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If he may know which way to go;
We drifted o'er the harbour bar,
been cast into a
their own forms
The harbour bay was clear as glass, The mariner hath But why drives on that ship so fast, So smoothly it was strewn! trance ; for the Without or wave or wind ?
And on the bay the moonlight lay angelic power
And the shadow of the moon. causeth the vessel to drive north. ward faster than the air is cut away before,
The rock shone bright, the kirk no human life could
That stands above the rock:
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent
The angelic spi
rits leave the The supernatural I woke, and we were sailing on Full many shapes that shadows were, dead bodies motion is retard. As in a gentle weather:
In crimson colours came.
A little distance from the prow And appear in
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
A man all light, a seraph-man,
This seraph band, each waved his
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
This seraph band, each waved his
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 turn'd perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.
But soon there breathed a wind on me, 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.
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrive my soul, he'll wash away
The albatross's blood.
This hermit good lives in that wood And the ancient O! dream of joy ! is this, indeed, Which slopes down to the sea. mariner behold.
The light-house top I see? eth his native
How loudly his sweet voice he rears ! country.
Is this the hill? is this the kirk? He loves to talk with mariners
That come from a far countrée.
The hermit of the wood,
of life fulis 02 hin.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and “ Ha! ha!" quoth he, “ full plain I
The devil knows how to row.”
And now, all in my own countrée,
I stood on the firm land !
“() shrive me, shrive me, holy man!” The ancient mafair,
riderearnestlyesThe hermit cross'd his brow.
treateth the ber That signal made but now?" “Say quick," quoth he, “I bid thee mit to shrise bis;
and the penance
What manner of man art thou ?”
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
agony returns :
his future bile 23 My forest brook along; And till my ghastly tale is told,
eth him to trasel When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow, This heart within me burns.
from land to laad. And the owlet whoops to the wolf
I pass, like night, from land to land :
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.
The wedding-guests are there
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bridemaids singing are:
Which biddeth me to prayer.
Alone on a wide, wide sea :
The ship went down like lead. Scarce seemed there to be.
'Tis sweeter far to me, the pilot's boat.
To walk together to the kirk,
With a goodly company!-
To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!
his own example,
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man, and bird, and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
The mariner, whose eye is bright,
Is gone: and now the wedding-guest
Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.
love and reverence to all things that God ende and loveth.
He went like one that hath been
stunnid, And is of sense forlorn, A sadder and a wiser man le rose the morrow morn.
'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
Sir Leoline, the baron rich,
Is the night chilly and dark?
The lovely lady, Christabel,
PREFACE.* The first part of the following poem was written in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninetyseven, at Stowey in the county of Somerset. The second part, after my return from Germany, in the year one thousand eight hundred, at Keswick, Cumberland. Since the latter date, my poetic powers have been, till very lately, in a state of suspended animation. But as, in my very first conception of the tale, I had the whole present to my mind, with the wholeness, no less than with the loveliness of a vision, I trust that I shall yet be able to embody in verse the three parts yet to come.
It is probable, that if the poem had been finished at either of the former periods, or if even the first and second part had been published in the year 1800, the impression of its originality would have been much greater than I dare at present expect. But for this, I have only my own indolence to blame. The dates are mentioned for the exclusive purpose of precluding charges of plagiarism or servile imitation from myself. For there is amongst us a set of critics, who seem to hold, that every possible thought and image is traditional; who have no notion that there are such things as fountains in the world, small as well as great; and who would, therefore, charitably derive every rill they behold flowing, from a perforation made in some other man's tank. I am confident, however, that as far as the present poem is concerned, the celebrated poets whose writings I might be suspected of having imitated, either in particular passages, or in the tone and the spirit of the whole, would be among the first to vindicate me from the charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to address them in this doggerel version of two monkish Latin hexameters.
'Tis mine, and it is likewise yours;
Am the poorer of the two. I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a new principle: namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents will be found to be only four. Nevertheless, this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some transition, in the nature of the imagery or passion.
She stole along, she nothing spoke,
Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
What sees she there?
There she sees a damsel bright, Drest in a silken robe of white,
the edition of 1816.
That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
They cross'd the moat, and Christabel
Took the key that fitted well;
A little door she open's straight,
All in the middle of the gate;
The gate that was iron'd within and med
Where an army in battle array bad med
The lady sank, belike through pain,
And Christabel with might and main
Lifted her up, a weary weight,
Over the threshold of the gate : Mary mother, save me now!
Then the lady rose again, (Said Christabel,) And who art thou ?
And moved, as she were not in pain.
So free from danger, free from fear,
They cross'd the court: right glad the I scarce can speak for weariness :
And Christabel devoutly cried Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!
To the lady by her side, Said Christabel, How camest thou here?
Praise we the Virgin all divine And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Who bath rescued thee from thy distress! Did thus pursue her answer meet:
Alas, alas! said Geraldine,
I cannot speak for weariness.
So free from danger, free from fear,
They crossid the court: right glad they el Me, even me, a maid forlorn:
Outside her kennel, the mastiff old
Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make!
And what can ail the mastiff bitch? They spurr'd amain, their steeds were white;
Never till now she utter'd yell
Beneath the eye of Christabel.
Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch;
For what can ail the mastiff bitch?
They pass’d the hall, that echoes still,
Pass as lightly as you will !
The brands were flat, the brands were dyin, A weary woman, scarce alive.
Amid their own white ashes lying:
But when the lady pass'd, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
And nothing else saw she therehy,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall Stretch forth thy hand, (thus ended she,)
Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall And help a wretched maid to flee.
O softly tread! said Christabel,
My father seldom sleepeth well.
Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare; ( well, bright dame! may you command
And, jealous of the listening air, The service of Sir Leoline ;
They steal their way from stair to stair: And gladly our stout chivalry
Now in glimmer, and now in gloomWill be send forth and friends withal,
And now they pass the baron's room, To guide and guard you safe and free
As still as death with stifled breath! Home to your noble father's hall.
And now have reach'd her chamber-door ;
And now doth Geraldine press down
The rushes of the chamber floor.
The moon shines dim in the open air,
And not a moonbeam enters here. All our household are at rest,
But they without its light can see The hall as silent as the cell;
The chamber carved so curiously, Sir Leoline is weak in health,
Carved with figures strange and sweet, And may not well awaken'd be,
All made out of the carver's brain, But we will move as if in stealth ;
For a lady's chamber meet: And I beseech your courtesy,
The lamp with twofold silver chain This night, to share your couch with me.
Is fasten'd to an angel's feet.
BE 8 T &
And on her elbow did recline To look at the Lady Geraldine.
The silver lamp burns dead and dim ;
Beneath the lamp the Lady bow'd,
1 And will your mother pity me,
Who am a maiden most forlorn ?
I would, said Geraldine, she were !
“ Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine !
Off, woman, off! this hour is mine
Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs ;
These words did say:
But vainly thou warrest,
For this is alone in
That in the dim forest
Thou heardest a low moaning, And foundest a bright lady, surpassingly fair: And didst bring her home with thee in love and in
charity, To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.
Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
Alas! said she, this ghastly ride25 Dear lady! it hath wilder'd you !
The lady wiped her moist cold brow, 3
And faintly said, “ 'Tis over now !"
With open eyes (ah wo is me!)
But through her brain of weal and wo