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46.
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.

47.
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.

48. The self-same moment I could pray ;

And from my neck so free The albatross fell off, and sank

Like lead into the sea.

49.
• And soon I heard a roaring wind :

It did not come a-near ;
But with its sound it shook the sails

That were so thin and sere.

a

50. • The loud wind never reached the ship,

Yet now the ship moved on! Beneath the lightning and the moon The dead men gave a groan.

51. • 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.

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52. • 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.'

53. 'I fear thee, ancient Mariner !'

· Be calm, thou wedding-guest ! 'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, Which to their corses came again, But a troop of spirits blest.

54. ‘Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,

Yet she sailed softly too : Sweetly, sweetly blew the breezeOn me alone it blew.

55.
Oh! dream of joy ! is this indeed

The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill ? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree ?

56.
Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That
agony

returns : And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns.

57.
'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.

58. • 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!

59. O sweeter than the marriage-feast,

'Tis sweeter far to me, To walk together to the kirk

With a goodly company !

60.
To walk together to the kirk,

And altogether pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men and babes, and loving friends,

And youths and maidens gay!

61. • Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell

To thee, thou Wedding-Guest : He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

62. • He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.'

THE WIDOW AND HER SON.

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rural occupations and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves creditably and comfortably, and led a happy and blameless life. They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age. “Oh, sir,' said the good woman, ‘he was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to every one around him, so dutiful to his parents ! It did one's heart good to see him of a Sunday, dressed out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to church, for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm than on her goodman's, and, poor soul, she might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round.'

Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service of one of the small-craft that plied on a neighbouring river. He had not been long in this employ when he was entrapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left alone in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish. Still, there was

a kind feeling toward her throughout the village, and a certain respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived solitary, and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of her little garden, which the neighbours would now and then cultivate for her. It was but a few days before the time at which these circumstances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the cottagedoor which faced the garden suddenly opened. A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in seaman's clothes, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and hastened towards her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he sank on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye. Oh, my dear, dear mother, don't

• you know your son, your poor boy, George ?' indeed, the wreck of her once noble lad, who, shattered by wounds, by sickness, and foreign imprisonment, had at length dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood.

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended. Still he was alive! he was come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age ! Nature, however, was exhausted in him, and if anything had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet, on which his widowed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and he never rose from it again.

The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort

It was,

F

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