Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. A poem by: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Image : Nigel Borrington

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Image : Nigel Borrington

From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The “Rime“ is one of the greatest pieces of Romantic literature. And the section of this epic poem in which the dead sailors get up and start sailing the boat again without seeing anything is as terrifying as anything in the horror genre.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

Fishing boats on Galway bay

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
‘Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:
For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.
Storm clouds over the lake

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!
And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.

The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.
The Sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

8 responses

  1. Have long had the Rime of the Ancient Mariner among my favourite poems. Durer did a pretty good job illustrating it and so do you. Wonderful palette

    May 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    • Hello Simon 🙂 🙂

      Thank you and very pleased you love this poem 🙂 🙂 🙂

      May 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  2. Awesome opening photograph Nigel – the lighting gives off an atmosphere that is just spectacular. Pairing with the Rime was brilliant. Have a wonderful weekend.

    May 29, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    • Hello Marj 🙂 🙂

      Thank you , very pleased you enjoyed 🙂

      Have a great weekend also 🙂 🙂

      May 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm

  3. Great poem, awesome photos 🙂

    May 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    • Hello Norman 🙂 🙂

      Thank you 🙂 ,, very pleased you liked and commented – Thank you 🙂 🙂

      May 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm

  4. Goosebumps. And that first image makes me swoon.

    May 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    • Hello Elen 🙂 🙂

      What a great and very welcome comment 🙂 Thank you !!

      May 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

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