriage such as mine,
With little kindness would to me incline.
Ill was I then for toil or service fit:
With tears whose course no effort could confine,
By high-way side forgetful would I sit
Whole hours, my idle arms in moping sorrow knit.
I lived upon the mercy of the fields
And oft of cruelty the sky accused;
On hazard, or what general bounty yields.
Now coldly given, now utterly refused,
The fields I for my bed have often used:
But, what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth
Is, that I have my inner self abused,
Foregone the home delight of constant truth,
And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth.
Three years a wanderer, often have I view'd,
In tears, the sun towards that country tend
Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude:
And now across this moor my steps I bend--
Oh! tell me whither--for no earthly friend
Have I.--She ceased, and weeping turned away,
As if because her tale was at an end
She wept;--because she had no more to say
Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay.
And this place our forefathers made for man!
This is the process of our love and wisdom
To each poor brother who offends against us--
Most innocent, perhaps--and what if guilty?
Is this the only cure? Merciful God!
Each pore and natural outlet shrivell'd up
By ignorance and parching poverty,
His energies roll back upon his heart,
And stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison,
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague spot.
Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks--
And this is their best cure! uncomforted.
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears.
And savage faces, at the clanking hour,
Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
By the lamp's dismal twilight! So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
By sights of ever more deformity!
With other ministrations thou, O nature!'
Healest thy wandering and distempered child:
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences.
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sheets,
Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
Till he relent, and can no more endure
To be a jarring and a dissonant thing,
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy;
But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,
His angry spirit healed and harmonized
By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
_SIMON LEE, THE OLD HUNTSMAN,
With an incident in which he was concerned._
In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
An old man dwells, a little man,
I've heard he once was tall.
Of years he has upon his back,
No doubt, a burthen weighty;
He says he is three score and ten,
But others say he's eighty.
A long blue livery-coat has he,
That's fair behind, and fair before;
Yet, meet him where you will, you see
At once that he is poor.
Full five and twenty years he lived
A running huntsman merry;
And, though he has but one eye left,
His cheek is like a cherry.
No man like him the horn could sound,
And no man was so full of glee;
To say the least, four counties round.
Had heard of Simon Lee;
His master's dead, and no one now
Dwells in the hall of Ivor;
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;
He is the sole survivor.
His hunting feats have him bereft
Of his right eye, as you may see:
And then, what limbs those feats have left
To poor old Simon Lee!
He has no son, he has no child,
His wife, an aged woman,
Lives with him, near the waterfall,
Upon the village common.
And he is lean and he is sick,
His dwindled body's half awry,
His ancles they are swoln and thick;
His legs are thin and dry.
When he was young he little knew
'Of husbandry or tillage;
And now he's forced to work, though weak,
--The weakest in the village.
He all the country could outrun,
Could leave both man and horse behind;
And often, ere the race was done,
He reeled and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world
At which his heart rejoices;
For when the chiming bounds are out,
He dearly loves their voices!
Old Ruth works out of doors with him.
And does what Simon cannot do;
For she, not over stout of limb,
Is stouter of the two.
And though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
Alas! 'tis very little, all
Which they can do between them.
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
Not twenty paces from the door,
A scrap of land they have, but they
Are poorest of the poor.
This scrap of land he from the heath
Enclosed when he was stronger;
But what avails the land to them,
Which they can till no longer?
Few months of life has he in store,
As he to you will-tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
His poor old ancles swell.
My gentle reader, I perceive
How patiently you've waited,
And I'm afraid that you expect
Some tale will be related.
O reader! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring,
O gentle reader! you would find
A tale in every thing.
What more I have to say is short,
I hope you'll kindly take it;
It is no tale; but should you think,
Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see
This old man doing all he could
About the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock totter'd in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.
"You've overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool" to him I said;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffer'd aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I sever'd,
At which the poor old man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought,
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
--I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas! the gratitude of men
Has oftner left me mourning.
Written in early Spring_.
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it griev'd my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trail'd its wreathes;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopp'd and play'd:
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If I these thoughts may not prevent,
If such be of my creed the plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
Written in April, 1798._
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and tho' the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song
"Most musical, most melancholy"  Bird!
A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
--But some night wandering Man, whose heart was pierc'd
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper or neglected love,
(And so, poor Wretch! fill'd all things with himself
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
First named these notes a melancholy strain:
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
[Footnote 4: "_Most musical, most melancholy_." This passage in
Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere
description: it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man,
and has therefore a _dramatic_ propriety. The Author makes this
remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with
levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more
painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.]
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
Beside a 'brook in mossy forest-dell
By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
Be lov'd, like nature!--But 'twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical
Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My Friend, and my Friend's Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices always full of love
And joyance! Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful, that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
Hi? love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music! And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge
Which the great lord inhabits not: and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales: and far and near
In wood and thicket over the wide grove
They answer and provoke each other's songs--
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug
And one low piping sound more sweet than all--
Stirring the air with such an harmony,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day!
A most gentle maid
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by die Castle, and at latest eve,
(Even like a Lady vow'd and dedicate
To something more than nature in the grove)
Glides thro' the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment's space,
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence: till the Moon
Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
With one sensation, and those wakeful Birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
At if one quick and sudden Gale had swept
An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd
Many a Nightingale perch giddily
On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song,
Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.--That strain again!
Full fain it would delay me!-My dear Babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
The evening star: and once when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
And he beholds the moon, and hush'd at once
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well--
It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate Joy! Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.
Written when sailing in a Boat At EVENING._
How rich the wave, in front, imprest
With evening twilights summer hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent path pursues!
And see how dark the backward stream!
A little moment past, so smiling!
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
Some other loiterer beguiling.
Such views the youthful bard allure,
But, heedless of the following gloom,
He deems their colours shall endure
'Till peace go with him to the tomb.
--And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow!
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?
Written near Richmond upon the Thames._
Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
O Thames! that other bards may see,
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.
Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
'Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.
Vain thought! yet be as now thou art,
That in thy waters may be seen
The image of a poet's heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene!
Such as did once the poet bless,
Who, pouring here a _later_ ditty,
Could find no refuge from distress,
But in the milder grief of pity.
Remembrance! as we float along,
For him suspend the dashing oar,
And pray that never child of Song
May know his freezing sorrows more.
How calm! how still! the only sound,
The dripping of the oar suspended!
--The evening darkness gathers round
By virtue's holiest powers attended. 
[Footnote 5: Collins's Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written,
I believe, of the poems which were published during his life-time.
This Ode is also alluded to in the next stanza.]
THE IDIOT BOY.
_The IDIOT BOY_.
'Tis eight o'clock,--a clear March night,
The moon is up--the sky is blue,
The owlet in the moonlight air,
He shouts from nobody knows where;
He lengthens out his lonely shout,
Halloo! halloo! a long halloo!
--Why bustle thus about your door,
What means this bustle, Betty Foy?
Why are you in this mighty fret?
And why on horseback have you set
Him whom you love, your idiot boy?
Beneath the moon that shines so bright,
Till she is tired, let Betty Foy
With girt and stirrup fiddle-faddle;
But wherefore set upon a saddle
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy?
There's scarce a soul that's out of bed;
Good Betty put him down again;
His lips with joy they burr at you,
But, Betty! what has he to do
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein?
The world will say 'tis very idle,
Bethink you of the time of night;
There's not a mother, no not one,
But when she hears what you have done,
Oh! Betty she'll be in a fright.
But Betty's bent on her intent,
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress;
Old Susan lies a bed in pain,
And sorely puzzled are the twain,
For what she ails they cannot guess.
And Betty's husband's at the wood,
Where by the week he doth abide,
A woodman in the distant vale;
There's none to help poor Susan Gale,
What must be done? what will betide?
And Betty from the lane has fetched
Her pony, that is mild and good,
Whether he be in joy or pain,
Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he is all in travelling trim,
And by the moonlight, Betty Foy
Has up upon the saddle set,
The like was never heard of yet,
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
And he must post without delay
Across the bridge that's in the dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a doctor from the town,
Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
There is no need of boot or spur,
There is no need of whip or wand,
For Johnny has his holly-bough,
And with a hurly-burly now
He shakes the green bough in his hand.
And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The boy who is her best delight,
Both what to follow, what to shun,
What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge,
Was, "Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
Come home again, nor stop at all,
Come home again, whate'er befal,
My Johnny do, I pray you do."
To this did Johnny answer make,
Both with his head, and with his hand,
And proudly shook the bridle too,
And then! his words were not a few,
Which Betty well could understand.
And now that Johnny is just going,
Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
She gently pats the pony's side,
On which her idiot boy must ride,
And seems no longer in a hurry.
But when the pony moved his legs,
Oh! then for the poor idiot boy!
For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
For joy his head and heels are idle,
He's idle all for very joy.
And while the pony moves his legs,
In Johnny's left hand you may see,
The green bough's motionless and dead:
The moon that shines above his head
Is not more still and mute than he.
His heart it was so full of glee,
That till full fifty yards were gone,
He quite forgot his holly whip,
And all his skill in horsemanship,
Oh! happy, happy, happy John.
And Betty's standing at the door,
And Betty's face with joy o'erflows,
Proud of herself, and proud of him,
She sees him in his travelling trim;
How quietly her Johnny goes.
The silence of her idiot boy,
What hopes it sends to Betty's heart!
He's at the guide-post--he turns right,
She watches till he's out of sight,
And Betty will not then depart.
Burr, burr--now Johnny's lips they burr,
As loud as any mill, or near it,
Meek as a lamb the pony moves,
And Johnny makes the noise he loves,
And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
Away she hies to Susan Gale:
And Johnny's in a merry tune,
The owlets hoot, the owlets purr,
And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr,
And on he goes beneath the moon.
His steed and he right well agree,
For of this pony there's a rumour,
That should he lose his eyes and ears,
And should he live a thousand years,
He never will be out of humour.
But then he is a horse that thinks!
And when he thinks his pace is slack;
Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,
Yet for his life he cannot tell
What he has got upon his back.
So through the moonlight lanes they go,
And far into the moonlight dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a doctor from the town,
To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
And Betty, now at Susan's side,
Is in the middle of her story,
What comfort Johnny soon will bring,
With many a most diverting thing,
Of Johnny's wit and Johnny's glory.
And Betty's still at Susan's side:
By this time she's not quite so flurried;
Demure with porringer and plate
She sits, as if in Susan's fate
Her life and soul were buried.
But Betty, poor good woman! she,
You plainly in her face may read it,
Could lend out of that moment's store
Five years of happiness or more,
To any that might need it.
But yet I guess that now and then
With Betty all was not so well,
And to the road she turns her ears,
And thence full many a sound she hears,
Which she to Susan will not tell.
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
"As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"
Cries Betty, "he'll be back again;
They'll both be here, 'tis almost ten,
They'll both be here before eleven."
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
The clock gives warning for eleven;
'Tis on the stroke--"If Johnny's near,"
Quoth Betty "he will soon be here,
As sure as there's a moon in heaven."
The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
And Johnny is not yet in sight,
The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,
But Betty is not quite at ease;
And Susan has a dreadful night.
And Betty, half an hour ago,
On Johnny vile reflections cast:
"A little idle sauntering thing!"
With other names, an endless string.
But now that time is gone and past.
And Betty's drooping at the heart.
That happy time all past and gone,
"How can it be he is so late?
The Doctor he has made him wait,
Susan! they'll both be here anon."
And Susan's growing worse and worse,
And Betty's in a sad quandary;
And then there's nobody to say
If she must go or she must stay:
--She's in a sad quandary.
The clock is on the stroke of one;
But neither Doctor nor his guide
Appear along the moonlight road,
There's neither horse nor man abroad,
And Betty's still at Susan's side.
And Susan she begins to fear
Of sad mischances not a few,
That Johnny may perhaps be drown'd,
Or lost perhaps, and never found;
Which they must both for ever rue.
She prefaced half a hint of this
With, "God forbid it should be true!"
At the first word that Susan said
Cried Betty, rising from the bed,
"Susan, I'd gladly stay with you."
"I must be gone, I must away,
Consider, Johnny's but half-wise;
Susan, we must take care of him,
If he is hurt in life or limb"--
"Oh God forbid!" poor Susan cries.
"What can I do?" says Betty, going,
"What can I do to ease your pain?
Good Susan tell me, and I'll stay;
I fear you're in a dreadful way,
But I shall soon be back again."
"Nay, Betty, go! good Betty, go!
There's nothing that can ease my pain."
Then off she hies, but with a prayer
That God poor Susan's life would spare,
Till she comes back again.
So, through the moonlight lane she goes,
And far into the moonlight dale;
And how she ran, and how she walked,
And all that to herself she talked,
Would surely be a tedious tale.
In high and low, above, below,
In great and small, in round and square,
In tree and tower was Johnny seen,
In bush and brake, in black and green,
'Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where.
She's past the bridge that's in the dale,
And now the thought torments her sore,
Johnny perhaps his horse forsook,
To hunt the moon that's in the brook,
And never will be heard of more.
And now she's high upon the down,
Alone amid a prospect wide;
There's neither Johnny nor his horse,
Among the fern or in the gorse;
There's neither doctor nor his guide.
"Oh saints! what is become of him?
Perhaps he's climbed into an oak,
Where he will stay till he is dead;
Or sadly he has been misled,
And joined the wandering gypsey-folk."
"Or him that wicked pony's carried
To the dark cave, the goblins' hall,
Or in the castle he's pursuing,
Among the ghosts, his own undoing;
Or playing with the waterfall,"
At poor old Susan then she railed,
While to the town she posts away;
"If Susan had not been so ill,
Alas! I should have had him still,
My Johnny, till my dying day."
Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,
The doctor's self would hardly spare,
Unworthy things she talked and wild,
Even he, of cattle the most mild,
The pony had his share.
And now she's got into the town,
And to the doctor's door she hies;
'Tis silence all on every side;
The town so long, the town so wide,
Is silent as the skies.
And now she's at the doctor's door,
She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap,
The doctor at the casement shews,
His glimmering eyes that peep and doze;
And one hand rubs his old night-cap.
"Oh Doctor! Doctor! where's my Johnny?"
"I'm here, what is't you want with me?"
"Oh Sir! you know I'm Betty Foy,
And I have lost my poor dear boy,
You know him--him you often see;"
"He's not so wise as some folks be,"
"The devil take his wisdom!" said
The Doctor, looking somewhat grim,
"What, woman! should I know of him?"
And, grumbling, he went back to bed.
"O woe is me! O woe is me!
Here will I die; here will I die;
I thought to find my Johnny here,
But he is neither far nor near,
Oh! what a wretched mother I!"
She stops, she stands, she looks about,
Which way to turn she cannot tell.
Poor Betty! it would ease her pain
If she had heart to knock again;
--The clock strikes three--a dismal knell!
Then up along the town she hies,
No wonder if her senses fail,
This piteous news so much it shock'd her,
She quite forgot to send the Doctor,
To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
And now she's high upon the down,
And she can see a mile of road,
"Oh cruel! I'm almost three-score;
Such night as this was ne'er before,
There's not a single soul abroad."
She listens, but she cannot hear
The foot of horse, the voice of man;
The streams with softest sound are flowing,
The grass you almost hear it growing,
You hear it now if e'er you can.
The owlets through the long blue night
Are shouting to each other still:
Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob,
They lengthen out the tremulous sob,
That echoes far from hill to hill.
Poor Betty now has lost all hope,
Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin;
A green-grown pond she just has pass'd,
And from the brink she hurries fast,
Lest she should drown herself therein.
And now she sits her down and weeps;
Such tears she never shed before;
"Oh dear, dear pony! my sweet joy!
Oh carry back my idiot boy!
And we will ne'er o'erload thee more."
A thought it come into her head;
"The pony he is mild and good,
And we have always used him well;
Perhaps he's gone along the dell,
And carried Johnny to the wood."
Then up she springs as if on wings;
She thinks no more of deadly sin;
If Betty fifty ponds should see,
The last of all her thoughts would be,
To drown herself therein.
Oh reader! now that I might tell
What Johnny and his horse are doing!
What they've been doing all this time,
Oh could I put it into rhyme,
A most delightful tale pursuing!
Perhaps, and no unlikely thought!
He with his pony now doth roam
The cliffs and peaks so high that are,
To lay his hands upon a star,
And in his pocket bring it home.
Perhaps he's turned himself about,
His face unto his horse's tail,
And still and mute, in wonder lost,
All like a silent horse-man ghost,
He travels on along the vale.
And now, perhaps, he's hunting sheep,
A fierce and dreadful hunter he!
Yon valley, that's so trim and green,
In five months' time, should he be seen,
A desart wilderness will be.
Perhaps, with head and heels on fire,
And like the very soul of evil,
He's galloping away, away,
And so he'll gallop on for aye,
The bane of all that dread the devil.
I to the muses have been bound
These fourteen years, by strong indentures:
Oh gentle muses! let me tell
But half of what to him befel,
For sure he met with strange adventures.
Oh gentle muses! is this kind
Why will ye thus my suit repel?
Why of your further aid bereave me?
And can ye thus unfriended leave me?
Ye muses! whom I love so well.
Who's yon, that, near the waterfall,
Which thunders down with headlong force,
Beneath the moon, yet shining fair,
As careless as if nothing were,
Sits upright on a feeding horse?
Unto his horse, that's feeding free,
He seems, I think, the rein to give;
Of moon or stars he takes no heed;
Of such we in romances read,
--Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live.
And that's the very pony too.
Where is she, where is Betty Foy?
She hardly can sustain her fears;
The roaring water-fall she hears,
And cannot find her idiot boy.
Your pony's worth his weight in gold,
Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy!
She's coming from among the trees,
And now all full in view she sees
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
And Betty sees the pony too:
Why stand you thus Good Betty Foy?
It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost,
'Tis he whom you so long have lost,
He whom you love, your idiot boy.
She looks again-her arms are up--
She screams--she cannot move for joy;
She darts as with a torrent's force,
She almost has o'erturned the horse,
And fast she holds her idiot boy.
And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud,
Whether in cunning or in joy,
I cannot tell; but while he laughs,
Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs,
To hear again her idiot boy.
And now she's at the pony's tail,
And now she's at the pony's head,
On that side now, and now on this,
And almost stifled with her bliss,
A few sad tears does Betty shed.
She kisses o'er and o'er again,
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy,
She's happy here, she's happy there.
She is uneasy every where;
Her limbs are all alive with joy.
She pats the pony, where or when
She knows not, happy Betty Foy!
The little pony glad may be,
But he is milder far than she,
You hardly can perceive his joy.
"Oh! Johnny, never mind the Doctor;
You've done your best, and that is all."
She took the reins, when this was said,
And gently turned the pony's head
From the loud water-fall.
By this the stars were almost gone,
The moon was setting on the hill,
So pale you scarcely looked at her:
The little birds began to stir,
Though yet their tongues were still.
The pony, Betty, and her boy,
Wind slowly through the woody dale;
And who is she, be-times abroad,
That hobbles up the steep rough road?
Who is it, but old Susan Gale?
Long Susan lay deep lost in thought,
And many dreadful fears beset her,
Both for her messenger and nurse;
And as her mind grew worse and worse,
Her body it grew better.
She turned, she toss'd herself in bed,
On all sides doubts and terrors met her;
Point after point did she discuss;
And while her mind was fighting thus,
Her body still grew better.
"Alas! what is become of them?
These fears can never be endured,
I'll to the wood."--The word scarce said,
Did Susan rise up from her bed,
As if by magic cured.
Away she posts up hill and down,
And to the wood at length is come,
She spies her friends, she shouts a greeting;
Oh me! it is a merry meeting,
As ever was in Christendom.
The owls have hardly sung their last,
While our four travellers homeward wend;
The owls have hooted all night long,
And with the owls began my song,
And with the owls must end.
For while they all were travelling home,
Cried Betty, "Tell us Johnny, do,
Where all this long night you have been,
What you have heard, what you have seen,
And Johnny, mind you tell us true."
Now Johnny all night long had heard
The owls in tuneful concert strive;
No doubt too he the moon had seen;
For in the moonlight he had been
From eight o'clock till five.
And thus to Betty's question, he,
Made answer, like a traveller bold,
(His very words I give to you,)
"The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,
And the sun did shine so cold."
--Thus answered Johnny in his glory,
And that was all his travel's story.
All Thoughts, all Passions, all Delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal Frame,
All are but Ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the Mount I lay
Beside the Ruin'd Tower.
The Moonshine stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the Lights of Eve;
And she was there, my Hope, my Joy,
My own dear Genevieve!
She lean'd against the Armed Man,
The Statue of the Armed Knight:
She stood and listen'd to my Harp
Amid the ling'ring Light.
Few Sorrows hath she of her own,
My Hope, my Joy, my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The Songs, that make her grieve.
I play'd a soft and doleful Air,
I sang an old and moving Story--
An old rude Song that fitted well
The Ruin wild and hoary.
She listen'd with a flitting Blush,
With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her Face.
I told her of the Knight, that wore
Upon his Shield a burning Brand;
And that for ten long Years he woo'd
_The Lady of the Land_.
I told her, how he pin'd: and, ah!
The low, the deep, the pleading tone,
With which I sang another's Love,
Interpreted my own.
She listen'd with a flitting Blush,
With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;
And she forgave me, that I gaz'd
Too fondly on her Face!
But when I told the cruel scorn
Which craz'd this bold and lovely Knight,
And that be cross'd the mountain woods
Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage Den,
And sometimes from the darksome Shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny Glade,
There came, and look'd him in the face,
An Angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew, it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!
And that, unknowing what he did,
He leapt amid a murd'rous Band,
And sav'd from Outrage worse than Death
The Lady of the Land;
And how she wept and clasp'd his knees
And how she tended him in vain--
And ever strove to expiate
The Scorn, that craz'd his Brain
And that she nurs'd him in a Cave;
And how his Madness went away
When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying Man he lay;
His dying words--but when I reach'd
That tenderest strain of all the Ditty,
My falt'ring Voice and pausing Harp
Disturb'd her Soul with Pity!
All Impulses of Soul and Sense
Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve,
The Music, and the doleful Tale,
The rich and balmy Eve;
And Hopes, and Fears that kindle Hope,
An undistinguishable Throng!
And gentle Wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish'd long!
She wept with pity and delight,
She blush'd with love and maiden shame;
And, like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
Her Bosom heav'd--she stepp'd aside;
As conscious of my Look, she stepp'd--
Then suddenly with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.
She half inclosed me with her arms,
She press'd me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head look'd up,
And gaz'd upon my face.
'Twas partly Love, and partly Fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful Art
That I might rather feel than see
The Swelling of her Heart.
I calm'd her Tears; and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin Pride.
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride!
_The MAD MOTHER_.
Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,
Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,
And she came far from over the main.
She has a baby on her arm,
Or else she were alone;
And underneath the hay-stack warm,
And on the green-wood stone,
She talked and sung the woods among;
And it was in the English tongue.
"Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,
But nay, my heart is far too glad;
And I am happy when I sing
Full many a sad and doleful thing:
Then, lovely baby, do not fear!
I pray thee have no fear of me,
But, safe as in a cradle, here
My lovely baby! thou shalt be,
To thee I know too much I owe;
I cannot work thee any woe."
A fire was once within my brain;
And in my head a dull, dull pain;
And fiendish faces one, two, three,
Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.
But then there came a sight of joy;
It came at once to do me good;
I waked, and saw my little boy,
My little boy of flesh and blood;
Oh joy for me that sight to see!
For he was here, and only he.
Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
It cools my blood; it cools my brain;
Thy lips I feel them, baby! they
Draw from my heart the pain away.
Oh! press me with thy little hand;
It loosens something at my chest;
About that tight and deadly band
I feel thy little fingers press'd.
The breeze I see is in the tree;
It comes to cool my babe and me.
Oh! love me, love me, little boy!
Thou art thy mother's only joy;
And do not dread the waves below,
When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go;
The high crag cannot work me harm,
Nor leaping torrents when they howl;
The babe I carry on my arm,
He saves for me my precious soul;
Then happy lie, for blest am I;
Without me my sweet babe would die.
Then do not fear, my boy! for thee
Bold as a lion I will be;
And I will always be thy guide,
Through hollow snows and rivers wide.
I'll build an Indian bower; I know
The leaves that make the softest bed:
And if from me thou wilt not go.
But still be true 'till I am dead,
My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing,
As merry as the birds in spring.
Thy father cares not for my breast,
'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest:
'Tis all thine own! and if its hue
Be changed, that was so fair to view,
'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove!
My beauty, little child, is flown;
But thou will live with me in love,
And what if my poor cheek be brown?
'Tis well for me, thou canst not see
How pale and wan it else would be.
Dread not their taunts, my little life!
I am thy father's wedded wife;
And underneath the spreading tree
We two will live in honesty.
If his sweet boy he could forsake,
With me he never would have stay'd:
From him no harm my babe can take,
But he, poor man! is wretched made,
And every day we two will pray
For him that's gone and far away.
I'll teach my boy the sweetest things;
I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
My little babe! thy lips are still,
And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
--Where art thou gone my own dear child?
What wicked looks are those I see?
Alas! alas! that look so wild,
It never, never came from me:
If thou art mad, my pretty lad,
Then I must be for ever sad.
Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!
For I thy own dear mother am.
My love for thee has well been tried:
I've sought thy father far and wide.
I know the poisons of the shade,
I know the earth-nuts fit for food;
Then, pretty dear, be not afraid;
We'll find thy father in the wood.
Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!
And there, my babe; we'll live for aye.
THE ANCIENT MARINER,
A POET'S REVERIE.
How a Ship, having first sailed to the Equator, was driven by Storms,
to the cold Country towards the South Pole; how the Ancient Mariner
cruelly, and in contempt of the laws of hospitality, killed a
Sea-bird; and how he was followed by many and strange Judgements;
and in what manner he came back to his own Country.
_The ANCIENT MARINER_.
_A POET'S REVERIE_.
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three:
"By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
Now wherefore stoppest me?"
"The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
And I am next of kin;
The Guests are met, the Feast is set,--
May'st hear the merry din."
But still he holds the wedding guest--
"There was a Ship, quoth he--"
"Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
Mariner! come with me."
He holds him with his skinny hand,
Quoth he, there was a Ship--
"Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon
Or my Staff shall make thee skip."
He holds him with his glittering eye--
The wedding guest stood still
And listens like a three year's child;
The Mariner hath his will.
The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
He cannot chuse but hear:
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd--
Merrily did we drop
Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
Below the Light-house top.
The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the Sea came he:
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the Sea.
Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon--
The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.
The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry Minstralsy.
The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
And thus spake on that ancient Man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
But now the Northwind came more fierce,
There came a Tempest strong!
And Southward still for days and weeks
Like Chaff we drove along.
And now there came both Mist and Snow,
And it grew wond'rous cold;
And Ice mast-high came floating by
As green as Emerald.
And thro' 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,
The Ice was all around:
It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd--
A wild and ceaseless sound.
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the Fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian Soul,
We hail'd it in God's name.
The Mariners gave it biscuit-worms,
And round and round it flew:
The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.
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!
In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
It perch'd for vespers nine,
Whiles all the night thro' fog-smoke white
Glimmer'd the white moon-shine.
"God save thee, ancient Mariner!
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;
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
Came to the Mariner's hollo!
And I had done an hellish thing
And it would work e'm woe:
For all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
That made the Breeze to blow.
Nor dim nor red, like an Angel's head,
The glorious Sun uprist:
Then all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
That brought the fog and mist.
'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.
The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow follow'd free:
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
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.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion,
As idle as a painted Ship
Upon a painted Ocean.
Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy Sea.
About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danc'd at night;
The water, like a witch's oils.
Burnt green and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.
And every tongue thro' utter drouth
Was wither'd at the root;
We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young;
Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
So past a weary time; each throat
Was parch'd, and glaz'd each eye,
When, looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.
At first it seem'd a little speck
And then it seem'd a mist:
It mov'd and mov'd, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it near'd and near'd;
And, as if it dodg'd a water-sprite,
It plung'd and tack'd and veer'd.
With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Thro' utter drouth all dumb we stood
Till I bit my arm and suck'd the blood,
And cry'd, A sail! a sail!
With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin
And all at once their breath drew in
As they were drinking all.
See! See! (I cry'd) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal
Without a breeze, without a tide
She steddies with upright keel!
The western wave was all a flame,
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.
And strait the Sun was fleck'd with bars
(Heaven's mother send us grace)
As if thro' a dungeon grate he peer'd
With broad and burning face.
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those _her_ Sails that glance in the Sun
Like restless gossameres?
Are those _her_ Ribs, thro' which the Sun
Did peer, as thro' a grate?
And are those two all, all her crew.
That Woman, and her Mate?
_His_ bones were black with many a crack,
All black and bare, I ween;
Jet-black and bare, save where with rust
Of mouldy damps and charnel crust
They were patch'd with purple and green.
_Her_ lips were red, _her_ looks were free,
_Her_ locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
And she was far liker Death than he;
Her flesh made the still air cold.
The naked Hulk alongside came
And the Twain were playing dice;
"The Game is done! I've won, I've won!"
Quoth she, and whistled thrice.
A gust of wind sterte up behind
And whistled thro' his bones;
Thro' the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth
Half-whistles and half-groans.
With never a whisper in the Sea
Off darts the Spectre-ship;
While clombe above the Eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright Star
Almost between the tips.
One after one by the horned Moon
(Listen, O Stranger! to me)
Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang
And curs'd me with his ee.
Four times fifty living men,
With never a sigh or groan,
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump
They dropp'd down one by one.
Their souls did from their bodies fly,--
They fled to bliss or woe;
And every soul it pass'd me by,
Like, the whiz of my Cross-bow.
"I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand;
And thou art long and lank and brown
As is the ribb'd Sea-sand."
"I fear thee and thy glittering eye
And thy skinny hand so brown--"
"Fear not, fear not, thou wedding guest!
This body dropt not down."
Alone, alone, all all alone
Alone on the wide wide Sea;
And Christ would take no pity on
My soul in agony.
The many men so beautiful,
And they all dead did lie!
And a million million slimy things
Liv'd on--and so did I.
I look'd upon the rotting Sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I look'd upon the ghastly deck,
And there the dead men lay.
I look'd to Heaven, and try'd to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.
I clos'd my lids and kept them close,
Till the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
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 look'd on me,
Had never pass'd away.
An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
A spirit from on high:
But O! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.
The moving Moon went up the sky
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up
And a star or two beside--
Her beams bemock'd the sultry main
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.
Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watch'd the water-snakes:
They mov'd in tracks of shining white;
And when they rear'd, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.
Within the shadow of the ship
I watch'd their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black
They coil'd and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.
O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gusht from my heart,
And I bless'd them unaware!
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I bless'd them unaware.
The self-same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
O sleep, it is a gentle thing
Belov'd from pole to pole!
To Mary-queen the praise be given
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven
That slid into my soul.
The silly buckets on the deck
That had so long remain'd,
I dreamt that they were fill'd with dew
And when I awoke it rain'd.
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams
And still my body drank.
I mov'd and could not feel my limbs,
I was so light, almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed Ghost.
And soon I heard a roaring wind,
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails
That were so thin and sere.
The upper air burst into life
And a hundred fire-flags sheen
To and fro they were hurried about;
And to and fro, and in and out
The wan stars danc'd between.
And the coming wind did roar more loud;
And the sails did sigh like sedge:
And the rain pour'd down from one black cloud
The moon was at its edge.
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell, with never a jag
A river steep and wide.
The loud wind never reach'd the Ship,
Yet now the Ship mov'd on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groan'd; they stirr'd, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor mov'd their eyes:
It had been strange, even in a dream
To have seen those dead men rise,
The helmsman steerd, the ship mov'd on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The Mariners all gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do:
They rais'd their limbs like lifeless tools--
We were a ghastly crew.
The body of my brother's son
Stood by me knee to knee:
The body and I pull'd at one rope,
But he said nought to me.
"I fear thee, ancient Mariner!"
"Be calm, thou wedding guest!
'Twas not those souls, that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of Spirits blest:"
"For when it dawn'd--they dropp'd their arms,
And cluster'd round the mast:
Sweet sounds rose slowly thro' their mouths
And from their bodies pass'd."
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun:
Slowly the sounds came back again
Now mix'd, now one by one.
Sometimes a dropping from the sky
I heard the Sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning.
And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel's song
That makes the heavens be mute.
It ceas'd: yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night,
Singeth a quiet tune.
Till noon we silently sail'd on
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the Ship
Mov'd onward from beneath.
Under the keel nine fathom deep
From the land of mist and snow
The spirit slid: and it was He
That made the Ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune
And the Ship stood still also.
The sun right up above the mast
Had fix'd her to the ocean:
But in a minute she 'gan stir
With a short uneasy motion--
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.
Then, like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell into a swound.
How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life return'd,
I heard and in my soul discern'd
Two voices in the air.
"Is it he?" quoth one, "Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he lay'd full low
The harmless Albatross."
"The spirit who 'bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He lov'd the bird that lov'd the man
Who shot him with his bow."
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 again,
Thy soft response renewing--
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the Ocean doing?"
"Still as a Slave before his Lord,
The Ocean hath no blast:
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
She looketh down on him."
"But why drives on that ship so fast
Without or wave or wind?"
"The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind."
"Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high,