Poem Explication on “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Coleridge By: Marianne File and Elizabeth Hamilt
“The Rime of the Ancient mariner by Samuel Coleridge Part II "The sun now rose upon the right: Out of the sea came he, Still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea. And the good south wind still blew behind, But no sweet bird did follow, Nor any day for food or play Came to the mariners' hollo! And I had done a hellish thing, And it would work 'em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird That made the breeze to blow. Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay, That made the breeze to blow!
Nor dim nor red, like God's own head, The glorious sun uprist: Then all averred, I had killed the bird That brought the fog and mist. 'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, That bring the fog and mist. The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free; We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea. Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down, 'Twas sad as sad could be; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea! All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, No bigger than the moon. Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea. About, about, in reel and rout The death-fires danced at night; The water, like a witch's oils, Burnt green, and blue, and white. And some in dreams assured were Of the Spirit that plagued us so; Nine fathom deep he had followed us From the land of mist and snow. And every tongue, through utter drought, Was withered at the root; We could not speak, no more than if We had been choked with soot. Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung."
Literal sense in a Poem • 1) a. At first, the sailors were quite upset with the Mariner and the fact that he killed the Albatross. When the fog cleared though, the sailors decided that the bird didn’t control the breezes but the fog so then they congratulated him. Then the breezes slowed down and the ship became idle. Some of the sailors dreamed that a spirit followed beneath the ship from the land of mist and snow. The sailors blaimedthe Mariner for what happened and hung the bird around the Mariner’s neck like a cross.
Diction of a Poem 2) a. The poem consists of a pretty clear structure with concrete descriptions with vivid descriptions of what was occurring on the ship. Slang was not really a problem on this poem and was very easily readable for anyone who isn’t good with poems. b. In my opinion, I don’t think this poem creates innovative ideas or expressions. I honestly think this poem was meant to be a more straight forward poem.
Diction of the Poem 2) c. I wouldn’t say this poem has any underlying meaning since everything is pretty straight forward. Although I would have to say that the bird plays a big role in this section of the poem. d. Albatrosses were considered good luck by sailors; figurative sense of "burden" (1936) is from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798) about the bad luck of a sailor who shoots an albatross and then is forced to wear its corpse as an indication that he, not the whole ship, offended against the bird. The prison-island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay is named for pelicans that roosted there.
The tone and mood of the poem 3) a. The emotion of this poem shows a distraught and anxious setting. The reason for this setting is because of the fact that the Mariner killed the bird when they were thinking the bird was the key to their success. Once the news was out that the bird was killed, the moods changed to negative and distrustful, wanting to kill the Mariner. b. I would say most of this section of the whole poem was leaning towards more the angry and sad side, than the happy side.
Tone and Mood continued • 3) c. Nothing is ironic about this poem in my opinion. When the bird gets killed, there is a direct stanza on what took place. The poem gives off an anxious vibe, just as the mood was at the time. I don’t see anything ironic about that. d. I feel like the mood is negative towards the Mariner. I feel as if all of the rest of the sailors on the ship are tense and want to kill the Mariner. This eventually happens anyways, but even before I felt like they were not too pleased with the Mariner.
The rhetorical situation implied by the Poem 4) a. The Mariner is speaking in the poem to no one in particular. In my opinion, the poem was kind of like a journal as if he was venting while writing down the unbelievable thing he had done while on a boat. I don’t think was a special occasion but I think that due to the situation, he wanted to jot down how he was feeling. The purpose was mainly to vent though.
The Rhetorical Situation Continued 4) b. The poem was written as if it seemed like he was talking to whoever decided to read it. Although I feel like this was being jotted down, I feel like the poem was written as if it were a story. This helps to keep interest of others.
Figurative Language • Similes: “The water, like a witch’s oil,” “As idle as a painted ship,” “Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head.” • Metaphors: “That made the breeze to blow,” • Personification: “The death-fires danced at night,” • Hyperbole, idiom, oxymoron, pun? Alliteration: “The furrow followed free,” “Water, water, everywhere” Hyperbole: “The bloody sun, at noon”
Imagery • “Slimy sea, death-fires, burnt green, blue, and white, breeze to blow, and a hot copper sky,” “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free,” “All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun, at noon,” “And every tongue, through utter drought.” • Sense mostly used is sight and touch. • Symbolism: • “But no sweet bird to slay”, “I had killed the bird”, “Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,” and “The silence of the sea”. • This poem uses symbolism with bird.
Sound contributing to a poem • There is no rhyme in this poem, but some words do repeat: mist, sea, blow, bird. Other words like root and soot appear long with shrink and drink. • A lot of repetition is used. Some lines are repeated. Mostly because the poem is based around the sea. • Examples are: Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down; Day after day, day after day; That made the breeze to blow. • Alliteration: “The furrow followed free,” “Water, water, everywhere” • There is repetition of vowel sounds like: noon and moon, shrink and drink, root and soot, follow and hollo. • No onomatopoeias. • There isn’t many harsh sounds. The sea was very silent, they mariners had to talk to make sound. Even though the poem does have any harsh or discordant sounds, it still tells a story of fear and anxiety.
Poem Structure • This poem is so big that it is broken into 7 parts. • It isn’t written as a sonnet, its ballad. • It is written in stanzas. • There isn’t any rhyming other than some repeating of words and words that end the same; shrink and drink is an example.