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Chambers's miscellany of instructive & entertaining tracts (Volume 4) online

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Like April hoarfrost Spread ; enter ' unannounced.

But where the ship's huge shadow lay, as . '? rds that are ccr -

rj,, , ^ -u^i " tainly expected, and

The charmed water burnt alway yet there is a silent

A Still and awful red. jy at their arrival

Beyond the shadow of the ship By the Iight of the

I watched the water-snakes : moon he beholdeth

They moved in tracks of shining white. God>s cr . e atures of the

j i 11 j f i T i great calm ;

And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire ;


Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam ; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things ! no tongue

Their beauty might declare :

A spring of love gushed from my heart,

And I blessed them unaware :

Sure my kind saint took pity on me,

And I blessed them unaware.

The self-same moment I could pray ;
And from my neck so free
The albatross fell off, and sunk
Like lead into the sea.

Their beauty and their

He blesseth them in
his heart.

The spell begins to


sleep ! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole !

To Mary Queen the praise be given !
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my souL

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,

1 dreamt that they were filled with dew,
And when I woke it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank ;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs :
I was so light almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind ;
It did not come anear ;
But with its sound it shook the sails
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life,
And a hundred fire-flags sheen ;

By grace of the Holy
Mother the ancient
Mariner is refreshed
with rain.

He heareth sounds,
and seeth strange
sights and commotions
in the sky and the


To and fro they were hurried about,
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge ;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud ;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The moon was at its side ;
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,

Yet now the ship moved on !

Beneath the lightning and the moon The bodies of the ship's

The dead men gave a groan. crew are inspired, and

the ship moves on.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake nor moved their eyes ;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen these dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on,

Yet never a breeze upblew ;

The mariners all 'gan work the ropes

Where they were wont to do ;

They raised their limbs like lifeless tools

We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother's son
Stood by me knee to knee :
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said naught to me.

' I fear thee, ancient Mariner !

Be calm, thou wedding-guest,

'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, But not by the souls of

Which to their corses came again, the men, nor by demons

T, . / i i of earth or middle air,

But a trOOp Of Spirits blest : but by a blessed troop

For when it dawned, they dropped their arms, klluKEin?

And clustered round the mast ;

Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,

And from their bodies passed.


Around, around flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun ;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute,
And now it is an angel's song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased ; yet still the sails made on

A pleasant noise till noon,

A noise like of a hidden brook

In the leafy month of June,

That to the sleeping woods all night

Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe :
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel, nine fathom deep, The lonesome Spirit

From the land of mist and snow, ^f^ ^M

I he Spirit slid ; and it was he far as the line, in obe-

That made the ship to eo. dience to the angelic

The sails at noon left off their tune, 'Tven^ce. K ^ a '

And the ship stood still also.

The sun right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean ;
But in a minute she 'gan stir
With a short uneasy motion
Backwards and forwards half her length,
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound ;
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare ;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard, and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.


' Is it he ?' quoth one ; ' Is this the man ?
By him who died on cross !
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless albatross.

' The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.'

The other was a softer voice,

As soft as honey-dew ;

Quoth he : ' The man hath penance done,

And penance more will do.'

The Polar Spirit's fel-
low-demons, the invis-
ible inhabitants of the
element, take part in
his wrong, and two of
them relate, one to the
other, that penance
lonjj and heavy for the
ancient Mariner hath
been accorded to the
Polar Spirit, who re-
turneth southward.



But tell me, tell me, speak again,
Thy soft response renewing
What makes that ship drive on so fast ?
What is the ocean doing ?


Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast ;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast

If he may know which way to go,
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see ! how graciously
She looketh down on him.


But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind ?


The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind !

Fly, brother, fly ! more high, more high,
Or we shall be belated ;
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated.

The Mariner hath been
cast into a trance, for
the angelic power caus-
eth the vessel to drive
northward faster than
human life can endure.

I woke, and we were sailing on, The supernatural mo-

As in a gentle weather ; Marine/ awakes ' and

'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high ; his penance begins
The dead men stood together. anew.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter ;
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,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapt ; once more Th ^ c " rse ^ finally

i j it. expiated;

I viewed the ocean green,

And looked far forth, yet little saw

Of what had else been seen

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
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.

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
Yet she sailed softly too ;
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze
On me alone it blew.

Oh, dream of joy ! is this indeed

The light-house top I See? Hner beholdeth ? 'his

Is this the hill ? is this the kirk ? native country.

Is this mine own countree ?

J 3


We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray

let me be awake, my God,
Or let me sleep alway !

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn ;
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

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, The angelic sp(rita

Till rising from the Same, leave the dead bodies,

Full many shapes that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow And appear - m theJr

Those crimson shadows were, own forms of light.

1 turned my eyes upon the deck
Alas ! what saw I there ?

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And by the holy rood,
A man all light, a seraph-man,
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 ;

This seraph-band each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart
No voice ; but oh ! the silence sunk
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
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 ;


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

That he makes in the wood ;

He '11 shrieve my soul, he '11 wash away

The albatross's blood.


This hermit good lives in that wood The hermit of the

Which slopes down to the sea. wood

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 ;

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 Approached the ship

' And they answered not our cheer ! *"* wonder.

The planks look warped ; and see these sails,

How thin they are and sere !

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,

And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,

That eats the she-wolfs young.'

' Dear Lord ! it hath a fiendish look,'
The pilot made reply
'I am afeared.' ' 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.

Under the water it rumbled on,

Still louder and more dread :

It reached the ship, it split the bay; ^ * hi i' suddenly

T-i- i-' A. j 1-1 i smketh.

The ship went down like lead.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat ;

But Swift as dreams myself I found The ancient Mariner

iTT-,1 ii -i i) i A. 1S saved in the pilots

Within the pilot s boat. boat.

Upon the whirl, where sunk 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,
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.

' O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man ! ' SL^'eJSfiS

The hermit Crossed his brOW : the hermit to shrieve

' Say quick,' quoth he, ' I bid thee sav him, and the penance

HT,- 7 / 1 l r of life falls on him :

What manner of man art thou r

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched

With a woeful 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.

I pass like night from land to land : And ever and anon

I have strange power of speech j gTKS/'SE

That moment that his face I see, straineth him to travel

I know the man that must hear me : from land to ^^

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 bridemaids 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.

Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell, And to teach, by his

To thee, thou wedding-guest : own example, love

He prayeth well who loveth well ^s

Both man and bird and beast. and loveth.

He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small ;
For the dear God that 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
Turns 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.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a native of Devonshire, being born on the 2ist of October
1772, at Ottery St Mary, of which his father was vicar._ He received the principal part of
his education at Christ's Hospital, London, and distinguishd himself as a scholar. Being of
an imaginative and irregular turn of mind, he was ill adapted to the ordinary struggles of
life, and in youth encountered various misfortunes. About the beginning of the present
century, he became acquainted with Southey and Wordsworth ; and at Stowey, near the
residence of the latter, he wrote his Ancient Mariner, and various other pieces-; in which
may be seen the richness of his imagination and depth of his poetical and metaphysical
temperament The versification of the Ancient Mariner is irregular, in the style of the old
ballads, and most of the action of the piece is unnatural ; yet the poem is full of vivid and
original sentiment, and it possesses touches of exquisite tenderness. ' There is nothing else
like it,' says a critic ; ' it is a poem by itself ; between it and other compositions there is a
chasm which you cannot overpass. The sensitive reader feels himself insulated, and a sea
of wonder and mystery flows round him as round the spell-stricken ship itself." This
lamented poet died at Highgate in 1834. In the present tract, we offer a few of his earliest
pieces, trusting to make them favourably known in quarters from which they have hitherto
been excluded. May every reader be able to say with the author : ' Poetry has been
to me an exceeding great reward ; it has soothed my affliction ; it has multiplied and
refined my enjoyments ; it has endeared my solitude ; and it has given me the habit of
ishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.'


ALL thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
Are all but ministers of LOVE,
And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
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 ;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,

My own dear Genevieve !


She leaned against the armed man,
The statue of the armed knight ;
She stood and listened to my lay
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.

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,
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 ;
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,
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.

But when I told the cruel scorn
Which crazed this bold and lovely knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night ;

But sometimes from the savage den,
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 ;


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
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.

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
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
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,
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.

Her bosom heaved, she stept aside ;
As conscious of my look she stept
Then suddenly, with timorous eye,
She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
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,
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,

My bright and beauteous bride !



ALAS ! they had been friends in youth ;
But whispering tongues can poison truth ;
And constancy lives in realms above ;

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.
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 ;
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,

The marks of that which once hath been.



AND this place our forefathers made for man !
This is the process of our love and wisdom
To each poor brother who offends against us
Most innocent, perhaps and what if guilty?
Is this the only cure? Merciful God !
Each pore and natural outlet shrivelled up
By ignorance and parching poverty,


His energies roll back upon his heart,

And stagnate and corrupt, till, changed to poison,

They break on him like a loathsome plague-spot !

Then we call in our pampered mountebanks

And this is their best cure ! uncomforted

And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,

And savage faces at the clanking hour,

Seen through the steam and vapours of his dungeon

By the lamp's dismal twilight ! So he lies

'Circled with evil, till his very soul

Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed

By sights of evermore deformity !

With other ministrations, thou, O Nature,

Healest thy wandering and distempered child :

Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,

Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets ;

Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters ;

Till he relent, and can no more endure

To be a jarring and a dissonant thing

Amid this general dance and minstrelsy ;

But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,

His angry spirit healed and harmonised

By the benignant touch of love and beauty.


WHEN Youth his fairy reign began,
Ere sorrow had proclaimed me man ;
While Peace the present hour beguiled,
And all the lovely prospect smiled ;
Then, Mary, 'mid my lightsome glee,
I heaved the painless sigh for thee.

And when, as tossed on waves of woe,
My harassed heart was doomed to know
The frantic burst, the outrage keen,
And the slow pang that gnaws unseen ;
Then shipwrecked on life's stormy sea,
I heaved an anguished sigh for thee.

But soon Reflection's power impressed
A stiller sadness on my breast ;
And sickly Hope, with waning eye,
Was well content to droop and die :
I yielded to the stern decree,
Yet heaved a languid sigh for thee !


And though, in distant climes to roam,
A wanderer from my native home,
I fain would soothe the sense of care,
And lull to sleep the joys that were ;
Thy image may not banished be
Still, Mary, still I sigh for thee



THOU wild Fancy, check thy wing ! No more
Those thin white flakes, those purple clouds explore ;
Nor there with happy spirits speed thy flight,
Bathed in rich amber-glowing floods of light ;

Nor in yon gleam, where slow descends the day,

With western peasants hail the morning ray ;

Ah ! rather bid the perished pleasures move,

A shadowy train, across the soul of love.

O'er disappointment's wintry desert fling

Each flower, that wreathed the dewy locks of Spring,

When blushing like a bride, from hope's trim bower

She leaped, awakened by the pattering shower.

Now sheds the sinking sun a deeper gleam;
Aid, lovely sorceress, aid thy poet's dream
With fairy wand ; oh, bid the maid arise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes ;
As erst when from the Muse's calm abode

1 came, with learning's meed not unbestowed :
When as she twined a laurel round my brow,
And met my kiss, and half returned my vow,
O'er all my frame shot rapid my thrilled heart,
And every nerve confessed the electric dart.
Oh, dear deceit ! I see the maiden rise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes ;
When first the lark high-soaring, swells his throat,
Mocks the tired eye, and scatters the loud note,

I trace her footsteps on the accustomed lawn,
I mark her glancing 'mid the gleams of dawn ;
When the bent flower beneath the night-dew weeps,
And on the lake the silver lustre sleeps,
Amid the paly radiance, soft and sad,
She meets my lonely path in moonbeams clad.
With her along the streamlet's brink I rove ;
With her I list the warblings of the grove ;



And seems in each low wind her voice to float,
Lone-whispering pity in each soothing note.

Spirits of love ! ye heard her name ! Obey
The powerful spell, and to my haunt repair ;
Whether on clustering pinions ye are there,
Where rich snows blossom on the myrtle-trees,
Or with fond languishment, around my fair
Sigh in the loose luxuriance of her hair ;
Oh, heed the spell, and hither wing your way,
Like far-off music voyaging the breeze !
Spirits, to you the infant maid was given,
Formed by the wondrous alchemy of heaven.
No fairer maid does love's wide empire know,
No fairer maid e'er heaved the bosom's snow.
A thousand loves around her forehead fly;
A thousand loves sit melting in her eye ;
Love lights her smile in Joy's bright nectar dips
The flamy rose, and plants it on her lips !
Tender, serene, and all devoid of guile,
Soft is her soul, as sleeping infant's smile :

Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of instructive & entertaining tracts (Volume 4) → online text (page 28 of 58)