A satire of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
I sailed below the Southern Cross
(So ran the seaman’s song);
A pestilential albatross
Followed us all day long.
The creature’s aspect was so grim,
And it oppressed me so,
I raised and on a sudden whim,
I lowered my crossbow.
The weather grew exceeding thick;
The sullen tempest roared.
A dozen of the crew fell sick,
The rest fell overboard.
The skies were so devoid of light
We could not see to pray.
The donkeyman went mad by night,
The second mate by day.
We set the live men swabbing decks,
The dead man manned the pumps.
The cabin steward changed his sex;
The captain had the mumps.
The cargo shifted in the hold,
The galley boiler burst.
My hair turned white, my blood ran cold –
I knew we were accurst.
I helped the purser dig his grave
On the deserted poop;
I leaped into the foaming wave
And swam to Guadeloupe
And there (he said) I nibbled moss
Beside the stagnant lake . . .
I should have shot the albatross,
That was my big mistake.