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Pages (PDF): 111
Publication Date: 1798
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A collection of poems including: The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere; The Foster-Mother's Tale; Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite; The Nightingale, a Conversational Poem; The Female Vagrant; Goody Blake and Harry Gill; Lines written at a small distance from my House, and sent by my little Boy to the Person to whom they are addressed; Simon Lee, the old Huntsman; Anecdote for Fathers; We are seven; Lines written in early spring; The Thorn; The last of the Flock; The Dungeon; The Mad Mother; The Idiot Boy; Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening; Expostulation and Reply; The Tables turned; an Evening Scene, on the same subject; Old Man travelling; The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman; The Convict; and, Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey.
Most of the poems were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the 'Advertisement' included in the 1798 edition, Wordsworth explained his poetical concept: 'The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure.'
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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.
It is an ancyent Marinere,
And he stoppeth one of three:
"By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
"Now wherefore stoppest me?
"The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
"And I am next of kin;
"The Guests are met, the Feast is set,—
"May'st hear the merry din.—
But still he holds the wedding-guest—
There was a Ship, quoth he—
"Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
"Marinere! come with me."
He holds him with his skinny hand,
Quoth he, there was a Ship—
"Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
"Or my Staff shall make thee skip."
He holds him with his glittering eye—
The wedding guest stood still
And listens like a three year's child;
The Marinere hath his will.
The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
He cannot chuse but hear:
And thus spake on that ancyent man,
The bright-eyed Marinere.
The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd—
Merrily did we drop
Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
Below the Light-house top.
The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the Sea came he:
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the Sea.
Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—
The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.
The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry Minstralsy.
The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
The bright-eyed Marinere.
Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
A Wind and Tempest strong!
For days and weeks it play'd us freaks—
Like Chaff we drove along.
Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
And it grew wond'rous cauld:
And Ice mast-high came floating by
As green as Emerauld.
And thro' the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen;
Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken—
The Ice was all between.
The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
The Ice was all around:
It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd—
Like noises of a swound.
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the Fog it came;
And an it were a Christian Soul,
We hail'd it in God's name.
The Marineres gave it biscuit-worms,
And round and round it flew:
The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.