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About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danced 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 followed us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.

And every tongue through utter drouth

Was withered at the root; We could not speak no more than if

We had been choked with soot.

Ah well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!

Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

III.

"So pass'd a weary time; each throat "Was parched, and glazed each 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 ner'd and ner'd; And as if it dodged a water-sprite,

It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throat unslaked, with black lips baked

We could nor laugh nor wail; Through utter drouth all dumb we stood Till I bit my arm and sucked the blood,

And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throat unslaked, with black lips baked

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!

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 straight the Sun was necked with bars
(Heaven's Mother send us grace !)

As if through a dungeon grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she neres and neres!

Are those her Sails that glance in the Sun Like restless gossameres?

Are those her Ribs, through which the Sun

Did peer, as through 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 patched 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.

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