Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Rime of the
Ancient Mariner
Part the Third
There passed a weary time. Each throat(140)
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.(145)
The ancient Mariner
beholdeth a sign in the
element afar off
At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist:
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!(150)
And still it neared and neared;
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.
Weary used four
represents time
Assonance with
‘e’ sound,
alliteration with
‘w’ sound
The Mariner sees
It takes form and
moves through
the water
Wist – to become
aware of
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could not laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!
At its nearer
approach, it seemeth
him to be a ship; and
at a dear ransom he
freeth his speech from
the bonds of thirst.
With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:(160)
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.
A flash of joy;
Unslaked – unsatiated
The heat and thirst are
He needed to announce what he
saw, so “at a dear ransom” he
freed his voice by drinking his
Repetition of “With throats
unslaked, with black lips baked”
reiterates monotony of life on a
doomed ship.
Jaws open, as that’s the only way
they can react
See! see! (I cried) she tacks no
Hither to work us weal;(165)
Without a breeze, without a
She steadies with upright keel!
And horror follows.
For can it be a ship
that comes onward
without wind or tide?
Tonal shift – Joy turns
to ominous feeling
Very odd for a ship to
completely steady
without any assistance
from anything.
The gloss questions
whether it’s possible for
a ship to do this.
This stanza marks the
start of gothic imagery.
The western wave was all a-flame
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave(170)
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove
Betwixt us and the Sun.
And straight the Sun was flecked
with bars,
(Heaven's Mother send us
As if through a dungeon-grate he
With broad and burning face.
It seemeth him but the
skeleton of a ship.
The sun reflects upon the water
As the sun sets
“western wave” “broad bright”
“strange shape”
The ‘ship’ comes between them and
the sun
It is a skeleton ship – gothic imagery
Mariner prays for help
“He” is death
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,(180)
Like restless gossameres!
A feeling of despair as the
ship approached
Gossameres – spider webs
More gothic imagery
Are those her ribs through
which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her
Is that a DEATH? and are there
Is DEATH that woman's mate?
And its ribs are seen
as bars on the face of
the setting Sun. The
Spectre-Woman and
her Death-mate, and
no other on board the
skeleton ship. Like vessel, like
The sun gleams through the
ship – a spooky image
The ship would be black
against the sun – a silhouette
Even more gothic, if possible
The sun symbolizes hope and
life. Death is blocking the sun.
Two horrors man the ship –
they are skeletal as well.
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was
Who thicks man's blood with cold
Repetition of ‘L’ sound
The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
“The game is done! I've won! I've won!”
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.(195)
The ship pulls up
Death looses the dice game
and gets the crew.
Life-in-Death wins and gets
the ancient Mariner
Death and Life-inDeath have diced for
the ship's crew, and she
(the latter) winneth
the ancient Mariner.
Disturbing description of
Death’s mate
“Yellow as gold” “white as
Humans have no control over
the natural world.
Crime and punishment: it
does not make sense.
The Sun's rim dips; the stars
rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o'er the
Off shot the spectre-bark.
No twilight within the
courts of the Sun.
The night comes unnaturally quick.
It sets the mood for what is about
to happen.
Darkness personified with the “stride”
We listened and looked sideways
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the
The steersman's face by his lamp
gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—(205)
Till clombe above the eastern bar
The hornéd Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.
At the rising of the Moon,
Longer stanza/Change in meter–
signals changing
of events
Gothic imagery- “my life blood seemed
To sip”
Image of “sipping blood” recalls Mariner
Drinking his own blood
Clombe- “climbed”
Nether = lower, under Netherworld
Colderidge restates obvious action but
Breaks it into parts to build suspense
One after one, by the star-dogged Moon
Too quick for groan or sigh,(210)
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.
Meter returns to
Men look at him and
grimace in blame
One after another,
Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,(215)
They dropped down one by one.
His shipmates drop
down dead.
Silently curse mariner
with eyes
Chilling silence from
dying men
Internal rhyme“thump” and “lump”
The souls did from their
bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me
Like the whiz of my crossbow!(220)
But Life-in-Death
begins her work on the
ancient Mariner.
The souls leave the
bodies of sailors
Fly away similar to the
departure of Death’s ship
Irony- souls flying past
feel like shots from a
crossbow, but it was his
actions with a crossbow
that cause the death on
the ship
References him shooting
the albatross
Life in Death starts to
exert her control over the
• While the previous section shows the beginnings of the
consequences of the Ancient Mariner’s actions, his true
punishment does not occur until this section. His encounter
with Death and Life-In-Death condemns him to a cursed life.
The dice game shows that humans are not always in control of
their fate, and much of life is left up to chance. The Mariner
does not have the power to change his circumstances,
showing his lack of free will.

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