October 6th, 2006

Pretender/Terribilis

"The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she"

Happy Friday!

Borrowed from many friends:
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sneezythesquid has joined the Halloween LJ phenomenon, so don't miss his daily posts! (Other LJs to watch for this include fungus_files and magicwondershow.)

Now it's time for a new countown! In 2005, the Edmonton Journal not only listed the most frightening books of all time, but also ranked the scariest poems, as well. According to that publication, the fifth scariest poem ever written is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and revised in 1817.

Here is an excerpt from Part III of the revised 1817 version, describing the Spectre-Woman and her Death-mate on board their skeleton ship.

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?

And 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.


Read the complete "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
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