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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner | Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner | Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Writer’s intro:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (/ˈkoʊlərɪdʒ/; 21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic, and philosopher. He and his friend William Wordsworth started the Romantic Movement in England and were both Lake Poets. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of his greatest poems of him.


The Lake Poets were a group of English poets living in the Lake District of England in the early 1800s. As a group, they didn’t follow any single way of thinking or writing that was known at the time. The Edinburgh Review named them and then made fun of them all the time. People think of them as being part of the Romantic Movement.



The Rime of the Ancient Mariner summary

The poem starts by introducing The Rime of The Ancient Mariner. And he stops a Wedding Guest from going to a nearby wedding party with his “glittering eye.” The Mariner stops the young man and starts to tell him a story about a ship. He doesn’t give an introduction, he just starts his story. Even though the Wedding Guest tried to leave, the Mariner kept talking. The story of The Mariner begins with the ship leaving port and heading south. The ship is then blown even farther to the South Pole by a huge storm.

There, the crew is amazed by the fog, snow, cold, and huge glaciers (compresses into large ice masses). An Albatross makes the Antarctic seem more alive than it did before. The sailors take it as a good sign, and a new wind starts to blow, which moves the ship forward. Every day, the albatross shows up. It comes when the sailors call for it in the morning and flies up behind the ship. But then, as the other sailors cry out in disappointment. The Mariner shoots the albatross with his crossbow for no clear reason.

Part 2

At first, the other sailors are angry with the Mariner because he killed the bird, which they thought was a good sign and made the breezes blow. But after the bird is killed, the fog lifts and the fair breeze keeps blowing, pushing the ship north into the Pacific. The crew comes to think that the bird caused the fog and mist and that killing it was the right thing to do.

The wind stops, and the ship is stuck in the middle of a huge, calm sea. The sailors and the mariner get more and more thirsty, and some of the sailors have dreams that a Spirit who is angry with them is following them from the pole. The albatross is then hung around the Mariner’s neck by the crew.


In this terrible calm, the men on the ship are trapped by the watery ocean and can’t drink. They get so thirsty that they can’t even speak. When the Mariner sees what he thinks is an approaching ship, he has to bite his arm and drink his blood so that he can tell the crew, who all smile with joy. But the joy fades as the ghostly ship, which sails without wind, gets closer. On its deck, Death and Life-in-Death roll dice for the lives of the Sailors and the Mariner. After Life-in-Death wins the Mariner’s soul, the sailors start to die of thirst. One by one, they fall to the deck, each staring at the Mariner and scolding him.




Part 3

The Mariner is surrounded by dead sailors, and their eyes keep cursing him. He tries to pray by turning his eyes to heaven, but he can’t. The Mariner doesn’t notice the beautiful Water Snakes swimming next to the ship until after he has gone through the horror of being the only one alive among the dead crew. At this point, he is moved and has a spiritual realization that all of God’s creatures are beautiful and should be treated with respect and reverence. Now that he knows this, he can finally pray, and the albatross falls off his neck and sinks into the water.


The Mariner has a sort of blackout, and when he comes to, the dead sailors’ bodies have been brought back to life by angels and are working on the ship. The ship races home, powered by the Spirit from the South Pole, and the Mariner sees a chorus of angels leave the bodies of the dead sailors. After hearing this group of angels sing, the Mariner sees a small boat with a Pilot, the Pilot’s Boy, and a Hermit coming toward him.

As they get closer, the Mariner’s ship sinks all of a sudden, but when he wakes up, he is in the Pilot’s boat. When the Mariner speaks, the Pilot and the Hermit are frozen with fear when he speaks. He says his prayers. The Mariner, in turn, saves his rescuers and rows them to land, where he begs the Hermit to forgive him for his sins. The Hermit makes a sign of the cross and asks the Mariner what happened. Then, the Mariner feels like he has to tell his story.



Part 4

The Mariner ends his story by saying that no matter where he goes. And he is always overcome by the same urge to tell it. He says that if he doesn’t give in to that urge. The Mariner feels a strange kind of pain.  And he can tell just by looking at the faces of the men who need to hear it. He ends by saying that prayer is the greatest joy in life and that the best prayers come from love and respect for all of God’s creations, no matter how big or small. So, he leaves the Wedding Guest “a sadder and wiser man” and goes to find the next person who needs to hear his story.


Theme: Sin and repentance are the central themes of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” 


This is the end of our content The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. If you want to read more summaries from Romantic Poetry, please check the below:




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