47
Text Bank
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798)
Part III
Part III, Lines 143–223
The Mariner and his fellows lose all hope, till a ship is seen approaching from the West.
There passed a weary time. Each throat1
Was parched2, and glazed3 each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
The ancient Mariner beholdeth4 a sign in the element afar off.
5
10
15
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.
At first it seemed a little speck5,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist6.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite7,
It plunged8 and tacked9 and veered10.
At its nearer approach, it seemeth him to be a ship; and at a dear ransom11
he freeth his speech from the bonds of thirst.
20
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked12,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit13 my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard14 me call:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
25
A flash of joy;
Gramercy! they for joy did grin15,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.
9
10
11
12
13
14
And horror follows. For can it be a ship that comes onward without wind or tide?
15
30
See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither16 to work us weal17,
Without a breeze, without a tide,
16
17
Each throat. La gola
di ognuno
parched. Riarsa.
glazed. Vitreo.
beholdeth. Arc.: Vede.
a little speck. Un piccolo
punto
I wist. Arc.: Io pensai.
As if … a water-sprite.
Come se evitasse un
folletto marino.
It plunged.
Beccheggiava.
tacked. Bordeggiava.
veered. Virava.
ransom. Prezzo.
With … baked. Con
labbra nere cotte
bit. Morsi.
Agape they heard.
Mi udirono a bocca
spalancata.
they … did grin.
Digrignarono i denti
per la gioia.
hither. Qui
weal. Benessere, qui:
soccorso.
47  Text Bank
35
40
45
50
55
She steadies with upright keel18!
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
Betwixt19 us and the Sun.
It seemeth him but the skeleton of a ship.
And straight the Sun was flecked20 with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate21 he peered
With broad and burning face.
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 gossameres22?
Are 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?
And its ribs23 are seen as bars on the face of the setting Sun. The SpectreWoman and her Deathmate, and no other on board the skeleton-ship.
Like vessel, like crew!
60
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The nightmare24 LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
Who thicks25 man’s blood with cold.
Death and Life-in-Death have diced for26 the ship’s crew, and she (the latter)
winneth the ancient Mariner.
65
The naked hulk27 alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth28 she, and whistles thrice.
No twilight within the courts of the Sun.
70
The Sun’s rim dips29; 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,
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
75
We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
30
She … keel. Viene diritta
con la chiglia sollevata.
Betwixt. Arc.: Tra
flecked. Si striò.
dungeon-grate. Grata
di galera.
Like … gossameres.
Come spiritate
ragnatele.
ribs. Costole.
nightmare. Incubo.
thicks. Congela.
have diced for. Si sono
giocati ai dadi.
hulk. Carcassa, scafo.
Quoth. Arc.: Disse.
dips. Si immerge.
My life-blood … sip.
Sembrava sorseggiare
il mio sangue vitale.
47  Text Bank
80
My life-blood seemed to sip30!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip –
Till clomb above the eastern bar31
The hornèd Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip32.
One after another,
85
One after one, by the star-dogged Moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang33,
And cursed me with his eye.
His shipmates drop down dead.
90
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.
95
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!
COMPREHENSION
1
IDENTIFY the three sections in which Part III can be divided and write a heading
to each section.
2
HOW does Part III end?
ANALYSIS
3
CONSIDER the language. The presence of archaisms seems to contrast with
the simplicity of the language. Find some examples and state their function.
4
FOCUS on the way Coleridge builds up tension and expectation in the reader.
1 Identify the steps through which the Mariner catches sight of the ship:
1 something (line …..);
2 …………….. (line …..);
3 …………….. (line …..);
4 …………….. (line …..);
5 …………….. (line …..);
6 …………….. (line …..);
7 …………….. (line …..);
8 …………….. (line …..);
9 her crew (line …..).
2 Do the Mariner and the crew realise the supernatural quality of the vision?
Till … bar. Finché ascese
da levante.
32 The hornèd … tip. La
Luna cornuta, con una
stella brillante all’interno
della sua punta bassa.
33 ghastly pang. Spasimo
atroce.
31
47  Text Bank
5
OBSERVE the two mysterious characters on the ghost ship, Death and Life-in-Death.
1 List all the expressions used to describe Life-in-Death:
lips
looks
locks
skin
character
2 What kind of woman is suggested by this description?
3 Why can this horrible figure be considered a mockery of the bride (Part I) at the wedding
feast?
6
CONCENTRATE on the Ancient Mariner: he becomes more conscious of himself and
more purposive in these lines. Justify this statement with evidence from the text.
7
ANALYSE the last four stanzas and in particular write down:
• the length of words;
• the repetition of particular concepts;
• the type of syntax.
Which of the above contributes to the idea of the quickness of death?
8
COMPARE. In the first extract ( 8.5), the crossbow killed the albatross. In this extract,
the reference to the cross bow comes when the Ancient Mariner is cursed to live a life-indeath. What do you think is the relationship between the two?
9
DRAW a parallel between the I ( 8.5) and the III Part of The Rime by filling in the table
below.
Part I
Part III
Motion of the ship
Natural elements
The crew
The ancient Mariner
Other characters
10 COMPARE Coleridge with Wordsworth as regards: the importance given to nature and
to imagination, the main themes developed, the style employed. Write not more than ten
lines.