The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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 an 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 an angel’s 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, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any dropp to drink.
The very deeps 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.
Summary of The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II
- Popularity of “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II”: This part of the long poem of S. T. Coleridge, a great name in the English Romantic poetic tradition, first appeared in 1797 under the title of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It instantly hit the public nerves when the people showed deep interest in its other parts. This part took the poet almost a year to write. Published in Lyrical Ballads, this poem set the stage for other poets to dip their fingers in romantic poetry. The popularity of the poem lies in its musical quality and the beauty of nature, along with the mysterious setting.
- “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II” As a Mysterious World: This part of the poem opens with the Mariner telling how he shoots down an Albatross but as soon as it falls down, the ship begins tossing in the sea. The sailors feeling dread of the situation, start taunting the Mariner for this ghastly act of killing the bird and putting them in harm’s way. However, soon they see that the mist has started dissipating, which they attribute to the death of the bird, feeling happiness over it. They soon start praising the Mariner, giving him credit for the brave act.
This continues for some time with a good breeze blowing, when suddenly an extreme peacefulness prevails that the ocean seems to be running dry, having very hot weather making the sailors almost feel thirsty after they are stranded. The sailors start weeping soon, calling out to Christ to help them against the slimy creature or the evil spirit plaguing their ship. They feel so much thirsty that they soon start blaming the Mariner for this situation. Soon, they decide to hang the body of the bird around the neck of the Mariner to ward off this evil.
- Major Themes in “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II”: The mystery of the dead bird, the world of fantasy, and the shifting blames are major themes of this part of the poem. Although the poet has given a romantic touch to the mystery of the bird, it has proved a world of fantasy in that the blame game starts among the sailors. First, they praise the mariners for killing the bird whose death has removed the mist. However, later they start blaming him for inviting the plague when they see that the sea is facing a drought and they are about to die of thirst.
This world of blame games is highly interesting in that instead of taking care of the ship and moving to some direction to have the solution, and they start blaming the same person who was considered a deliverer by them a short time ago. Yet, this is happening in the world of fantasy which has nothing to do with reality. This also shows that it happens in our day-to-day world that when something good happens, we become happy with the person causing it, and when it happens otherwise, the blame shifts.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s mastery of using various literary devices to enhance the intended impact of his poem is apparent. Some of the major literary devices are as follows.
- Allusion: It means to allude to some event or figure of historical, social, or literary significance to emphasize the main point. The poet alluded to Christ to point to the religious tinge of the poem.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “Out of the sea came he” and the sound of /i/ and /o/ in “And the good south wind still blew behind.”
- Alliteration: It means to use initial consonant sounds in two or more consecutive words. The poem shows the use of alliteration, such as the sound of /b/ in “blew behind” or breeze blew” and /f/ in “foam flew” or “furrow followed free” or /d/ in “dropped down” or /s/ in “slimy sea.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /d/ in “The death-fires danced at night” and the sound of /s/ in “The water, like a witch’s oils.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Samuel Taylor Coleridge has used imagery in this poem, such as “And the good south wind still blew behind”, “But no sweet bird did follow” and “Nor any day for food or play.”
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects that are different in nature. The poet used the metaphors posing south wind as if it is a good fellow or silence as a thing that could be broken.
- Personification: It means to attribute human emotions to inanimate objects. The poet has used the personification of the bloody sun that is very cruel to the point of a cruel man, having emotions and passions or death fire that dances.
- Simile: It is a direct comparison that clarifies the meaning of one thing is compared to another. The poet used several similes, such as, ‘As idle as a painted ship; The water, like a witch’s oils’.
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as ship, sea, mist, fog, bird, and a breeze, to show the world of mystery.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Part II
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows good use of formal, poetic, and magical diction.
- End Rhyme: It means to use verses having matching end words. Samuel Taylor Coleridgeshows the use of end rhyme, such as he/sea and follow/hollow.
- Quatrain: It means to use a Persian stanza having four verses. This poem shows the use of quatrains.
- Rhyme Scheme: The poem shows the rhyme scheme of ABCB in a quatrain and ABABAB in the six-lined stanza or sestet.
- Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are 14 stanzas, with each comprising four verses and two six verses.
- Tone: It means the voice of the text. The poem shows shifting, angry, tragic, and even frustrated tones at different places.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful to quote when talking about some unknown trouble.
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.