(a) It is an ancient mariner
who stoppeth one of four.
He gets knocked down and breaks his crown
and never speaketh more
(b) It is an ancient mariner
who stoppeth one of three.
"Buzz off, old loon! 'Tis nearly noon,"
surlily snarleth he.
The old man starteth up to speak,
and soon he raveth on,
until the guest undoth his vest
and drops him like a scone.
The readers cry, with tear in eye,
and counterfeited grief,
"How sad your tale should early fail!"
and smile with true relief.