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erudition, and display his fine critical taste and words, not the number of syllables. “Though the
discernment. In penetrating into and embracing latter,' he says, 'may vary from seven to twelve,
the whole meaning of a favourite author-unfold- yet in each line the accents will be found to be
ing the nice shades and distinctions of thought, only four.' This irregular harmony delighted
character, feeling, or melody--darting on it the both Scott and Byron, by whom it was imitated.
light of his own creative mind and suggestive We add a brief specimen :
fancy-and perhaps linking the whole to some
glorious original conception or image, Coleridge The night is chill ; the forest bare ;
stands unrivalled. He does not appear as a critic,

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak? but as an eloquent and gifted expounder of

There is not wind enough in the air kindred excellence and genius. He seems like

To move away the ringlet curl one who has the key to every hidden chamber of

From the lovely lady's cheek ; profound and subtle thought and every ethereal

There is not wind enough to twirl

The one red leaf, the last of its clan, conception. We cannot think, however, that he

That dances as often as dance it can, could ever have built up a regular system of ethics

Hanging so light, and hanging so high, or criticism. He wanted the art to combine and

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky. arrange his materials. He was too languid and irresolute. He had never attained the art of Hush, beating heart of Christabel ! writing with clearness and precision ; for he is Jesu Maria shield her well ! often unintelligible, turgid, and verbose, as if he She foldeth her arms beneath her cloak, struggled in vain after perspicacity and method.

And stole to the other side of the oak. His intellect could not subordinate the 'shaping

What sees she there? spirit' of his imagination.

There she sees a damsel bright, The poetical works of Coleridge have been

Dressed in a silken robe of white, collected and published in three volumes. They

That shadowy in the moonlight shone :

The neck that made that white robe wan, are various in style and manner, embracing ode,

Her stately neck and arms were bare ; tragedy, and epigram, love-poems, and strains of

Her blue-veined feet unsandalled werc; patriotism and superstition-a wild witchery of

And wildly glittered here and there imagination and, at other times, severe and stately

The gems entangled in her hair. thought and intellectual retrospection. His lan- I guess 'twas frightful there to see guage is often rich and musical, highly figurative A lady so richly clad as sheand ornate. Many of his minor poems are charac- Beautiful exceedingly ! terised by tenderness and beauty, but others are disfigured by passages of turgid sentimentalism and A finer passage is that describing broken friendpuerile affectation. The most original and striking ships : of his productions is his well-known tale of The

Alas ! they had been friends in youth ; Ancient Mariner. According to De Quincey, the

But whispering tongues can poison truth; germ of this story is contained in a passage of

And constancy lives in realms above ; Shelvocke, one of the classical circumnavigators And life is thorny ; and youth is vain : of the earth, who states that his second captain, And to be wroth with one we love, being a melancholy man, was possessed by a fancy

Doth work like madness in the brain. that some long season of foul weather was owing And thus it chanced, as I divine, to an albatross which had steadily pursued the With Roland and Sir Leoline. ship, upon which he shot the bird, but without mending their condition. Coleridge makes the

Each spake words of high disdain ancient mariner relate the circumstances attending

And insult to his heart's best brother : his act of inhumanity to one of three wedding

They parted—ne'er to meet again !

But never either found another guests whom he meets and detains on his way to

To free the hollow heart from paining ; the marriage-feast. 'He holds him with his

They stood aloof, the scars remaining, glittering eye,' and invests his narration with a

Like cliffs which had been rent asunder : deep preternatural character and interest, and

A dreary sea now flows between. with touches of exquisite tenderness and energetic But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, description. The versification is irregular, in the Shall wholly do away, I ween, style of the old ballads, and most of the action of

The marks of that which once hath been. the piece is unnatural ; yet the poem is full of vivid and original imagination. There is nothing else This metrical harmony of Coleridge exercises a like it,' says one of his critics ; 'it is a poem by sort of fascination even when it is found united to itself ; between it and other compositions, in pari- incoherent images and absurd conceptions. Thus materia, there is a chasm which you cannot over- in Khubla Khan, a fragment written from recollecpass. The sensitive reader feels himself insulated, tions of a dream, we have the following melodious and a sea of wonder and mystery flows round him rhapsody: as round the spell-stricken ship itself. Coleridge further illustrates his theory of the connection

The shadow of the dome of pleasure between the material and the spiritual world in

Floated midway on the waves,

Where was heard the mingled measure his unfinished poem of Christabel, a romantic

From the fountain and the caves. supernatural tale, filled with wild imagery and

It was a miracle of rare device, the most remarkable modulation of verse. The

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice ! versification is founded on what the poet calls a A damsel with a dulcimer new principle—though it was evidently practised In a vision once I saw : by Chaucer and Shakspeare-namely, that of It was an Abyssinian maid, counting in each line the number of accentuated And on her dulcimer she played,

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Singing of Mount Abora.

The bride hath paced into the hall, Could I revive within me

Red as a rose is she; Her symphony and song,

Nodding their heads before her goes
To such deep delight 'twould win me,

The merry minstrelsy.
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,

The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
That sunny dome, those caves of ice !

Yet he cannot choose but hear; And all who heard should see them there,

And thus spake on that ancient man,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware !

The bright-eyed mariner :
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,

* And now the storm-blast came, and he And close your eyes with holy dread,

Was tyrannous and strong ; For he on honey-dew hath fed,

He struck with his o'ertaking wings, And drunk the milk of paradise.

And chased us south along. The odes of Coleridge are highly passionate and

“With sloping masts and dripping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow elevated in conception. That on France was con

Still treads the shadow of his foe, sidered by Shelley to be the finest English ode of

And forward bends his head, modern times. The hymn on Chamouni is

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast, equally lofty and brilliant. His Genevieve is a And southward aye we fled. pure and exquisite love-poem, without that gorgeous diffuseness which characterises the odes, yet

* And now there came both mist and snow, more chastely and carefully finished, and abound

And it grew wondrous cold; ing in the delicate and subtle traits of his imag

And ice mast-high came floating by ination. Coleridge was deficient in the rapid

As green as emerald. energy and strong passion necessary for the *And through the drifts the snowy cliffs drama. The poetical beauty of certain passages Did send a dismal sheen; would not, on the stage, atone for the paucity Nor shapes of men nor beasts we kenof action and want of interest in his two plays, The ice was all between, though, as works of genius, they vastly excel those

“The ice was here, the ice was there, of a more recent date which prove highly success

The ice was all around ; ful in representation.

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,

Like noises in a swound !
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

* At length did cross an albatross,

Thorough the fog it came ;
It is an ancient mariner,

As if it had been a Christian soul,
And he stoppeth one of three ;

We hailed it in God's name. "By thy long gray beard and glittering eye,

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ?

And round and round it flew;

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
* The bridegroom's doors are opened wide,

The helmsman steered us through !
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set ;

* And a good south wind sprung up behind, Mayst hear the merry din.'

The albatross did follow,

And every day for food or play,
He holds him with his skinny hand ;

Came to the mariner's hollo!
“There was a ship,' quoth he.
‘Hold off; unhand me, gray-beard loon ;'

• In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

It perched for vespers nine ;

Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
He holds him with his glittering eye-

Glimmered the white moonshine.'
The wedding-guest stood still,
And listens like a three-years' child ;

"God save thee, ancient mariner,
The mariner hath his will.

From the fiends that plague thee thus !

Why look'st thou so ?' With my cross-bow
The wedding-guest sat on a stone,

I shot the albatross.
He cannot choose but hear ;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner :

“The sun now rose upon the right,

Out of the sea came he ;
* The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,

Still hid in mist, and on the left
Merrily did we drop

Went down into the sea.
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the light-house top.

* And the good south-wind still blew behind,

But no sweet bird did follow ;
“The sun came up upon the left,

Nor any day for food or play
Out of the sea came he ;

Came to the mariner's hollo !
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

And I had done a hellish thing,

And it would work 'em woe;
Higher and higher every day,

For all averred I had killed the bird
Till over the mast at noon

That made the breeze to blow.
The wedding-guest here beat his breast,

“Ah, wretch,” said they, “the bird to slay For he heard the loud bassoon.

That made the breeze to blow !"

73

PART I.

PART II.

Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,

"With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, The glorious sun uprist;

Agape they heard me call ; Then all averred I had killed the bird

Gramercy they for joy did grin, That brought the fog and mist.

And all at once their breath drew in, “'Twas right," said they, “such birds to slay

As they were drinking all. That bring the fog and mist.”

"" See ! see !” I cried, "she tacks no more, • The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

Hither to work us weal; The furrow followed free;

Without a breeze, without a tide, We were the first that ever burst

She steadies with upright keel.” Into that silent sea.

“The western wave was all a-flame, 'Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,

The day was well-nigh done, 'Twas sad as sad could be ;

Almost upon the western wave And we did speak only to break

Rested the broad bright sun ; The silence of the sea!

When that strange shape drove suddenly

Betwixt us and the sun. · All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun at noon

And straight the sun was flecked with barsRight up above the mast did stand,

Heaven's mother send us grace !-No bigger than the moon.

As if through a dungeon grate he peered

With broad and burning face. 'Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;

• Alas! thought I, and my heart beat loud, As idle as a painted ship

How fast she nears and nears; Upon a painted ocean.

Are those her sails that glance in the sun

Like restless gossameres? • Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink;

Are those her ribs through which the sun Water, water everywhere,

Did peer, as through a grate ;

And is that woman all her crew? Nor any drop to drink.

Is that a death, and are there two ? 'The very deep did rot; O Christ!

Is death that woman's mate? That ever this should be !

'Her lips were red, her looks were free, Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs

Her locks were yellow as gold; Upon the slimy sea.

Her skin was as white as leprosy, 'About, about, in reel and rout

The nightmare Life-in-death was she, The death-fires danced at night;

Who thicks man's blood with cold. The water, like a witch's oils,

"The naked hulk alongside came, Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And the twain were casting dice ; "And some in dreams assured were

“The game is done ! I've won, I've won !" Of the spirit that plagued us so ;

Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

'The sun's rim dips, the stars rush out,

At one stride comes the dark ; 'And every tongue, throu utter drought,

With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea
Was withered at the root ;

Off shot the spectre-bark.
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

"We listened and looked sideways up ;

Fear at my heart, as at a cup, • Ah, well-a-day! what evil looks

My life-blood seemed to sip. Had I from old and young!

The stars were dim, and thick the night, Instead of the cross, the albatross

The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white; About my neck was hung.

From the sails the dew did drip-
Till clomb above the eastern bar

The horned moon, with one bright star
PART III.

Within the nether tip.
'There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.

'One after one, by the star-dogged moon, A weary time ! a weary time!

Too quick for groan or sigh, How glazed each weary eye!

Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, When looking westward I beheld

And cursed me with his eye. A something in the sky.

'Four times fifty living men— * At first it seemed a little speck,

And I heard nor sigh nor groanAnd then it seemed a mist;

With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, It moved and moved, and took at last

They dropped down one by one. A certain shape, I wist.

The souls did from their bodies flyA speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!

They fled to bliss or woe! And still it neared and neared :

And every soul it passed me by As if it dodged a water-sprite,

Like the whizz of my cross-bow.' It plunged, and tacked, veered.

PART IV. "With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could nor laugh nor wail ;

'I fear thee, ancient mariner, Through utter drought all dumb we stood ;

I fear thy skinny hand ! I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,

And thou art long, and lank, and brown, And cried : “A sail! a sail!”

As is the ribbed sea-sand.

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'I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand so brown.'
* Fear not, sear not, thou wedding-guest,
This body dropped not down.
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea !
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.
'The many men so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie :
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on, and so did I.

PART V. Oh, sleep! it is a gentle thing, Beloved 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 remained, I dreamt that they were filled with dew; And when I awoke it rained.

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 moved, 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.

'I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away ;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.
'I looked to heaven, and tried to pray ;
But or ever a prayer had gushed,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.
'I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And 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 looked on me
Had never passed away.
An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high ;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is a curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

'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 danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud, And the sails did sigh like sedge ; And the rain poured 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 moving moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide :
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside.

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoarsrost spread ;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

'The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on !
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

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‘Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes ;
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.
. Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire :
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled 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 gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware :
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed 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.

*They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose, Nor spake, nor moved their eyes ; It had been strange, even in a dream, To have seen those dead men rise. "The helmsman steered, the ship moved on, Yet never a breeze up blew ; The mariners all 'gan work the ropes Where they were wont to do ; They raised 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 pulled 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 dawned, they dropped their arms, And clustered round the mast; Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths, And from their bodies passed.

75

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,

For the dear God who loveth us,
Then darted to the sun;

He made and loveth all.'
Slowly the sounds came back again,

The mariner, whose eye is bright,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Whose beard with age is hoar,
'Sometimes, a-dropping from the sky,

Is gone : and now the wedding-guest
I heard the skylark sing ;

Turned from the bridegroom's door.
Sometimes all little birds that are,

He went like one that hath been stunned,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air,

And is of sense forlorn :
With their sweet jargoning!

A sadder and a wiser man

He rose the morrow morn.
* And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute ;
And now it is an angel's song,

From the Ode to the Departing Year' (1795).
That makes the heavens be mute.

Spirit who sweepest the wild harp of time !
'It ceased ; yet still the sails made on

It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
A pleasant noise till noon,

Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
A noise like of a hidden brook

Yet, mine eye fixed on heaven's unchanging clime
In the leafy month of June,

Long when I listened, free from mortal fear,
That to the sleeping woods all night

With inward stillness, and submitted mind;
Singeth a quiet tune.'

When lo ! its folds far waving on the wind,

I saw the train of the departing year! The ship is driven onward, but at length the curse is finally

Starting from my silent sadness, expiated. A wind springs up:

Then with no unholy madness,
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek

Ere yet the entered cloud foreclosed my sight,
Like a meadow-gale of spring-
It mingled strangely with my fears.

I raised the impetuous song, and solemnised his flight.
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Hither, from the recent tomb, The mariner sees his native country. The angelic spirits leave the

From the prison's direr gloom, dead bodies, and appear in their own forms of lighi, each waving his hand to the shore. A boat with a pilot and hermit on board

From Distemper's midnight anguish ; approaches the ship, which suddenly sinks. The mariner is rescued ; And thence, where Poverty doth waste and languish; he entreats the hermit to shrive him, and the penance of life falls on

Or where, his two bright torches blending, him.)

Love illumines manhood's maze ;
'Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched

Or where, o'er cradled infants bending,
With a woful agony,

Hope has fixed her wishful gaze,
Which forced me to begin my tale ;

Hither, in perplexed dance,
And then it left me free.

Ye Woes ! ye young-eyed Joys! advance !

By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
'Since then, at an uncertain hour

Whose indefatigable sweep
That agony returns ;

Raises its fateful strings from sleep,
And till my ghastly tale is told,

I bid you haste, a mixed tumultuous band !
This heart within me burns.

From every private bower,
'I pass, like night, from land to land ;

And each domestic hearth,
I have strange power of speech ;

Haste for one solemn hour;
That moment that his face I see,

And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
I know the man that must hear me :

O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth
To him my tale I teach.

Weep and rejoice!

Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth •What loud uproar bursts from that door!

Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of hell :
The wedding-guests are there :

And now advance in saintly jubilee
But in the garden-bower the bride

Justice and Truth! They, too, have heard thy spell ;
And bridemaids singing are :

They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty !
And hark ! the little vesper-bell
Which biddeth me to prayer.

I marked Ambition in his war-array !

I heard the mailed monarch's troublous cryO wedding-guest ! this soul hath been

• Ah! wherefore does the northern conqueress stay! Alone on a wide wide sea :

Groans not her chariot on its onward way?'
So lonely 'twas, that God himself

Fly, mailed monarch, fly!
Scarce seemed there to be.

Stunned by Death's twice mortal mace,

No more on Murder's lurid face
O sweeter than the marriage-seast,

The insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye! 'Tis sweeter far to me,

Manes of the unnumbered slain !
To walk together to the kirk

Ye that gasped on Warsaw's plain !
With a goodly company !

Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,

When human ruin choked the streams,
"To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,

Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
While each to his great Father bends,

'Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,

Spirits of the uncoffined slain,

Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
And youths and maidens gay!

Ost, at night, in misty train,
'Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell

Rush around her narrow dwelling !
To thee, thou wedding-guest :

The exterminating fiend is filed-
He prayeth well who loveth well

Foul her life, and dark her doom-
Both man and bird and beast.

Mighty armies of the dead

Dance like death-fires round her tomb!
*He prayeth best who loveth best

Then with prophetic song relate
All things both great and small;

Each some tyrant-murderer's fate!

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