Recorded at Emmanuel College Chapel,
Still from Rising app
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?
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.
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.
Throughout the Ancient Mariner, the horror is either a form of beauty, or is constantly relieved by the presence of strangeness in beauty... a voluptuous beauty in horror, like some triumphant and fatal courtesan of hell.
And then out to sea, for there in the ocean wastes, the Paternal Power may still be felt but as a dreadful tempest, and there still dwells the Mother-Goddess though she appear but in her most malignant aspects, as the castrating white whale to Ahab, as the Life-in-Death to the Ancient Mariner.
The Enchafèd Flood, 1949