The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797-98 and published in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.

Source: Coleridge, S.T. (1798) The Rime of Ancient Mariner London, England: J. & A. Arch, Gracechurch Street

Part the First
An old mariner stops a group on their way to a wedding. The leader of the group listens to the mariner's story. The mariner's tale starts out with calm seas and a happy crew, but a sudden storm and strange weather change the mood. The mariner's actions upset the crew.
Part the Second
The conditions at sea improve, causing the crew to change their opinion of the mariner. When the conditions change for the worse the crew force the mariner to wear the dead albatross as a sign of guilt.
Part the Third
The crew is overtaken with thirst. The approach of another ship causes the mariner to become hopeful. But as the ship gets ever closer, his hope turns to dread.
Part the Fourth
As the Mariner's tale continues, his appearance starts to alarm the wedding guest. The Mariner tells of the crew's fate. After a period alone on the ship a prayer releases the weight of his guilt.
Part the Fifth
The weather once again changes for the better, quenching the thirst of the Mariner. The crew, although changed, continue to perform their assigned duties.
Part the Sixth
Phantom voices question the what is driving the ship forward. As the voices disappear, the Mariner awakes to find the crew glaring at him. The ship approaches shore.
Part the Seventh
The crew of an approaching boat is apprehensive about getting closer to the Mariner's ship. The sudden sinking of the ship put everyone in harms way. The Mariner is compelled to share his story with the Hermit, and eases his own pain in the process.
  • Year Published: 1798
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 9.0
  • Word Count: 3,933
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Keywords: 18th century literature, british literature, poetry
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