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Part III



There passed a weary time. Each throat Was parched, and glazed each eye. A weary time ! a weary time ! How glazed each weary eye, When looking westward, I beheld A something in the sky.

The ancient Mariner beholdeth a sign in the element afar off.

At first it seemed a little speck, And then it seemed a mist ; It moved and moved, and took at last A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist ! And still it neared and neared : As if it dodged a water-sprite, It plunged and tacked and veered.

At its nearer approach, it seemeth him to be a ship ; and at a dear ransom he freeth his speech from the bonds of thirst.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could nor laugh nor wail ; Through utter drought all dumb we stood ! I bit my arm, I sucked the blood, And cried, A sail ! a sail !
A flash of joy ;
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, Agape they heard me call : Gramercy ! they for joy did grin, And all at once their breath drew in, As they were drinking all.
And horror follows. For can it be a ship that comes onward without wind or tide ?

See ! see ! (I cried) she tacks no more ! Hither to work us weal ; Without a breeze, without a tide, She steadies with upright keel ! The western wave was all a-flame. The day was well nigh done ! Almost upon the western wave Rested the broad bright Sun ; When that strange shape drove suddenly Betwixt us and the Sun.
It seemeth him but the skeleton of a ship.

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace !) As if through a dungeon-grate he peered With broad and burning face.
And its ribs are seen as bars on the face of the setting Sun.

Alas ! (thought I, and my heart beat loud) How fast she nears and nears ! Are those her sails that glance in the Sun, Like restless gossameres ?
The Spectre-Woman and her Death-mate, and no other on board the skeleton ship.

And those her ribs through which the Sun Did peer, as through a grate ? And is that Woman all her crew ? Is that a DEATH ? and are there two ? Is DEATH that woman's mate ?
[first version of this stanza through the end of Part III]

Like vessel, like crew ! Her lips were red, her looks were free, Her locks were yellow as gold : Her skin was as white as leprosy, The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she, Who thicks man's blood with cold.
Death and Life-in-Death have diced for the ship's crew, and she (the latter) winneth the ancient Mariner.

The naked hulk alongside came, And the twain were casting dice ; `The game is done ! I've won ! I've won !' Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
No twilight within the courts of the Sun.

The Sun's rim dips ; the stars rush out : At one stride comes the dark ; With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea, Off shot the spectre-bark.

At the rising of the Moon,

We listened and looked sideways up ! Fear at my heart, as at a cup, My life-blood seemed to sip ! The stars were dim, and thick the night, The steerman's face by his lamp gleamed white ; From the sails the dew did drip-- Till clomb above the eastern bar The hornÚd Moon, with one bright star Within the nether tip.
One after another,

One after one, by the star-dogged Moon, Too quick for groan or sigh, Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, And cursed me with his eye.
His shipmates drop down dead.

Four times fifty living men, (And I heard nor sigh nor groan) With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, They dropped down one by one.
But Life-in-Death begins her work on the ancient Mariner.

The souls did from their bodies fly,-- They fled to bliss or woe ! And every soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my cross-bow !

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