Spain, Spanish
Hello, I´m translating Coleridge´s poem "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" and I can´t find the word "eftsoons" in any dictionary. Can anybody tell me what it means?

He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a ship,' quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

Thank you.
  • lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    Eftsoon \Eft*soon"\, Eftsoons \Eft*soons"\, adv.
    [OE. eftsone, eftsones; AS. eft + s?na soon. See Eft, and Soon.]

    Again; anew; a second time; at once; speedily. [Archaic]


    And, if he fall from his capel [horse] eftsone.

    The champion stout eftsoons dismounted. --Spenser.

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    It might be worth adding that the Ancient Mariner, which was written in the early nineteenth century, deliberately uses archeisms, and imitates primitive ballad forms, like the Grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spens.

    Eftsoons is reasonably common in Elizabethan verse: I remember it's being used in Spenser's Prothalamion:

    Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill?
    Ran all in haste to see that silver brood
    As they came floating on the crystal flood;

    this dates from 1596. Some people think it the most beautiful poem in the language.


    Senior Member
    English, UK
    From the Online Etymological dictionary:

    obsolete or archaic way of saying "soon afterward," from O.E. eft-sona, from eft "afterward, again, a second time" (from P.Gmc. *aftiz, from PIE base *apo- "off, away;" see apo-) + sona "immediately" (see soon). Not in living use since 17c.