Part I I I

There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.                              The ancient Mariner beholdeth
A weary time! a weary time!                                         a sign in the element afar off. 
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist. 

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared :
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,               At its nearer approach, it
We could nor laugh nor wail;                                       seemeth him to be a ship;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!                    and at a dear ransom he
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,                                 freeth his speech from the
And cried, A sail! a sail!                                              bonds of thirst. 

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,               A flash of joy; 
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 cried) she tacks no more!                          And horror follows. For 
Hither to work us weal, -                                             can it be a ship that comes
Without a breeze, without a tide,                                  onward without wind or
She steadies with upright keel!                                     tide ? 

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 straight the Sun was flecked with bars,                    It seemeth him but the
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)                                   skeleton of a ship. 
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
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 through which the Sun                      And its ribs are seen as
Did peer, as through a grate?                                        bars on the face of the
And is that Woman all her crew?                                  setting Sun.
Is that a Death? and are there two?                              The Spectre-Woman and

Is Death that woman's mate?                                        her Death-mate, and no
                                                                                    other on board the skeleton-ship. 

Her lips were red, her looks were free,                         Like vessel, like crew!
Her locks were yellow as gold :
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-mare Life-in-Dearth was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,                                   Death and Life-in-Death 
And the twain were casting dice;                                  have diced for the ship's
'The game is done! I've won !I've won!'                        crew, and she (the latter) 
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.                                      winneth the ancient Mariner. 

The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out:                            No twilight within the
At one stride comes the dark;                                       courts of the Sun. 
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!                           At the rising of the Moon, 
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steerman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip-
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horn?d Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged Moon,                    One after another, 
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,                                            His shipmates drop down 
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)                                  dead. 
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,-                               But Life-in-Death begins
They fled to bliss or woe!                                              her work on the ancient
And every soul, it passed me by,                                   Mariner. 
Like the whizz of my cross-bow!