Published on February 15, 2014
EFFORTS BY: Anowyesha (Leader) Chirag Riya Fasil Dikshita Deepak Yash ENGLISH PROJECT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. He coined many familiar words and phrases, including the celebrated suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence on Emerson, and American transcendentalism.
POEM AND THE POET The rime of the ancient mariner (originally 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 1798 in the first edition of lyrical ballads. Modern editions use a revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in lyrical ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION • The Mariner stops a wedding guest and forces him, spellbound, to listen to his story. • The ship sails south to equator. • Wedding guest hears music of wedding beginning. • A storm hits the ship and impels it south. They are stuck in ice. • An albatross appears and is befriended by the shipmates. A south wind springs up and takes them northward. • He kills it with his crossbow. • The crew at first cry out against him, but then commend him when the fog clears off. • They sail north and become becalmed at the equator. They suffer from thirst. Slimy things are on the surface, and lights are on the water and masts at night. • A spirit follows them under the ship nine fathoms down. • They hang the bird around his neck.
THE POEM BEGINS…
PARAPHRASE • The speaker finally realizes what • They have spent a long time drifting on the ocean with no it is, and he wants to shout, but wind or water, and everyone is his mouth is too dry. His lips are sick of it. Then one day, the sunburned and caked with dried mariner sees something coming blood. Fortunately, he has a from the west; as in, the opposite direction as the solution. He bites his arm to wet mariner's sweet home England. his lips with his own blood, just He can't decide whether the enough so that he can shout. He thing is a small "speck" or a shouts that he sees a sail. His more spread-out "mist." The shape starts to come into focus crewmates are so happy that and he became aware ("wist") of they shout "gramercy!" what looked like. It moves meaning, "Thank heavens!"The around in zigzag fashion as if ship is coming their way. Maybe escaping supernatural forces. Hey, join the club. their crew will have water.
… • The western wave was all a-flame. The day was well nigh done! Almost upon the western wave Rested the broad bright Sun; When that strange shape drove suddenly Betwixt us and the Sun. And straight the Sun was flecked with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace!) As if through a dungeon-grate he peered With broad and burning face. 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 gossamers? • Are 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 thick 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.
PARAPHRASE • The sun is setting in the west, and the ship is approaching from the west. Here Coleridge provides a complicated image to illustrate how the ship is really – get ready for it – a Ghost Ship! Here's the image: the mysterious ship sails in front of the setting sun, and rather than blocking out part of the sun completely, it just looks like the sun has bars in front of it. In other words, the ship looks like a skeleton. The ship's sails aren't normal sails –you know, the kind that can hold wind. Instead, they look like tattered spider webs, or "gossamers." • Its hull looks like ribs. Worst of all, he can now see that the crew consists of only two people: Death and Life-in-Death. Well, shoot. We imagine death as the hooded guy with the sickle, or something like that, while Life-inDeath is a woman who appears relatively normal except for her pale, diseased-looking skin.
… • The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out; At one stride comes the dark; With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea, Off shot the spectre-bark. We listened and looked sideways up! Fear at my heart, as at a cup, My life-blood seemed to sip!The stars were dim, and thick the night,The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white; From the sails the dew did drip—Till clomb above the eastern bar The hornèd Moon, with one bright star. Within the nether tip. • One after one, by the stardogged Moon, Too quick for groan or sigh, Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, and cursed me with his eye. Four times fifty living men,(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, They dropped down one by one. The souls did from their bodies fly,—They fled to bliss or woe! And every soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my cross-bow!
When the ship approaches, Death and Life-in-Death are playing a game. They are playing dice to decide who will gain the upper hand. We have the feeling that the fate of the Mariner and his friends rests on this dice game. We have a winner: Life-in-Death! She's just won power over a bunch of raggedy, thirsty sailors. She's probably wishing she had gone on The Price is Right instead – that dinette set is looking pretty good right about now. But nothing happens…yet. Night falls, and the mysterious Ghost Ship ("spectre bark") sails away. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen. Coleridge plays the scene like a suspense movie, complete with dew going drip-drip from the sails. The partial moon rises, and it looks like a "horn," or, if you prefer, a smiley face. One of the "horns" of the moon has a star next to it. This seems to be a bad sign, for some reason. Suddenly, everyone on the ship begins to die. They don't make a fuss but kind of just slump over. However, they do make sure to curse the Mariner with their eyes before they go. There are 200 men on the boat besides the Mariner, and they all die. Their souls escape their dead bodies and shoot past the Mariner like the crossbow with which he shot the Albatross.
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is unique among Coleridge’s important works— unique in its intentionally archaic language, its length, its bizarre moral narrative, its strange scholarly notes printed in small type in the margins, its thematic ambiguity, and the long Latin epigraph that begins it, concerning the multitude of unclassifiable “invisible creatures” that inhabit the world. Its peculiarities make it quite atypical of its era; it has little in common with other Romantic works. Rather, the scholarly notes, the epigraph, and the archaic language combine to produce the impression (intended by Coleridge, no doubt) that the “Rime” is a ballad of ancient times (like “Sir Patrick Spence,” which appears in “Dejection: An Ode”), reprinted with explanatory notes for a new audience. Thank you.
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