All stood together on the deck, For a charnel-dungeon fitter: 435 All fixed on me their stony eyes, That in the Moon did glitter.
The pang, the curse, with which they died, Had never passed away: I could not draw my eyes from theirs, 440 Nor turn them up to pray.
[Sidenote: The curse is finally expiated.]
And now this spell was snapt: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen— 445
Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows, a frightful fiend 450 Doth close behind him tread.
But soon there breathed a wind on me, Nor sound nor motion made: Its path was not upon the sea, In ripple or in shade. 455
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek Like a meadow-gale of spring— It mingled strangely with my fears, Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, 460 Yet she sailed softly too: Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze— On me alone it blew.
[Sidenote: And the ancient Mariner beholdeth his native country.]
Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed The light-house top I see? 465 Is this the hill? is this the kirk? Is this mine own countree?
We drifted o'er the harbor-bar, And I with sobs did pray— O let me be awake, my God! 470 Or let me sleep alway.
The harbor-bay was clear as glass, So smoothly it was strewn! And on the bay the moonlight lay, And the shadow of the Moon. 475
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less, That stands above the rock: The moonlight steeped in silentness The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent light 480 Till rising from the same,
[Sidenote: The angelic spirits leave the dead bodies,]
Full many shapes, that shadows were, In crimson colors came.
[Sidenote: And appear in their own forms of light.]
A little distance from the prow Those crimson shadows were: 485 I turned my eyes upon the deck— Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat, And, by the holy rood! A man all light, a seraph-man, 490 On every corse there stood.
This seraph-band, each waved his hand: It was a heavenly sight! They stood as signals to the land, Each one a lovely light; 495
This seraph-band, each waved his hand, No voice did they impart— No voice; but oh! the silence sank Like music on my heart.
But soon I heard the dash of oars, 500 I heard the Pilot's cheer; My head was turned perforce away, And I saw a boat appear.
The Pilot and the Pilot's boy, I heard them coming fast: 505 Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy The dead men could not blast.
I saw a third—I heard his voice: It is the Hermit good! He singeth loud his godly hymns 510 That he makes in the wood. He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away The Albatross's blood.
[Sidenote: The Hermit of the Wood,]
This Hermit good lives in that wood Which slopes down to the sea. 515 How loudly his sweet voice he rears! He loves to talk with marineres That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve— He hath a cushion plump: 520 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, 525 That signal made but now?'
[Sidenote: Approacheth the ship with wonder.]
'Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said— 'And they answered not our cheer! The planks looked warped! and see those sails, How thin they are and sere! 530 I never saw aught like to them, Unless perchance it were
Brown skeletons of leaves that lag My forest-brook along; When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow, 535 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!' 540 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. 545
[Sidenote: 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.
[Sidenote: The ancient Mariner is saved in the Pilot's boat.]
Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound, 550 Which sky and ocean smote, Like one that hath been seven days drowned My body lay afloat; But swift as dreams, myself I found Within the Pilot's boat. 555
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.
I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked 560 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, 565 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, 570 I stood on the firm land! The Hermit stepped forth from the boat, And scarcely he could stand.
[Sidenote: The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrieve him; and the penance of life falls on him.]
'O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!' The Hermit crossed his brow. 575 'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say— What manner of man art thou?'
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched With a woful agony, Which forced me to begin my tale; 580 And then it left me free.
[Sidenote: And ever and anon throughout his future life an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land,]
Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns. 585
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. 590
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, 595 Which biddeth me to prayer!
O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been Alone on a wide, wide sea: So lonely 't was, that God himself Scarce seemed there to be. 600
O sweeter than the marriage-feast, 'T is sweeter far to me, To walk together to the kirk With a goodly company!—
To walk together to the kirk, 605 And all together pray, While each to his great Father bends, Old men, and babes, and loving friends And youths and maidens gay!
[Sidenote: And to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.]
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell 610 To thee, thou Wedding-Guest! He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small; 615 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 620 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. 625
PART THE FIRST
'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, And the owls have awakened the crowing cock. Tu—whit!——Tu—whoo! And hark, again! the crowing cock, How drowsily it crew. 5
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich, Hath a toothless mastiff, which From her kennel beneath the rock Maketh answer to the clock, Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour; 10 Ever and aye, by shine and shower, Sixteen short howls, not over loud; Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.
Is the night chilly and dark? The night is chilly, but not dark. 15 The thin gray cloud is spread on high, It covers but not hides the sky. The moon is behind, and at the full; And yet she looks both small and dull. The night is chill, the cloud is gray: 20 'T is a month before the month of May, And the Spring comes slowly up this way.
The lovely lady, Christabel, Whom her father loves so well, What makes her in the wood so late, 25 A furlong from the castle gate? She had dreams all yesternight Of her own betrothed knight; And she in the midnight wood will pray For the weal of her lover that's far away. 30
She stole along, she nothing spoke, The sighs she heaved were soft and low, And naught was green upon the oak But moss and rarest mistletoe: She kneels beneath the huge oak tree, 35 And in silence prayeth she.
The lady sprang up suddenly, The lovely lady, Christabel! It moaned as near, as near can be, But what it is she cannot tell.— 40 On the other side it seems to be, Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.
The night is chill; the forest bare; Is it the wind that moaneth bleak? There is not wind enough in the air 45 To move away the ringlet curl From the lovely lady's cheek— There is not wind enough to twirl The one red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can, 50 Hanging so light, and hanging so high, On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
Hush, beating heart of Christabel! Jesu, Maria, shield her well! She folded her arms beneath her cloak, 55 And stole to the other side of the oak. What sees she there?
There she sees a damsel bright, Drest in a silken robe of white, That shadowy in the moonlight shone: 60 The neck that made that white robe wan, Her stately neck, and arms were bare; Her blue-veined feet unsandal'd were, And wildly glittered here and there The gems entangled in her hair. 65 I guess, 'twas frightful there to see A lady so richly clad as she— Beautiful exceedingly!
"Mary mother, save me now!" Said Christabel, "And who art thou?" 70
The lady strange made answer meet, And her voice was faint and sweet:— "Have pity on my sore distress, I scarce can speak for weariness: Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!" 75 Said Christabel, "How camest thou here?" And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet, Did thus pursue her answer meet:—
"My sire is of a noble line, And my name is Geraldine: 80 Five warriors seized me yestermorn, Me, even me, a maid forlorn: They choked my cries with force and fright, And tied me on a palfrey white. The palfrey was as fleet as wind, 85 And they rode furiously behind. They spurred amain, their steeds were white: And once we crossed the shade of night. As sure as Heaven shall rescue me, I have no thought what men they be; 90 Nor do I know how long it is (For I have lain entranced I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five, Took me from the palfrey's back, A weary woman, scarce alive. 95 Some muttered words his comrades spoke: He placed me underneath this oak; He swore they would return with haste; Whither they went I cannot tell— I thought I heard, some minutes past, 100 Sounds as of a castle bell. Stretch forth thy hand," thus ended she, "And help a wretched maid to flee."
Then Christabel stretched forth her hand, And comforted fair Geraldine: 105 "O well, bright dame! may you command The service of Sir Leoline; And gladly our stout chivalry Will he send forth and friends withal To guide and guard you safe and free 110 Home to your noble father's hall."
She rose: and forth with steps they passed That strove to be, and were not, fast. Her gracious stars the lady blest, And thus spake on sweet Christabel: 115 "All our household are at rest, The hall as silent as the cell; Sir Leoline is weak in health, And may not well awakened be, But we will move as if in stealth, 120 And I beseech your courtesy, This night, to share your couch with me."
They crossed the moat, and Christabel Took the key that fitted well; A little door she opened straight, 125 All in the middle of the gate; The gate that was ironed within and without, Where an army in battle array had marched out. The lady sank, belike through pain, And Christabel with might and main 130 Lifted her up, a weary weight, Over the threshold of the gate: Then the lady rose again, And moved, as she were not in pain.
So free from danger, free from fear, 135 They crossed the court: right glad they were. And Christabel devoutly cried To the lady by her side, "Praise we the Virgin all divine Who hath rescued thee from thy distress!" 140 "Alas, alas!" said Geraldine, "I cannot speak for weariness." So free from danger, free from fear, They crossed the court: right glad they were.
Outside her kennel, the mastiff old 145 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? Never till now she uttered yell 150 Beneath the eye of Christabel. Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch: For what can ail the mastiff bitch?
They passed the hall, that echoes still, Pass as lightly as you will! 155 The brands were flat, the brands were dying, Amid their own white ashes lying; But when the lady passed, there came A tongue of light, a fit of flame; And Christabel saw the lady's eye, 160 And nothing else saw she thereby, Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall, Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall. "O softly tread," said Christabel, "My father seldom sleepeth well." 165
Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare, And jealous of the listening air They steal their way from stair to stair, Now in glimmer, and now in gloom, And now they pass the Baron's room, 170 As still as death, with stifled breath And now have reached her chamber door; And now doth Geraldine press down The rushes of the chamber floor.
The moon shines dim in the open air, 175 And not a moonbeam enters here. But they without its light can see The chamber carved so curiously, Carved with figures strange and sweet, All made out of the carver's brain, 180 For a lady's chamber meet: The lamp with twofold silver chain Is fastened to an angel's feet.
The silver lamp burns dead and dim; But Christabel the lamp will trim. 185 She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright, And left it swinging to and fro, While Geraldine, in wretched plight, Sank down upon the floor below.
"O weary lady, Geraldine, 190 I pray you, drink this cordial wine! It is a wine of virtuous powers; My mother made it of wild flowers."
"And will your mother pity me, Who am a maiden most forlorn? 195 Christabel answered—"Woe is me! She died the hour that I was born. I have heard the gray-haired friar tell How on her death-bed she did say, That she should hear the castle-bell 200 Strike twelve upon my wedding-day. O mother dear! that thou wert here!" "I would," said Geraldine, "she were!"
But soon with altered voice, said she— "Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine! 205 I have power to bid thee flee." Alas! what ails poor Geraldine? Why stares she with unsettled eye? Can she the bodiless dead espy? And why with hollow voice cries she, 210 "Off, woman, off! this hour is mine— Though thou her guardian spirit be, Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me."
Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side, And raised to heaven her eyes so blue— 215 "Alas!" said she, "this ghastly ride— Dear lady! it hath wildered you!" The lady wiped her moist cold brow, And faintly said, "'Tis over now!"
Again the wild-flower wine she drank: 220 Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright, And from the floor whereon she sank, The lofty lady stood upright: She was most beautiful to see, Like a lady of a far countree. 225 And thus the lofty lady spake— "All they who live in the upper sky, Do love you, holy Christabel! And you love them, and for their sake And for the good which me befell, 230 Even I in my degree will try, Fair maiden, to requite you well. But now unrobe yourself; for I Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie."
Quoth Christabel, "So let it be!" 235 And as the lady bade, did she. Her gentle limbs did she undress, And lay down in her loveliness.
But through her brain of weal and woe So many thoughts moved to and fro, 240 That vain it were her lids to close; So half-way from the bed she rose, And on her elbow did recline To look at the Lady Geraldine.
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed, 245 And slowly rolled her eyes around; Then drawing in her breath aloud, Like one that shuddered, she unbound The cincture from beneath her breast: Her silken robe, and inner vest, 250 Dropt to her feet, and full in view, Behold! her bosom and half her side— A sight to dream of, not to tell! O shield her! shield sweet Christabel!
Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs; 255 Ah! what a stricken look was hers! Deep from within she seems half-way To lift some weight with sick assay, And eyes the maid and seeks delay; Then suddenly, as one defied, 260 Collects herself in scorn and pride, And lay down by the Maiden's side!— And in her arms the maid she took, Ah wel-a-day! And with low voice and doleful look 265 These words did say: "In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell, Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel! Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow, This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow; 270 But vainly thou warrest, For this is alone in Thy power to declare, That in the dim forest Thou heard'st a low moaning, 275 And found'st 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."
THE CONCLUSION TO PART THE FIRST
It was a lovely sight to see The lady Christabel, when she 280 Was praying at the old oak tree. Amid the jagged shadows Of mossy leafless boughs, Kneeling in the moonlight, To make her gentle vows; 285 Her slender palms together prest, Heaving sometimes on her breast; Her face resigned to bliss or bale— Her face, oh call it fair not pale, And both blue eyes more bright than clear, 290 Each about to have a tear.
With open eyes (ah woe is me!) Asleep, and dreaming fearfully, Fearfully dreaming, yet, I wis, Dreaming that alone, which is— 295 O sorrow and shame! Can this be she, The lady, who knelt at the old oak tree? And lo! the worker of these harms, That holds the maiden in her arms, Seems to slumber still and mild, 300 As a mother with her child.
A star hath set, a star hath risen, O Geraldine! since arms of thine Have been the lovely lady's prison. O Geraldine! one hour was thine— 305 Thou 'st had thy will! By tairn and rill, The night-birds all that hour were still. But now they are jubilant anew, From cliff and tower, tu—whoo! tu—whoo! Tu—whoo! tu—whoo! from wood and fell! 310
And see! the lady Christabel Gathers herself from out her trance; Her limbs relax, her countenance Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids Close o'er her eyes; and tears she sheds— 315 Large tears that leave the lashes bright! And oft the while she seems to smile As infants at a sudden light!
Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep, Like a youthful hermitess, 320 Beauteous in a wilderness, Who, praying always, prays in sleep. And, if she move unquietly, Perchance, 'tis but the blood so free Comes back and tingles in her feet. 325 No doubt, she hath a vision sweet. What if her guardian spirit 'twere, What if she knew her mother near? But this she knows, in joys and woes, That saints will aid if men will call: 330 For the blue sky bends over all!
PART THE SECOND
"Each matin bell," the Baron saith, "Knells us back to a world of death." These words Sir Leoline first said, When he rose and found his lady dead: 335 These words Sir Leoline will say Many a morn to his dying day!
And hence the custom and law began That still at dawn the sacristan, Who duly pulls the heavy bell, 340 Five and forty beads must tell Between each stroke—a warning knell, Which not a soul can choose but hear From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.
Saith Bracy the bard, "So let it knell! 345 And let the drowsy sacristan Still count as slowly as he can! There is no lack of such, I ween, As well fill up the space between. In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair, 350 And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent, With ropes of rock and bells of air Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent, Who all give back, one after t' other, The death-note to their living brother; 355 And oft too, by the knell offended, Just as their one! two! three! is ended, The devil mocks the doleful tale With a merry peal from Borrowdale."
The air is still! through mist and cloud 360 That merry peal comes ringing loud; And Geraldine shakes off her dread, And rises lightly from the bed; Puts on her silken vestments white, And tricks her hair in lovely plight, 365 And nothing doubting of her spell Awakens the lady Christabel. "Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel? I trust that you have rested well."
And Christabel awoke and spied 370 The same who lay down by her side— O rather say, the same whom she Raised up beneath the old oak tree! Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair! For she belike hath drunken deep 375 Of all the blessedness of sleep! And while she spake, her looks, her air, Such gentle thankfulness declare, That (so it seemed) her girded vests Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts. 380 "Sure I have sinn'd!" said Christabel, "Now heaven be praised if all be well!" And in low faltering tones, yet sweet, Did she the lofty lady greet With such perplexity of mind 385 As dreams too lively leave behind.
So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed Her maiden limbs, and having prayed That He, who on the cross did groan, Might wash away her sins unknown, 390 She forthwith led fair Geraldine To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
The lovely maid and the lady tall Are pacing both into the hall, And pacing on through page and groom, 395 Enter the Baron's presence-room.
The Baron rose, and while he prest His gentle daughter to his breast, With cheerful wonder in his eyes The lady Geraldine espies, 400 And gave such welcome to the same, As might beseem so bright a dame!
But when he heard the lady's tale, And when she told her father's name, Why waxed Sir Leoline so pale, 405 Murmuring o'er the name again, Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?
Alas! they had been friends in youth; But whispering tongues can poison truth; And constancy lives in realms above; 410 And life is thorny; and youth is vain; And to be wroth with one we love Doth work like madness in the brain. And thus it chanced, as I divine, With Roland and Sir Leoline. 415 Each spake words of high disdain And insult to his heart's best brother: They parted—ne'er to meet again! But never either found another To free the hollow heart from paining— 420 They stood aloof, the scars remaining, Like cliffs which had been rent asunder; A dreary sea now flows between. But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, Shall wholly do away, I ween, 425 The marks of that which once hath been.
Sir Leoline, a moment's space, Stood gazing on the damsel's face: And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine Came back upon his heart again. 430
O then the Baron forgot his age, His noble heart swelled high with rage; He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side He would proclaim it far and wide, With trump and solemn heraldry, 435 That they, who thus had wronged the dame Were base as spotted infamy! "And if they dare deny the same, My herald shall appoint a week, And let the recreant traitors seek 440 My tourney court—that there and then I may dislodge their reptile souls From the bodies and forms of men!" He spake: his eye in lightning rolls! For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenned 445 In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!
And now the tears were on his face, And fondly in his arms he took Fair Geraldine, who met the embrace, Prolonging it with joyous look. 450 Which when she viewed, a vision fell Upon the soul of Christabel, The vision of fear, the touch and pain! She shrunk and shuddered, and saw again— (Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee, 455 Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?)
Again she saw that bosom old, Again she felt that bosom cold, And drew in her breath with a hissing sound: Whereat the Knight turned wildly round, 460 And nothing saw, but his own sweet maid With eyes upraised, as one that prayed.
The touch, the sight, had passed away, And in its stead that vision blest, Which comforted her after-rest, 465 While in the lady's arms she lay, Had put a rapture in her breast, And on her lips and o'er her eyes Spread smiles like light! With new surprise, "What ails then my beloved child?" 470 The Baron said—His daughter mild Made answer, "All will yet be well!" I ween, she had no power to tell Aught else: so mighty was the spell.
Yet he, who saw this Geraldine, 475 Had deemed her sure a thing divine. Such sorrow with such grace she blended, As if she feared she had offended Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid! And with such lowly tones she prayed 480 She might be sent without delay Home to her father's mansion. "Nay! Nay, by my soul!" said Leoline. "Ho! Bracy the bard, the charge be thine! Go thou, with music sweet and loud, 485 And take two steeds with trappings proud, And take the youth whom thou lov'st best To bear thy harp, and learn thy song, And clothe you both in solemn vest, And over the mountains haste along, 490 Lest wandering folk, that are abroad, Detain you on the valley road.
"And when he has crossed the Irthing flood, My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth Wood, 495 And reaches soon that castle good Which stands and threatens Scotland's wastes.
"Bard Bracy! bard Bracy! your horses are fleet, Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet, More loud than your horses' echoing feet! 500 And loud and loud to Lord Roland call, 'Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall! Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free— Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me. He bids thee come without delay 505 With all thy numerous array And take thy lovely daughter home: And he will meet thee on the way With all his numerous array White with their panting palfreys' foam': 510 And, by mine honour! I will say, That I repent me of the day When I spake words of fierce disdain To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine!— —For since that evil hour hath flown, 515 Many a summer's sun hath shone; Yet ne'er found I a friend again Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine."
The lady fell, and clasped his knees, Her face upraised, her eyes o'erflowing; 520 And Bracy replied, with faltering voice, His gracious hail on all bestowing; "Thy words, thou sire of Christabel, Are sweeter than my harp can tell; Yet might I gain a boon of thee, 525 This day my journey should not be, So strange a dream hath come to me; That I had vowed with music loud To clear yon wood from thing unblest, Warned by a vision in my rest! 530 For in my sleep I saw that dove, That gentle bird, whom thou dost love, And call'st by thy own daughter's name— Sir Leoline! I saw the same, Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan, 535 Among the green herbs in the forest alone. Which when I saw and when I heard, I wondered what might ail the bird; For nothing near it could I see, Save the grass and green herbs underneath the old tree. 540
"And in my dream, methought, I went To search out what might there be found; And what the sweet bird's trouble meant, That thus lay fluttering on the ground. I went and peered, and could descry 545 No cause for her distressful cry; But yet for her dear lady's sake I stooped, methought, the dove to take, When lo! I saw a bright green snake Coiled around its wings and neck. 550 Green as the herbs on which it couched, Close by the dove's its head it crouched; And with the dove it heaves and stirs, Swelling its neck as she swelled hers! I woke; it was the midnight hour, 555 The clock was echoing in the tower; But though my slumber was gone by, This dream it would not pass away— It seems to live upon my eye! And thence I vowed this self-same day 560 With music strong and saintly song To wander through the forest bare, Lest aught unholy loiter there."
Thus Bracy said: the Baron, the while, Half-listening heard him with a smile; 565 Then turned to Lady Geraldine, His eyes made up of wonder and love; And said in courtly accents fine, "Sweet maid, Lord Roland's beauteous dove, With arms more strong than harp or song, 570 Thy sire and I will crush the snake!" He kissed her forehead as he spake, And Geraldine in maiden wise Casting down her large bright eyes, With blushing cheek and courtesy fine 575 She turned her from Sir Leoline; Softly gathering up her train, That o'er her right arm fell again; And folded her arms across her chest, And couched her head upon her breast, 580 And looked askance at Christabel— Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy, And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head, Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye, 585 And with somewhat of malice, and more of dread, At Christabel she looked askance!— One moment—and the sight was fled! But Christabel in dizzy trance Stumbling on the unsteady ground 590 Shuddered aloud, with a hissing sound; And Geraldine again turned round, And like a thing, that sought relief, Full of wonder and full of grief, She rolled her large bright eyes divine 595 Wildly on Sir Leoline.
The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone, She nothing sees—no sight but one! The maid, devoid of guile and sin, I know not how, in fearful wise, 600 So deeply had she drunken in That look, those shrunken serpent eyes, That all her features were resigned To this sole image in her mind: And passively did imitate 605 That look of dull and treacherous hate! And thus she stood, in dizzy trance, Still picturing that look askance With forced unconscious sympathy Full before her father's view— 610 As far as such a look could be In eyes so innocent and blue!
And when the trance was o'er, the maid Paused awhile, and inly prayed: Then falling at the Baron's feet, 615 "By my mother's soul, do I entreat That thou this woman send away!" She said: and more she could not say: For what she knew she could not tell, O'er-mastered by the mighty spell. 620
Why is thy cheek so wan and wild, Sir Leoline? Thy only child Lies at thy feet, thy joy, thy pride, So fair, so innocent, so mild; The same, for whom thy lady died! 625 O, by the pangs of her dear mother Think thou no evil of thy child! For her, and thee, and for no other, She prayed the moment ere she died: Prayed that the babe for whom she died, 630 Might prove her dear lord's joy and pride! That prayer her deadly pangs beguiled, Sir Leoline! And wouldst thou wrong thy only child, Her child and thine? 635
Within the Baron's heart and brain If thoughts, like these, had any share, They only swelled his rage and pain, And did but work confusion there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage, 640 His cheeks they quivered, his eyes were wild, Dishonoured thus in his old age; Dishonour'd by his only child, And all his hospitality To the insulted daughter of his friend 645 By more than woman's jealousy Brought thus to a disgraceful end— He rolled his eye with stern regard Upon the gentle minstrel bard, And said in tones abrupt, austere— 650 "Why, Bracy! dost thou loiter here? I bade thee hence!" The bard obeyed; And turning from his own sweet maid, The aged knight, Sir Leoline, Led forth the lady Geraldine! 655
THE CONCLUSION TO PART THE SECOND
A little child, a limber elf, Singing, dancing to itself, A fairy thing with red round cheeks, That always finds, and never seeks, Makes such a vision to the sight 660 As fills a father's eyes with light; And pleasures flow in so thick and fast Upon his heart, that he at last Must needs express his love's excess With words of unmeant bitterness. 665 Perhaps 'tis pretty to force together Thoughts so all unlike each other; To mutter and mock a broken charm, To dally with wrong that does no harm. Perhaps 'tis tender too and pretty 670 At each wild word to feel within A sweet recoil of love and pity. And what, if in a world of sin (O sorrow and shame should this be true!) Such giddiness of heart and brain 675 Comes seldom save from rage and pain, So talks as it's most used to do.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. 5 So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, 10 Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted 15 By woman wailing for her demon-lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst 20 Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion 25 Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! 30
The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, 35 A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, 40 Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me. Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, 45 I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! 50 Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love, And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I 5 Live o'er again that happy hour, When midway on the mount I lay, Beside the ruined tower.
The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene, Had blended with the lights of eve; 10 And she was there, my hope, my joy, My own dear Genevieve!
She leant against the armed man, The statue of the armed knight; She stood and listened to my lay, 15 Amid the lingering light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own. My hope! my joy! my Genevieve! She loves me best, whene'er I sing The songs that make her grieve. 20
I played a soft and doleful air, I sang an old and moving story— An old rude song, that suited well That ruin wild and hoary.
She listened with a flitting blush, 25 With downcast eyes and modest grace; For well she knew, I could not choose But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore Upon his shield a burning brand; 30 And that for ten long years he wooed The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pined: and ah! The deep, the low, the pleading tone With which I sang another's love, 35 Interpreted my own.
She listened with a flitting blush, With downcast eyes, and modest grace And she forgave me, that I gazed Too fondly on her face! 40
But when I told the cruel scorn That crazed that bold and lovely Knight, And that he crossed the mountain-woods, Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage den, 45 And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once In green and sunny glade,—
There came and looked him in the face An angel beautiful and bright; 50 And that he knew it was a Fiend, This miserable Knight!
And that unknowing what he did, He leaped amid a murderous band, And saved from outrage worse than death 55 The Lady of the Land!
And how she wept, and clasped his knees; And how she tended him in vain— And ever strove to expiate The scorn that crazed his brain;— 60
And that she nursed him in a cave; And how his madness went away, When on the yellow forest-leaves A dying man he lay;—
His dying words—but when I reached 65 That tenderest strain of all the ditty, My faltering voice and pausing harp Disturbed her soul with pity!
All impulses of soul and sense Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve; 70 The music and the doleful tale, The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope, An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued, 75 Subdued and cherished long!
She wept with pity and delight, She blushed with love, and virgin-shame; And like the murmur of a dream, I heard her breathe my name. 80
Her bosom heaved—she stepped aside, As conscious of my look she stepped— Then suddenly, with timorous eye She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms, 85 She pressed me with a meek embrace; And bending back her head, looked up, And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear, And partly 'twas a bashful art, 90 That I might rather feel, than see, The swelling of her heart.
I calmed her fears, and she was calm, And told her love with virgin pride; And so I won my Genevieve, 95 My bright and beauteous Bride.
FRANCE: AN ODE
Ye Clouds! that far above me float and pause, Whose pathless march no mortal may control! Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll, Yield homage only to eternal laws! Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing, 5 Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined, Save when your own imperious branches swinging, Have made a solemn music of the wind! Where, like a man beloved of God, Through glooms, which never woodman trod, 10 How oft, pursuing fancies holy, My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound, Inspired, beyond the guess of folly, By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound! O ye loud Waves! and O ye Forests high! 15 And O ye Clouds that far above me soared! Thou rising Sun! thou blue rejoicing Sky! Yea, every thing that is and will be free! Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be, With what deep worship I have still adored 20 The spirit of divinest Liberty.
When France in wrath her giant-limbs upreared, And with that oath, which smote air, earth, and sea, Stamped her strong foot and said she would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and feared! 25
With what a joy my lofty gratulation Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band: And when to whelm the disenchanted nation, Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand, The Monarchs marched in evil day, 30 And Britain joined the dire array; Though dear her shores and circling ocean, Though many friendships, many youthful loves Had swoln the patriot emotion And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves; 35 Yet still my voice, unaltered, sang defeat To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, And shame too long delayed and vain retreat! For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim I dimmed thy light or damped thy holy flame; 40 But blessed the paeans of delivered France, And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
"And what," I said, "though Blasphemy's loud scream With that sweet music of deliverance strove! Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove 45 A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream! Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The Sun was rising, though ye hid his light!" And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright; 50 When France her front deep-scarred and gory Concealed with clustering wreaths of glory; When, insupportably advancing, Her arm made mockery of the warrior's ramp; While timid looks of fury glancing, 55 Domestic treason, crushed beneath her fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore; Then I reproached my fears that would not flee; "And soon," I said, "shall Wisdom teach her lore In the low huts of them that toil and groan! 60 And, conquering by her happiness alone, Shall France compel the nations to be free, Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth their own."
Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams! I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, 65 From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent— I hear thy groans upon her blood-stained streams! Heroes, that for your peaceful country perished, And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows With bleeding wounds; forgive me, that I cherished 70 One thought that ever blessed your cruel foes! To scatter rage and traitorous guilt Where Peace her jealous home had built; A patriot-race to disinherit Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear; 75 And with inexpiable spirit To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer— O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, And patriot only in pernicious toils! Are these thy boasts, Champion of human kind? 80 To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway, Tell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?
The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, 85 Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game They burst their manacles and wear the name Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain! O Liberty! with profitless endeavour Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; 90 But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power.
Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee, (Nor prayer, nor boastful name delays thee) Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, 95 And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the waves! And there I felt thee!—on that sea-cliff's verge, Whose pines, scarce travelled by the breeze above, 100 Had made one murmur with the distant surge! Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, And shot my being through earth, sea and air, Possessing all things with intensest love, O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there. 105
DEJECTION: AN ODE
WRITTEN APRIL 4, 1802
Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon, With the old Moon in her arms; And I fear, I fear, my Master dear! We shall have a deadly storm.
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence.
Well! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy flakes, 5 Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and rakes Upon the strings of this Aeolian lute, Which better far were mute. For lo! the New-moon winter-bright! And overspread with phantom light, 10 (With swimming phantom light o'erspread But rimmed and circled by a silver thread) I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling The coming-on of rain and squally blast. And oh! that even now the gust were swelling, 15 And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast! Those sounds which oft have raised me, whilst they awed, And sent my soul abroad, Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give, Might startle this dull pain, and make it move so and live! 20
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, In word, or sigh, or tear— O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood, 25 To other thoughts by yonder throstle wooed, All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky, And its peculiar tint of yellow green: And still I gaze—and with how blank an eye! 30 And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motion to the stars; Those stars, that glide behind them or between, Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen: Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it grew 35 In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; I see them all so excellently fair, I see, not feel, how beautiful they are!
My genial spirits fail; And what can these avail 40 To lift the smothering weight from off my breast? It were a vain endeavour, Though I should gaze for ever On that green light that lingers in the west: I may not hope from outward forms to win 45 The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
O Lady! we receive but what we give, And in our life alone does Nature live: Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud! And would we aught behold, of higher worth. 50
Than that inanimate cold world allowed To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, Ah, from the soul itself must issue forth A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud Enveloping the Earth— 55 And from the soul itself must there be sent A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element!
O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me What this strong music in the soul may be! 60 What, and wherein it doth exist, This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist, This beautiful and beauty-making power. Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given, Save to the pure, and in their purest hour, 65 Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once and shower, Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power, Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower, A new Earth and new Heaven, Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud— 70 Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud— We in ourselves rejoice! And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight, All melodies the echoes of that voice, All colours a suffusion from that light. 75
There was a time when, though my path was rough, This joy within me dallied with distress, And all misfortunes were but as the stuff Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness: For hope grew round me, like the twining vine, 80 And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine.
But now afflictions bow me down to earth: Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth; But oh! each visitation Suspends what nature gave me at my birth, 85 My shaping spirit of Imagination. For not to think of what I needs must feel, But to be still and patient, all I can; And haply by abstruse research to steal From my own nature all the natural man— 90 This was my sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind, Reality's dark dream! 95 I turn from you, and listen to the wind, Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream Of agony by torture lengthened out That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that rav'st without, Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted tree, 100 Or pine-grove whither woodman never clomb, Or lonely house, long held the witches' home, Methinks were fitter instruments for thee, Mad Lutanist! who in this month of showers, Of dark-brown gardens, and of peeping flowers, 105 Mak'st Devils' yule, with worse than wintry song, The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves among. Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds! Thou mighty Poet, even to frenzy bold! What tell'st thou now about? 110 'Tis of the rushing of an host in rout, With groans of trampled men, with smarting wounds— At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold!
But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence! And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd, 115 With groans, and tremulous shudderings—all is over— It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud! A tale of less affright, And tempered with delight, As Otway's self had framed the tender lay, 120 'Tis of a little child Upon a lonesome wild, Not far from home, but she hath lost her way: And now moans low in bitter grief and fear, And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear. 125
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep: Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep! Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing, And may this storm be but a mountain-birth, May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling, 130 Silent as though they watched the sleeping Earth! With light heart may she rise, Gay fancy, cheerful eyes, Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her voice; To her may all things live, from pole to pole, 135 Their life the eddying of her living soul! O simple spirit, guided from above, Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice, Thus mayest thou ever, evermore rejoice.
YOUTH AND AGE
Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying, Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee— Both were mine! Life went a-maying With Nature, Hope, and Poesy, When I was young! 5
When I was young?—Ah, woful When! Ah! for the change 'twixt Now and Then! This breathing house not built with hands, This body that does me grievous wrong, O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands, 10 How lightly then it flashed along:— Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore, On winding lakes and rivers wide, That ask no aid of sail or oar, That fear no spite of wind or tide! 15 Nought cared this body for wind or weather When Youth and I lived in 't together.
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like; Friendship is a sheltering tree; O! the joys, that came down shower-like, 20 Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty, Ere I was old!
Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere, Which tells me Youth 's no longer here! O Youth! for years so many and sweet, 25 'Tis known, that thou and I were one, I'll think it but a fond conceit— It cannot be that thou art gone! Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled:— And thou wert aye a masker bold! 30 What strange disguise hast now put on, To make believe, that thou art gone? I see these locks in silvery slips, This drooping gait, this altered size: But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips, 35 And tears take sunshine from thine eyes! Life is but thought: so think I will That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning, But the tears of mournful eve! 40 Where no hope is, life 's a warning That only serves to make us grieve, When we are old: That only serves to make us grieve With oft and tedious taking-leave, 45 Like some poor nigh-related guest, That may not rudely be dismist; Yet hath outstayed his welcome while, And tells the jest without the smile.
WORK WITHOUT HOPE
LINES COMPOSED 21ST FEBRUARY 1827
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair— The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing— And Winter slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring! And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, 5 Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow. Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away! 10 With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll: And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul? Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.
Stop, Christian passer-by!—Stop, child of God, And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod A poet lies, or that which once seemed he.— O, lift one thought in prayer for S.T.C.; That he who many a year with toil of breath 5 Found death in life, may here find life in death! Mercy for praise—to be forgiven for fame He ask'd, and hoped, through Christ. Do thou the same!
THE ANCIENT MARINER
The Latin motto is condensed, by omission, from about a page of Thomas Burnet's Archaeologiae Philosophicae: sive Doctrina Antiqua de Rerum Originibus, published in London in 1692. Burnet was Master of Charterhouse from 1685 till his death in 1715, and enjoyed considerable reputation as a man of curious learning. In the Archaeologiae he professed to reconcile a former work of his on the origins of the world with the account given in Genesis. The quotation is from chapter VII. of book I., "De Hebraeis, eorumque Cabala," and may be translated thus: "I easily believe that the invisible natures in the universe are more in number than the visible. But who shall tell us all the kinds of them? the ranks and relationships, the peculiar qualities and gifts of each? what they do? where they dwell? Man's wit has ever been circling about the knowledge of these things, but has never attained to it. Yet in the meanwhile I will not deny that it is profitable to contemplate from time to time in the mind, as in a picture, the idea of a larger and better world; lest the mind, becoming wonted to the little things of everyday life, grow narrow and settle down altogether to mean businesses. At the same time, however, we must watch for the truth, and observe method, so as to distinguish the certain from the uncertain, day from night."
Instead of this motto the first edition had an Argument prefixed, as follows:
"How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country."
This was somewhat enlarged in the second edition (1800), and dropped thereafter.
*Page 3*, LINE 12—*eftsoons*. Anglo-Saxon eftsona (eft afterwards, again, + sona soon), reenforced by the adverbial genitive ending -s. Coleridge found the word in Spenser and the old ballads.
4, 23—*kirk*. The Scotch and Northern English form of "church." The old ballads had been preserved chiefly in the North; hence this Northern form came to be looked on as the proper word for church in the ballad style.
41, marginal gloss—*driven*. All editions down to Campbell's had "drawn;" but this he believes to have been a misprint, since the narrative seems to require "driven."
5, 55—*clifts*. This word arose from a confusion of "cliff," a precipice, and "cleft," a fissure. It was "exceedingly common in the 16th-18th cent.," according to the New English Dict., which gives examples from Captain John Smith, Marlowe, and Defoe.
62—*swound*. An archaic form of "swoon," found in Elizabethan English.
64—*thorough*. "Through" and "thorough" are originally the same word, and in Shakespeare's time both forms were used for the preposition. Cf. Puck's song in "Midsummer Night's Dream," "Thorough bush, thorough briar."
67—*eat*. This form (pronounced et) is still in use in England and New England for the past tense of the verb, though in America the form "ate" is now preferred. "Eat" as past participle, however, was archaic or rude even in Coleridge's time.
76—*vespers*. Properly a liturgical term, meaning the daily evening service in church; then in a more general way "evening." The Century Dict. gives no examples of its use as a nautical term. Probably Coleridge used it to give a suggestion of ante-Reformation times. The more familiar word for the evening service in the English Church is "even-song," but Coleridge in line 595 prefers "the little vesper bell" for its suggestion of medievalism.
6, 97—*like God's own head*. The comparison is the converse of that in the Bible, Matthew xvii., 2, Revelations I., 16, where the countenance of Christ glorified is said to shine "as the sun" (Sykes).
98—*uprist*. This word was used in Middle English as a noun, and regularly as the 3d pers. sing. pres. ind. of the verb "uprise." In "The Reves Tale" line 329, however, Chaucer uses, it in a context of past tenses, as Coleridge does here, as if it were a weak preterit; and Chaucer uses "rist up" in the same way several times (Sykes).
104—*The furrow followed free*. This was changed in "Sibylline Leaves" to "The furrow streamed off free," because, Coleridge tells us, "from the ship itself the Wake appears like a brook flowing off from the stern." In the case of modern steamboats at least it would be more correct to say that the wake, as seen from the stern of the boat, looks like a brook following the boat. The original reading was restored in the editions of 1828 and 1829.
7, 123—*The very deep did rot*, etc. The ship becalmed in tropic seas, and the slimy things engendered there, were a vision in Coleridge's mind before "The Ancient Mariner" was thought of. In the lines contributed to Southey's "Joan of Arc" in 1796 (published, with additions, as "The Destiny of Nations" in "Sibylline Leaves"), in an allegoric passage on Chaos and Love, he wrote:
"As what time, after long and pestful calms, With slimy shapes and miscreated life Poisoning the vast Pacific, the fresh breeze Wakens the merchant sail uprising."
The same subject had occupied Wordsworth's imagination before he and Coleridge came together at Stowey; see Wordsworth's "The Borderers," Act iv.
125—*slimy things*. Strange creatures, the spawn of the rotting sea, for which the Mariner has no name.
131, marginal gloss—*Josephus, Michael Psellus*. The only "learned Jew, Josephus," that we know of is the historian of that name who lived in the first century of our era; but little has been found in his works to justify this reference. The "Platonic Constantinopolitan, Michael Psellus," was a Byzantine teacher of the eleventh century who wrote a dialogue in which demons are classified according to the element in which they live (Cooper; Sykes).
8, 152—*I wist*. "Wist" is properly the past tense of an old verb "wit," to know. But Coleridge seems to use "I wist" here as equivalent to "I wis" (see "Christabel," l. 92), which is a form of "iwis," an adverb meaning "certainly."
157—*with throats unslaked*, etc. A remarkable instance of onomatopoeia.
9, 164—*gramercy*. An exclamation, meaning originally "much thanks" (Old French grand merci), and so used by Shakespeare ("Merchant of Venice" II., 2, 128, "Richard III" III., 2, 108). But in the ballads it is often a mere exclamation of wonder and surprise, and so Coleridge uses it here,—*grin*. Coleridge says ("Table Talk" May 31, 1830): "I took the thought of 'grinning for joy' from my companion's remark to me, when we had climbed to the top of Plinlimmon [in Wales, in the summer of 1794], and were nearly dead with thirst. We could not speak from the constriction, till we found a little puddle under a stone. He said to me: 'You grinned like an idiot.' He had done the same." To "grin" was originally to snarl and show the teeth as animals do when angry. "They go to and fro in the evening: they grin like a dog, and run about through the city," Ps. LIX., 6, Prayer-Book Version, where the King James Version has "make a noise like a dog." Hence idiots, stupid people, foolish people, all who are or who demean themselves below the dignity of man, grin rather than smile; and so the Mariner's companions, their muscles stiffened by drought, could show their gladness only by the contortions of a grin, not by a natural smile of joy.
169—*Without a breeze, without a tide*. The Phantom Ship is a wide-spread sailor's superstition that has been often used in the romantic literature of the nineteenth century. See Scott's "Rokeby," Canto II. xi; Marryat's "Phantom Ship;" Poe's "MS. Found in a Bottle;" and Longfellow's "Ballad of Carmilhan" (in "Tales of a Wayside Inn," Second Day). It is seen in storms, driving by with all sails set, and is generally held to be an omen of disaster. Coleridge has shaped the legend to his own purposes. The ship appears in a calm, not in a storm, and sailing without, rather than against, wind and tide; and instead of a crew of dead men it carries only Death and Life-in-Death. Possibly he was acquainted with a form of the legend found in Bechstein's Deutsches Sagenbuch (pointed out by Dr. Sykes), in which "Falkenberg, for murder of his brother, is condemned to sail a spectral bark, attended only by his good and his evil spirit, who play dice for his soul."
185—*Are those her ribs*, etc. Instead of this stanza the first edition had these two:
"Are those her naked ribs, which fleck'd The sun that did behind them peer? And are those two all, all the crew, That woman and her fleshless Pheere?
"His bones are 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're patch'd with purple and green"
And again after line 198 the first edition had this stanza:
"A gust of wind sterte up behind And whistled thro' his bones; Thro' the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth Half-whistles and half-groans."
But this crude grotesquerie of horror—quite in the taste of that day, the day of "Monk" Lewis and Mrs. Radcliffe—Coleridge's finer poetical judgment soon rejected.
190—*Her lips were red*, etc. Life-in-Death—who wins the Mariner, while Death wins his shipmates—is conceived as a witch, something after the fashion of Geraldine in "Christabel" or Duessa in "The Faerie Queene," but wilder, stranger than either; a thing of startling and evil beauty. Spenser's pages of description, however, give no such vivid image of loathsome loveliness as do the first three lines of this stanza. "Her skin was as white as leprosy" is a feat in suggestion.
10, 199, marginal gloss—*within the courts of the Sun*. Between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
210—*with one bright star Within the nether tip*. An interesting case of poetical illusion. No one, of course, ever saw a star within the tip of the horned moon. Yet a good many readers, until reminded of their astronomy, think they have seen this phenomenon. Coleridge apparently knew that the human mind would receive it as experience. The phrase is no slip on his part; the earlier editions had instead "almost atween the tips," which is astronomically justifiable, but in "Sibylline Leaves" and later he wrote it as in the text.
222—*And every soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my cross-bow!* It was an ancient belief, imaginatively revived by romantic poets, that when a person died his soul could be seen, or heard, or both, as it left the body, Cf. Keats's "Eve of St. Agnes," first stanza; Rossetti's "Sister Helen;" and Kipling's "Danny Deever."
11, 226—*And thou art long*, etc. "For the last two lines of this stanza," runs. Coleridge's note to the passage in "Sibylline Leaves," "I am indebted to Mr. Wordsworth. It was on a delightful walk from Nether Stowey to Dulverton, with him and his sister, in the autumn of 1797, that this poem was planned, and in part composed." Wordsworth in later years declared that he contributed also lines 13-16, "and four or five lines more in different parts of the poem, which I could not now point out."
245—*or ever*. "Or" here is not the adversative conjunction but an entirely different word, an archaic variant of "ere," meaning "before."
250—*For the sky and the sea*, etc. Another instance of the sound fitting the sense. The rocking rhythm of the line is the rhythm of his fevered pulse. The poem is full of this quality.
13, 297—*silly*. This word meant in Old English timely (from soel, time, occasion) hence fortunate, blessed. From this was developed, under the influence of medieval religious teaching, the meaning innocent, harmless, simple; and from this again our modern meaning, foolish, simple in a derogatory sense. Chaucer has the word in all these meanings, and also in another, a modification of the second—wretched, pitiable. Another shade of the same meaning appears in Spenser's "silly bark," i.e. frail ship, and in Burns's "To a Mouse":
"Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'!"
"The epithet may be due either to the gush of love that has filled the Mariner's heart, or to his noticing the buckets, long useless, frail, now filled with water" (Sykes); very likely to both together.
14, 314—*fire-flags*. The notion of the "fire-flags" "hurried about" was probably suggested to Coleridge by the description of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in Hearne's "Journey ... to the Northern Ocean," a book printed in 1795 and known to both Wordsworth and Coleridge before 1798. Hearne says: "I can positively affirm that in still nights I have frequently heard them make a rustling and crackling noise, like the waving of a large flag in a fresh gale of wind." See also Wordsworth's "Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman" (Cooper).
15, 358—*Sometimes a-dropping*, etc. The Mariner's sin was that in wanton cruelty he took the life of a friendly fellow-creature; his punishment is to live with dead men round him and the dead bird on his breast, in such solitude that "God himself scarce seemed there to be," until he learns to feel the sacredness of life even in the water-snakes, the "slimy things" that coil in the rotting sea; and the stages of his penance are marked by suggestions of his return to the privilege of human fellowship. The angels' music is like the song of the skylark, the sails ripple like a leaf-hidden brook—recollections of his happy boyhood in. England; and finally comes the actual land breeze, and he is in his "own countree." Observe the marginal gloss to line 442.
17, 407—*honey-dew*. See note on "Kubla Khan," line 53.
416—*His great bright eye*, etc. Dorothy Wordsworth in her Journal, February 27, 1798, describes the look of the sea by moonlight, "big and white, swelled to the very shores, but round and high in the middle."
20, 512—*shrieve*. To hear confession and pronounce absolution, one of the duties of the priesthood in the Catholic church. The word is more often spelled shrive. Shrift is the abstract noun derived from it.
21, 523—*skiff-boat*. A pleonastic compound; a skiff is a boat. Coleridge is fond of such formations. See for example II. 41, 77, 472 of this poem and II. 46, 649 of "Christabel" (Cooper).
535—*ivy-tod*. A clump or bush of ivy. Cf. Spenser's "Shepheards Calender," March, II. 67 ff.:
"At length within an Yvie todde (There shrouded was the little God) I heard a busie bustling."
23, 607—*While each to his great Father bends*, etc. Cf. the 148th Psalm (Prayer-Book Version) v. 12: "Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the name of the Lord: for his name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth."
25,6-7—This couplet ran as follows in the first edition:
"Sir Leoline, the Baron rich, Hath a toothless mastiff bitch."
In the editions of 1828 and 1829 Coleridge changed it to the form printed in the text; "but bitch has been restored in all subsequent editions except Mr. Campbell's" (Garnett).
16—*thin gray cloud*, etc. The "thin gray cloud," as also the dancing leaf of ll. 49-52, was observed at Stowey. They are noted in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, January 31 and March 7, 1798.
26, 54—*Jesu*. This form of the word is nearer to the Hebrew original than the more familiar Jesus. It is often (though not exclusively) used in ejaculation and prayer, as here, and was perhaps supposed to be the vocative form.
27, 92—*I wis.* This is a misinterpretation of Middle English iwis, from Old English gewis, "certainly."
29, 129—*The lady sank,* etc. The threshold of a house is, in folk-lore, a sacred place, and evil things cannot cross but have to be carried over it.
142—*I cannot speak,* etc. Geraldine blesses "her gracious stars" (l. 114), but cannot join in praise to the Holy Virgin.
30, 167—*And jealous of the listening air*. This line was not in the first edition, but was added in the edition of 1828.
32, 252—*Behold! her bosom and half her side*, etc. There exist at least three versions of this passage. The text is that of the 1828 edition. The edition of 1816 lacked ll. 255-61, having only these lines between 253 and 262:
"And she is to sleep by Christabel. She took two paces, and a stride," etc.
The third form is that of a MS. copy of the poem once the property of Wordsworth's sister-in-law, Sarah Hutchinson, and recently published in facsimile by Mr. E.H. Coleridge, which gives this reading for ll. 253-4:
"Are lean and old and foul of hue, And she is to sleep by Christabel."
Coleridge seems to have tried both ways, that of revealing Geraldine's loathsome secret and that of leaving it an unknown and nameless horror, and finally to have chosen the latter, just as he rejected in later editions the charnel-house particulars in the description of Death in "The Ancient Mariner." Unquestionably he was right. The horror that is merely suggested and left shrouded in mystery for the imagination to work on is more powerful than that which is known. The suppressed line, however, helps us in an age less familiar with notions of the supernatural to understand what Geraldine is. The character is conceived upon the general lines of Duessa in the first book of "The Faerie Queene;" a being of great external loveliness, but within "full of all uncleanness." Observe also that the thought, shrouded here, is half revealed later (l. 457).
35, 344—*Bratha Head, Wyndermere, Langdale Pike*, etc. For the relation of the Second Part of the poem to the Lake country see Introduction. All of the places named in these lines are near the border-line between Cumberland and Westmoreland and within a dozen miles of the Wordsworths' home at Grasmere. Keswick, which was the home of Coleridge from 1800 to 1804, and of his wife and children for many years thereafter, is on Derwent Water, in Cumberland, some ten miles north of Grasmere. The little river Bratha runs into the upper or northern end of Windermere, a larger lake lying about three miles below Grasmere and connected with it by another stream. Langdale Pike (or Pikes, for there are more than one) is the name of the steep hills at the head of Langdale, on the Cumberland border. Dungeon-Ghyll is a ravine in Langdale (see Wordsworth's "The Idle Shepherd Boys; or, Dungeon-Ghyll Force"). Borrowdale lies over the border in Cumberland and slopes the other way, toward Derwent Water.
37, 407—*Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine*. Sir Leoline lives at "Langdale Hall," a supposed castle in the immediate vicinity of the poets' homes; the friend of his youth, whose daughter Geraldine claims to be, is given the name of a real family and an historical estate in eastern Cumberland, Tryermaine in Gilsland, on the River Irthing, which forms part of the boundary between Cumberland and Northumberland. Scott in his notes to "The Bridal of Triermain" quotes as follows from Burns's "Antiquities of Westmoreland and Cumberland": "After the death of Gilmore, Lord of Tryermaine and Torcrossock, Hubert Vaux gave Tryermaine and Torcrossock to his second son, Ranulph Vaux.... Ranulph, being Lord of all Gilsland, gave Gilmore's land to his younger son, named Roland.... And they were named Rolands successively, that were lords thereof, until the reign of Edward the Fourth."
44—*The Conclusion to Part the Second*. Campbell thought it "highly improbable" that these lines were originally composed as a part of "Christabel." In a letter to Southey, May 6, 1801, Coleridge speaks of his eldest boy, Hartley, then in his fifth year: "Dear Hartley! we are at times alarmed by the state of his health, but at present he is well. If I were to lose him, I am afraid it would exceedingly deaden my affection for any other children I may have." Then he writes the lines that we now have as the Conclusion to Part the Second; and adds: "A very metaphysical account of fathers calling their children rogues, rascals, and little varlets, etc."
Kubla Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Mongolian conqueror who stretched his empire from European Russia to the eastern shores of China in the thirteenth century. His exploits, like those of his grandfather and those of the Mohammedan Timur in the next century, made a deep impression on the imagination of Western Europe. Compilers of travellers's tales, like Hakluyt and Purchas, caught up eagerly whatever they could find, history or legend, concerning the extent of his domain, the methods of his government, or the splendors of his court. The passage in "Purchas his Pilgrimage" to which Coleridge refers is as follows:
"In Xamdu did Cublai Can build a stately Palace, encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes, pleasant Springs, delightfull Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure" (quoted in the Notes of the Globe edition).
Coleridge's poem, however, contains suggestions and reminiscences from another part of Purchas's book, and probably from other books as well. "It reads like an arras of reminiscences from several accounts of natural or enchanted parks, and from various descriptions of that elusive and danger-fraught garden which mystic geographers have studied to locate from Florida to Cathay" (Cooper).
The earthly paradise, which was closed to man indeed, but not destroyed, when Adam and Eve were driven from its gates, has exercised the imagination of the Christian world from the early Middle Ages. Lactantius described it in the fourth century; the author of the "Phoenix," probably in the eighth century, translated Lactantius' Latin into Anglo-Saxon verse; Sir John Mandeville, in the fourteenth century, though he did not reach it himself because he "was not worthy," gives an account of it from what he has "heard say of wise Men beyond;" Milton described it enchantingly in "Paradise Lost;" Dr. Johnson used a modification of it in "Rasselas;" and William Morris in our own time made it the framework for a delightful series of world-old tales. The idea, indeed, is not peculiar to Christianity, but is probably to be found in every civilization. Christian Europe has naturally located it in the East; and since the Crusades, which brought Western Europe more in contact with the East, various eastern legends have been attached to or confounded with the original notion. One of these is the Abyssinian legend of the hill Amara (cf. l. 41, where Coleridge's "Mount Abora" seems to stand for Purchas's Amara). Amara in Purchas's account is a hill in a great plain in Ethiopia, used as a prison for the sons of Abyssinian kings. Its level top, twenty leagues in circuit and surrounded by a high wall, is a garden of delight. "Heauen and Earth, Nature and Industrie, have all been corriuals to it, all presenting their best presents, to make it of this so louely presence, some taking this for the place of our Forefathers Paradise." The sides of the hill are of overhanging rock, "bearing out like mushromes, so that it is impossible to ascend it" except by a passageway "cut out within the Rocke, not with staires, but ascending little by little," and closed above and below with gates guarded by soldiers. "Toward the South" of the level top "is a rising hill ... yeelding ... a pleasant spring which passeth through all that Plaine ... and making a Lake, whence issueth a River, which having from these tops espied Nilus, never leaves seeking to find him, whom he cannot leave both to seeke and to finde.... There are no Cities on the top, but palaces, standing by themselves ... spacious, sumptuous, and beautifull, where the Princes of the Royall blood have their abode with their families."
This legend looks backward to Mandeville, with whose account of the Terrestrial Paradise it has much in common, and forward to Milton, who used some of its elements in his description of Paradise in the fourth book of "Paradise Lost." (See Professor Cooper's article in "Modern Philology," III., 327 ff., from which this is condensed.)
Mr. E.H. Coleridge (the poet's grandson) has recently shown that in the winter of 1797-8 Coleridge read and made notes from a book, "Travels through ... the Cherokee Country," by the American botanist William Bartram. Chapter VII. of Bartram's book contains an account of some natural wonders in the Cherokee country that almost certainly afforded part of the imagery of "Kubla Khan." Bartram, says Mr. Coleridge, "speaks of waters which 'descend by slow degrees through rocky caverns into the bowels of the earth, whence they are carried by subterraneous channels into other receptacles and basons.' He travels for several miles over 'fertile eminences and delightful shady forests.' He is enchanted by a 'view of a dark sublime grove;' of the grand fountain he says that the 'ebullition is astonishing and continual, though its greatest force of fury intermits' (note the word 'intermits') 'regularly for the space of thirty seconds of time: the ebullition is perpendicular upward, from a vast rugged orifice through a bed of rock throwing up small particles of white shells.' He is informed by 'a trader' that when the Great Sink was forming there was heard 'an inexpressible rushing noise like a mighty hurricane or thunderstorm,' that 'the earth was overflowed by torrents of water which came wave after wave rushing down, attended with a terrific noise and tremor of the earth,' that the fountain ceased to flow and 'sank into a huge bason of water;' but, as he saw with his own eyes, 'vast heaps of fragments of rock' (Coleridge writes 'huge fragments'), 'white chalk, stones, and pebbles had been thrown up by the original outbursts and forced aside into the lateral valleys.'"
From these and from other like sources Coleridge's mind was no doubt stored with suggestions of tropical wonder and loveliness, which fell together—if his own account of the making of the poem is to be relied on—into the kaleidoscopic beauty of "Kubla Khan." It is not unlikely, too (cf. ll. 12-13), that the ash-tree dell at Stowey, which he had already used for a scene of supernatural terror in "Osorio," bears some part in his avowed dream of Xanadu.
45, 3—*Alph, the sacred river.* This name seems to be of Coleridge's own invention; at least it has not been pointed out where he found it.
16—*demon-lover.* The demon-lover (or more often, with sexes reversed, the fairy mistress) is a favorite theme of romance, taken from folk-lore, where it appears in many forms. Cf. the ballads of "Thomas Rymer," "Tam Lin," and "The Demon Lover," in Child's "English and Scottish Popular Ballads," and Scott's "William and Helen" (a translation of Burger's "Lenore").
46, 39, 41—*Abyssinian maid, Mount Abora.* See introductory note above.
53—*honey-dew.* A sweet sticky substance found on plants, deposited there by the aphis or plant-louse. It was supposed to be the food of fairies. Not improbably Coleridge was thinking of manna, a saccharine exudation found upon certain plants in the East. Mandeville describes it as found in "the Land of Job:" "This Manna is clept Bread of Angels. And it is a white Thing that is full sweet and right delicious, and more sweet than Honey or Sugar. And it Cometh of the Dew of Heaven that falleth upon the Herbs in that Country. And it congealeth and becometh all white and sweet. And Men put it in Medicines."
53-4—*For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.* Professor Cooper, in the article cited in the introductory note above, points out that this part of the poem contains perhaps reminiscences of the stories told of the Old Man of the Mountain. This was the title popularly given to the head of a fanatical sect of Mohammedans in Syria in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, whose method of getting rid of their enemies has given us the word assassin. To quote from Mandeville's "Travels," which has the essentials of the story, though the chief is here called Gatholonabes, and his domain is not in Syria but in the island Mistorak, "in the Lordship of Prester John:"
"He had a full fair Castle and a strong in a Mountain, so strong and so noble, that no Man could devise a fairer or a stronger. And he had made wall all the Mountain about with a strong Wall and a fair. And within those Walls he had the fairest Garden that any Man might behold....
"And he had also in that Place, the fairest Damsels that might be found, under the Age of fifteen Years, and the fairest young Striplings that Men might get, of that same Age. And they were all clothed in Cloths of Gold, full richly. And he said that those were Angels.
"And he had also made 3 Wells, fair and noble, and all environed with Stone of Jasper, and of Crystal, diapered with Gold, and set with precious Stones and great orient Pearls. And he had made a Conduit under the Earth, so that the 3 Wells, at his List, should run, one Milk, another Wine, and another Honey. And that Place he clept Paradise.
"And when that any good Knight, that was hardy and noble, came to see this Royalty, he would lead him into his Paradise, and show him these wonderful Things for his Sport, and the marvellous and delicious Song of divers Birds, and the fair Damsels, and the fair Wells of Milk, Wine and Honey, plenteously running. And he would make divers Instruments of Music to sound in an high Tower, so merrily, that it was Joy to hear; and no Man should see the Craft thereof. And those, he said, were Angels of God, and that Place was Paradise, that God had promised to his Friends, saying, 'Dabo vobis Terram fluentem Lacte et Melle' ('I shall give thee a Land flowing with Milk and Honey'). And then would he make them to drink of certain Drink [hashish, a narcotic drug, whence their name of Assassins], whereof anon they should be drunk. And then would they think it greater Delight than they had before. And then would he say to them, that if they would die for him and for his Love, that after their Death they should come to his Paradise; and they should be of the Age of the Damsels, and they should play with them, and yet be Maidens. And after that should he put them in a yet fairer Paradise, where that they should see the God of Nature visibly, in His Majesty and in His Bliss. And then would he show them his Intent, and say to them, that if they would go slay such a Lord, or such a Man that was his Enemy or contrarious to his List, that they should not therefore dread to do it and to be slain themselves. For after their Death, he would put them in another Paradise, that was an 100-fold fairer than any of the tother; and there should they dwell with the most fairest Damsels that might be, and play with them ever-more.
"And thus went many divers lusty Pachelors to slay great Lords in divers Countries, that were his Enemies, and made themselves to be slain, in Hope to have that Paradise."
FRANCE: AN ODE
When Coleridge republished this poem in the Post in 1802 he prefixed to it the following
First Stanza. An invocation to those objects in Nature the contemplation of which had inspired the Poet with a devotional love of Liberty. Second Stanza. The exultation of the Poet at the commencement of the French Revolution, and his unqualified abhorrence of the Alliance against the Republic. Third Stanza. The blasphemies and horrors during the domination of the Terrorists regarded by the Poet as a transient storm, and as the natural consequence of the former despotism and of the foul superstition of Popery. Reason, indeed, began to suggest many apprehensions; yet still the Poet struggled to retain the hope that France would make conquests by no other means than by presenting to the observation of Europe a people more happy and better instructed than under other forms of Government. Fourth Stanza. Switzerland, and the Poet's recantation. Fifth Stanza. An address to Liberty, in which the Poet expresses his conviction that those feelings and that grand ideal of Freedom which the mind attains by its contemplation of its individual nature, and of the sublime surrounding objects (see stanza the first) do not belong to men as a society, nor can possibly be either gratified or realized under any form, of human government; but belong to the individual man, so far as he is pure, and inflamed with the love and adoration of God in Nature.
51, 22—*When France in wrath*, etc. The storming of the Bastile took place July 14, 1789. On the 4th of August feudal and manorial privileges were swept away by the National Assembly; and on the 18th of August the Assembly formally adopted a declaration of "the rights of man." In September 1792 the National Convention abolished royalty and declared France a republic.
52, 26-7—*With what a joy my lofty gratulation Unawed I* sang. Coleridge wrote a poem on the "Destruction of the Bastile," probably in 1789 or soon after (first printed in 1834); and in September, 1792, some lines "To a Young Lady, with a Poem on the French Revolution" (first printed in The Watchman in 1796), in which he tells his emotions—
"When slumbering Freedom roused with high disdain With giant fury burst her triple chain!"
28—*the disenchanted nation*. "Disenchanted" because they found that freedom, peace, and virtue were not to be secured by mere proclamation; and that all Europe was not ready at the call of the revolutionists to abolish prescriptive rights and establish republican forms of society. In January 1793 Louis XVI was beheaded. The act was followed pretty promptly by a coalition of England, Holland, Spain, Naples, and the German states against the Republic.
36—*Yet still my voice*. In "Religious Musings," 1794-6, and more ardently in the parts that he contributed to Southey's "Joan of Arc," 1796.
42—*Britain's name*. England was from the beginning the centre of resistance to the violence and ambition of revolutionary France; and Pitt, who controlled English policy in these years, was looked upon as a cold-blooded agent of tyranny by the French republicans and their English sympathizers.
44—*sweet music of deliverance*. The French were so convinced that their Revolution marked the beginning of a new era in human affairs that they determined to have a new chronology. Accordingly a commission of scientists was appointed to formulate a system, which was adopted in October 1793. The "Era of the Republic" was to be counted from the autumnal equinox, 1792. The year was divided into twelve months, as before, but they were renamed (Thermidor hot month, Fructidor fruit month, Nivose snow month, &c.), and ran in periods of thirty days each from the 22d of September. This left five days undistributed, which were set apart as feast-days in celebration of five virtues or ideals. Each month consisted of three decades, and each tenth day, or decadis, was a holiday. The purpose of this was to eradicate the observance of the Christian Sunday. This chronology was in actual use in France until Napoleon put an end to it in 1806.
The municipality of Paris in 1793 decreed that on the 10th of November the worship of Reason should be inaugurated at Notre Dame. "On that day the venerable cathedral was profaned by a series of sacrilegious outrages unparalleled in the history of Christendom. A temple dedicated to 'Philosophy' was erected on a platform in the middle of the choir ... the Goddess of Reason, impersonated by Mademoiselle Maillard, a well known figurante of the opera, took her seat upon a grassy throne in front of the temple; ... and the multitude bowed the knee before her in profound admiration.... At the close of this grotesque ceremony the whole cortege proceeded to the hall of the Convention, carrying with them their 'goddess,' who was borne aloft in a chair of state on the shoulders of four men. Having deposited her in front of the president," Chaumette, the spokesman of the procession, "harangued the Assembly.... He proceeded to demand that the ci-devant metropolitan church should henceforth be the temple of Reason and Liberty; which proposition was immediately adopted. The 'goddess' was then conducted to the president, and he and other officers of the House saluted her with the 'fraternal kiss,' amid thunders of applause. After this, upon the motion of Thuriot, the Convention in a body joined the mass of the people, and marched in their company to the temple of Reason, to witness a repetition of the impieties above described.... At St. Gervais a ball was given in the chapel of the Virgin. In other churches theatrical spectacles took place.... On Sunday, the 17th of November, all the parish churches of Paris were closed by authority, with three exceptions.... Religion was proscribed, churches closed, Christian ordinances interdicted; the dreary gloom of atheistical despotism overspread the land."—Jervis, "The Gallican Church and the Revolution," quoted in Larned's "History for Ready Reference," p. 1300. The next year, however, Robespierre had a decree passed of which the first article was: "The French people acknowledge the existence of the Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul;" and thereupon the inscriptions To Reason that had been placed upon the French churches were replaced by others reading To the Supreme Being.
50—*calm and bright*. After the downfall of Robespierre in 1794 France gradually worked back to a less hysterical mood. In October 1795 a new form of government known as the Directory was established, under which the people enjoyed comparative safety at home and developed a remarkable military efficiency against their foreign enemies. Bonaparte's military genius brought him rapidly to the front in the wars of the Directory. It was he that created the Cisalpine and Ligurine "republics," and his policy directed the invasions of Rome and of Switzerland.
53, 66—*Helvetia*. In March, 1798, after having fostered or compelled the formation of republics under French protection in Holland, northern Italy, and Rome, the Directory, under pretence of defending the republican rights of the Vaudois, made a concerted attack upon Switzerland. Berne, the centre of resistance, was taken, despite the heroic defence of the mountaineers who for five centuries had maintained in "bleak Helvetia's icy caverns" a "shrine of liberty" for all Europe.
DEJECTION: AN ODE
55, 1 of motto—*yestreen*. Abbreviation of "yester-even," yesterday evening.
58, 82—*But now afflictions*, etc. In March 1801 Coleridge wrote to Godwin: "In my long illness I had compelled into hours of delight many a sleepless, painful hour of darkness by chasing down metaphysical game, and since then I have continued the hunt, until I found myself unaware at the root of pure mathematics.... The poet is dead in me." And years afterward in a letter to an artist friend, W. Collins (December, 1818): "Poetry is out of the question. The attempt would only hurry me into that sphere of acute feelings from which abstruse research, the mother of self-oblivion, presents an asylum."
95—*Reality's dark dream*! In the earlier forms of the poem the lines corresponding to 94-5 stood thus:
"Nay, wherefore did I let it haunt my mind, This dark, distressful dream?"
He seems to mean, "This loss of joy, of poetic power, is, must be, only an evil dream, and I will shake it from my mind;" but he knows that it is a reality, and so turns to forget it in the sensuous intoxication of the wind's music. Or perhaps—for Coleridge is already a metaphysician—reality is used here in opposition to ideality or imagination; the truth of philosophy (cf. ll. 89-90) and the metaphysic habit of mind that the study of it induces—what we call reality—is a dream that has come between him and the world of the ideal in which he had and used his "shaping spirit of imagination." The passage is obscure.
100—*Bare crag*, etc. The scenery here is that of the Lake country where Coleridge and Wordsworth were then living—the former at Keswick in Cumberland, the latter at Grasmere, Westmoreland.
59, 120—*Otway*. Coleridge wrote originally, "As thou thyself [i.e. Wordsworth—see next note] had'st fram'd the tender lay." This he changed to "Edmund's self" when he first printed the poem in 1802; and finally to "Otway's self." Thomas Otway was a dramatist of the time of Charles II (born 1651, died 1685). He wrote, among other plays, two tragedies of wonderful pathetic power, "The Orphan" and "Venice Preserved." The theme and style of the former of these, especially, no doubt suggested his name to Coleridge here. Otway's own career was pathetic; he died young, neglected, and according to one story, starved. To this story Coleridge alludes in one of his early poems, the "Monody on the Death of Chatterton:"
"While, 'mid the pelting of that merciless storm, Sunk to the cold earth Otway's famished form!"
121—*'T is of a little child*, etc. Alluding to Wordsworth's "Lucy Gray," which had been published in the second edition of "Lyrical Ballads," 1800.
YOUTH AND AGE
60, 12—*trim skiffs*, etc. Fulton had invented the steamboat in 1807. The first regular steamboat in British waters was built in 1812.
61, 34—*altered size*. Coleridge became very stout in his later years.
WORK WITHOUT HOPE
62, 5—*the sole unbusy thing*. Cf. George Herbert's "Employment:"
"All things are busie; onely I Neither bring hony with the bees, Nor flowers to make that, nor the husbandrie To water these."
"I find more substantial comfort now," wrote Coleridge to his friend Collins in 1818, "in pious George Herbert's 'Temple,' which I used to read to amuse myself with his quaintness, in short, only to laugh at, than in all the poetry since Milton."