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The Her mit of the wood.

THIS Hermit good lives in that wood

Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears !
He loves to talk with mariners
That come from a far countree.

He kneels at morn,

and noon,

and eve-
He hath a cushion plump;
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak stump.

The skiff-boat neared : I heard them talk,

Why this is strange I trow! Where are those lights so many and fair, 'That signal made but now ?

Strange, by my faith!" the Hermit said — Approach“And they answered not our cheer! The planks looked warped ! and see those

sails, How thin they are and sere

! I never saw aught like to them, Unless perchance it were

eth the ship with wonder,

“ Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young."

“ Dear Lord ! it hath a fiendish look-
(The Pilot made reply)
I am a-feared”—“Push on, push on!"
Said the hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred ;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

The ship suddenly sinketh.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the bay ;
The ship went down like lead.
Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,

Which sky and ocean smote, the Pilot's Like one that hath been seven days

My body lay afloat;

But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.

The an. cient Mariner is saved in

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

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I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars : the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
“Ha! ha!" quoth he, “ full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row."

And now, all in my own countree,
I stood on the firm land !

The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

The ancient Mariner ear

“O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!"
The Hermit crossed his brow.
Say quick,” quoth he,

I bid thee say, entreateth What manner of man art thou ?"

the Hermit to shrieve him; and

the pe

nance of


Forth with this frame of mine was wrenched life falls on
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns :
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

And ever and anon throughout his future life an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land;

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.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding guests are there :
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are:
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer !

O Wedding-Guest ! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea :

So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
'Tis sweeter far to me,
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!

And to Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
teach, by
his own To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
love and

He prayeth well, who loveth well
to all things Both man and bird and beast.
that God
made and

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.”

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.




The first part of the following poem was written in the year 1797, at Stowey, in the county of Somerset. The second part, after my return from Germany, in the year 1800, at Keswick, Cumberland. 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 there. fore 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 lone and the spirit of the whole, would be the first to vindicate me from the charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to address them in this doggrel version of two monkish Latin hexameters.

'Tis mine and it is likewise yours;
But an if this will not do;
Let it be mine, good friend I for I
Am the poorer of the two.

* To the edition of 1816.

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