Title: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Genre: Literature, fiction, poetry, fantasy, adventure, horror, death.
Publication Date: 1798.
Summary: The experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner shoots an albatross, a sign of ill tidings on deck, and it arouses the wrath of spirits who then pursue the ship "from the land of mist and snow." In anger, the crew force the mariner to wear the dead albatross about his neck. Eventually, the ship encounters a ghostly hulk with Death and the "Night-mare Life-in-Death" on board, who are playing dice for the souls of the crew. With a roll of the dice, Death wins the lives of the crew members, and Life-in-Death the life of the mariner - a prize she considers more valuable because of her own designs on his soul.
My rating: 9/10.
The edition I have read also has the prints of the original wood-carvings by Gustave Doré, which are absolutely incredible in and of themselves.
♥ "The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!"
♥ "Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath not motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."
♥ "Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."
♥ "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?
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?"
♥ "An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die."
♥ "For when it dawned - they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly though their mouths,
And from their bodies passed."
♥ "I 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."
♥ "'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 seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart -
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart."
♥ "Since then, at an uncertain hour
The agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
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."
♥ "Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
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;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."
♥ He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.