The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Part V
Alexandra, Dan, and Skye
OH sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.
The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.
Finally the mariner can sleep/pray and
mercifully escape his morbid
reality/the curse
Gloss: “By grace of the Holy Mother,
the Ancient Mariner is refreshed with
rain [and sleep]”
5 line distinction
 silly: from the Middle English seli for
blessed, the Old English gesaelig for
blessed, and the Gothic sels for good
 Turning point; reversal of
 Alliteration
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.
 Relief comes with the long-awaited
quenching of thirst
Baptism? - renewal
 Reversal of fate:
 “With throats unslaked and black lips
baked” (III).
 Numb with joy/deliriousness
I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light--almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a bless'ed ghost.
 Dream-like state vs. reality
 What is real at this point?
 Ironic b/c crewmates will soon
become ghosts - foreshadowing
And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.
“blessed” has good connotations
 Contradiction of seeing and
hearing the wind but not feeling it
 Alliteration
 Mimics sound of the wind
 Personification of air, flags, & stars
The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.
 To and fro: repetition, pacing,
 fire-flags: either lightning, aurora
borealis, or St. Elmo’s Fire
Electricity in the atmosphere (bad
 Change from fear to awe
 Anaphora & Alliteration
And the coming wind did roar more loud,
 Simile: comparison to grass
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
 Unnatural; divine intervention
And the rain poured down from one
 Black = ominous
black cloud;
The Moon was at its edge.
 Personified natural element
 5 line distiction
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.
 Vivid/surreal imagery
 Simile & hyperbole
 Straight, huge bolts of lightning
 Strange, wild, scary?
 Natural becoming supernatural
 Gloss: “the ship’s crew [is]
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.
inspired, and the ship moves on”
Mystical representation of
illuminating elements – divine
 Alliteration, onomatopoeia
 Parallel structure
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
 Eye motif
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
 Dream vs. reality
It had been strange, even in a dream,
 Bizarre, but not frightening
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.
6 line distinction
Dead men perform old tasks
Simile – their own limbs are foreign
Includes himself in the ghastly
Refers back to previous line
 His dead nephew works beside
Nothing more than the empty
shell of a body
 Unspeaking
'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:
Diversion away from the story back
to the Wedding, 5 lines distinction
Old English influence
“But not by the souls of the men, nor
by demons of earth or middle air, but
by a blessed troop of angelic
spirits, sent down by the invocation
of the guardian saint.”
For when it dawned--they dropped their arms,
 Proof to him that their bodies are
And clustered round the mast;
filled by angels
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
 Alliteration enhances the euphony
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.
Personification of the sounds of
their souls
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.
5 line distinction
The Mariner compares the singing to the spirits to
the singing of birds
 Reference back to birds; positive; birds
thought to be a good omen at sea
Skylark Symbolism
Associated with Christ, prayer
More alliteration of the “s” sound
Diction choice – delicate and beautiful
Singing is now compared to instruments
and a lonely flute using a simile, and a
angel’s song using a metaphor.
6 line distinction
Continued positive descriptions, pleasant
More “s” alliteration
Personification of the woods and of the sail’s
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.
Euphonic language
Double alliteration
Mystical: the boat is still moving without wind
Gloss: “The lonesome spirit from the southpole carries on the ship as far as the line, in
obedience to the angelic troop, but still
requireth vengeance. “
6 lines distinction, shows that a change is
Internal rhyme
His theory is that a spirit made the ship go
6 line distinction
When the ship crosses the equator, the
confusion returns
Personification of the ship
Fantastical events; the boat is moving
backwards and forwards
 Repetition highlights this
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.
How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.
'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.
Continued personification of the ship
Swound—Middle English, alteration of
Mariner is knocked unconscious by ship’s
unnatural movement
5 line distinction
Shows his confusion/disorientation
Are there really voices? Or is he imagining
it? – Reality vs surrealism
Gloss: “The Polar Spirits fellow-demons, the
invisible inhabitants of the element, take part in
his wrong; and two of them relate, one to the
other that penance long and heavy for the
ancient Mariner hath been accorded to the Polar
Spirit, who returneth southward.”
Religious reference - Jesus
Juxtaposition of his cruel deed against the
harmless Albatross
The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
Offers an explanation for why the spirit is
making the ancient mariner pay
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’
“The land of mist and snow” is frequently
repeated – refers to the frozen land they
passed through previously
The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, 'The man hath penance
And penance more will do.'
Penance- repentance of sins, Roman
In the beginning of Part V, the Mariner is finally able to fall asleep and
mercifully, rain falls and quenches his thirst. This marks what seems like the end of his
hellish punishment and a turn in fate for the Mariner. A mysterious wind, seen but
unfelt, blows the ship in the right direction - mystical natural elements like this and
the “fire-flags” straddle the line between surrealism and reality and give this part of the
poem a dream-like quality. Whether this is caused by the Mariner’s current physical
state or real elemental qualities is unclear.
The mariner’s dead crew mates rise up and begin to work the ship, moving it
forward. There is a quick break back to reality and the Wedding-Guest states his fear,
though it is apparent that he is also still in awe, and the story continues when he is
reminded that these were good spirits. Their angelic souls begin to swing from earth
into heaven, and they drop once again. Eyes appear again here as a motif - always
watching (and judging?) the Mariner.
Without her crew, the ship sails on with the help of the spirit below it. The
mariner falls when the ship is jerked forward unnaturally and eventually hears two
voices conversing about him. Crime and punishment remains a common theme here.
After identifying him, the softer of the two voices foreshadows that, though Part V
marks the turning point from the mariner’s punishment, his sentence has yet to be
fulfilled: 'The man hath penance done, / And penance more will do.'

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