The Rime of The Ancient Mariner: Line by Line Summary & Analysis

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      L. 1-8. An ancient Mariner has stopped one of the three guests who are going to a wedding party. The guest has resented it and asks why he has been stopped. He is anxious to go soon because he is a near relative of the bridegroom. He says that the reception has started, the guests have assembled and the feast has been arranged. The guest has enquired the Mariner with 'grey beard' and 'glittering eye' to tell him why he is being stopped.

      L. 9-12. The Mariner has caught him by the hand and began to tell his story. The Guest did not like this. He has asked him in anger to leave him and keep away. The Mariner immediately left his hand.

      L. 13-16. After releasing the hand the Mariner holds the Guest with his glittering eye. The Wedding-Guest is spellbound. He becomes helpless like a child and the Mariner has complete hold over him.

      L. 17-20. The Wedding-Guest is spellbound and is compelled to hear the story. He, therefore, sits on a stone and the old man begins his story.

      L. 21-24. As the ship set sail, people has cheered it and ha give in good wishes. The port is left behind and the ship begin to move with the tide. As it advances the church, the hill and the lighthouse disappear one after another.

      L. 25-28. The ship moves southwards. The sun rises on the left side from the horizon. It shines brightly and goes down on the right.

      L. 29-32. As they moves on, the sun rose higher and higher. At last when they reach the Equator, it appeares at noon right at the top. As the Mariner is telling this, the sound of musical instruments make the Wedding-Guest remember his relatives and the party. He feel very restless and beat his breast.

      L. 33-36. The guest remember the marriage ceremony that is been going on. The bride is as beautiful as a red rose. She has entered the hall. Before she has walked the musicians nodds their heads as they play on their instruments and sings.

      L. 37-40. The Wedding-Guest is impatient to leave but is helpless. Under the magic influence of the Mariner he has to listen to the tale that the old man continues to tell.

      L. 41-44. Soon after a furious and violent storm comes. It is very strong and has drove the ship up to the South Pole.

      L. 45-50. The blast is blowing fast and loud. Under its force the ship is driven southward very fast. The masts of the ship are bent forward so that it appears to be something fleeing before a cruel pursuer.

      L. 51-54. They have reached a region where there is a lot of mist. It abounds with icebergs. It is very cold. The icebergs are emerald green in colour and are as tall as the mast of the ship.

      L. 55-58. The snow-covered cliffs shine in a gloomy light; neither a human figure nor a beast is visible. Everywhere there is nothing but snow.

      L. 59-62. There is ice on all sides. The icebergs are cracking and a fierce sound is produced: These noises seems to be like the noises heard in a fainting fit or dream.

      L. 63-66. At last, an Albatross come through the mist. The Mariners welcomes it in the name of God as if it is a human being belonging to the Christian faith.

      L. 67-70. The Albatross has got food from the sailors. Such food it has never eaten before. It fly around the ship. As it do so the icebergs splits up and the way become clear for the ship. The steersman has guided the ship through the split ice.

      L. 71-74. A favourable south-wind begin to blow and drive the ship from behind. The bird is still following it. It become friendly with the mariners. Everyday it eat and play with them.

      L. 75-78. The bird come to the ship and sit on the mast or ropes at the time of evening prayers. It continues to do so for nine days. At night the moonlight has shone through the mist.

      L. 79-82. The Wedding — Guest sees sign of pain on the face of the Mariner and ask him the reason for it. The Mariner can not say much. In an abrupt manner, he state that he has killed the Albatross with his cross-bow.


      L. 83-86. As the ship has moved northward, the sun rises on the right and set in the sea on left. But all along it is hidden in the mist.

      L. 87-90. The beneficial south wind continues to blow from behind, but the bird is no longer there. It no longer responds to the mariner's call for it to have food or play.

      L. 91-96. The sailors accuses the Ancient Mariner of having committed a wicked crime which will bring trouble for all. They condemn his action for they have thought that the bird has brought the good breeze.

      L. 97-102. The fog clears and brilliant sunshine appears. As the sailors see this, they changes their attitude towards the killing of the Albatross. Now they have opined that the Albatross has brought the mist and fog and that killing such birds is right.

      L. 103-106. The wind is favourable and the white foam fly from the surface of the waler, and as the ship advances, leaves behind a clear track. They are the first people to have suddenly entered the great Pacific Ocean.

      L. 107-111. Suddenly the wind has stopped blowing and the sails of the ship has hung loosely. An atmosphere of utmost sadness has prevailed. There is complete silence all around. The only sound audible is made by the sailors speaking to one another.

      L. 111-114. It is extremely hot. The sky has changed colour to dull copper. At noon the sun is of blood red colour and it shines right on top of the ship. It appears to be no bigger than the moon.

      L. 115-118. For days together they can not move and remain stuck at one place. The wind do not blow and the ship do not move. It looks like the picture of a ship in the painting of an ocean.

      L. 119-122. Although there is water on all sides, it does not help the sailors. The wooden planks are contracting because of extreme heat. On the ship the supply of drinking water is exhausted and more is not available even though there is water all around them.

      L. 123-126. Even the sea begins to rot. Repulsive creatures can be seen crawling about with ugly legs on the sticky and muddy-looking water.

      L. 127-130. Round about the ship death-fires shines. The fires are of different colours and looks like the fire produces when the witches burnt oils for their evil incantations.

      L. 131-134. Some of the sailors has dreamt that they are victims of a revenge of the Polar Spirit which has been following them nine fathom deep in the sea since the Albatross has been killed in the land of mist and snow.

      L. 135-138. There is no water to drink. The sailors' tongues has dried at the very root. It is not possible to speak. They feel as if they are suffocated by smoke.

      L. 139-142. What a sad day it is! young and old, all the sailors looks at the Ancient Mariner with anger. They have hung the dead Albatross round his neck in the place of the cross.


      L. 143-148. They have passed a very tiresome time. Their throats are dry and the eyes of the sailors has looked glassy. When the Ancient Mariner has looked westward, he see some object, 'but he can not properly make out its shape.

      L. 149-152. The thing at first seems merely a small spot Then it looks like a patch of mist. Gradually as it is moved nearer, it takes on a definite shape.

      L. 153-156. Certainly, the tiling is developed from a spot and a mist to a definite shape, as the Ancient Mariner lookes at it. It is coming nearer still. The way it moves in a zig-zag manner suggests that it is trying to escape some spirit of the water.

      L. 157-161. The throats and lips of the sailors are dried up because of heat and thirst. As such they can neither laugh nor weep. Finding no other way the Mariner has bit his arm and moistened his throat with his own blood. He then cries out that a ship is approaching them.

      L. 162-166. With dry throats and lips they have looked with surprise at the Ancient Mariner when he has announced the approach of the ship. They have thanked God for mercy. They can not speak but have showed their teeth in joy. They draw in their breath as if they have already drank water.

      L. 167-170. The Mariner has pointed out to his companions that the ship is no longer changing her course. It is coming to do good to them. The surprising thing is that it is moving steadily without the help of wind or tide.

      L. 171-176. The day has almost come to an end. The western horizon is filled with the colour of the twilight. The broad sun stood on the western horizon. At that moment the strange thing has come in between the sun and their ship.

      L. 177-180. Immediately, the sun seems to be streak with bars. It looks like a prisoner peeping from behind the prison gate with a broad and red face. The Mariners prays to Virgin Mary for mercy.

      L. 181-184. The skeleton-ship is advancing fast. The Ancient Mariner's heart beat fast. He is surprised to see its sails which looks like moving cobwebs shining in the sunlight.

      L. 185-189. The Mariner has noticed with horror the thin masts and boards of the skeleton ship. The sun has peeped through them like a prisoner. He has noticed only one person - a woman on the ship. He has wondered whether that is the only crew. Then he has noticed another like Death and wonders whether it is the mate of the woman.

      L. 190-194. The women has red lips, a bold, immodest look and hair as yellow as gold. Her skin has a whiteness similar to that of the disease leprosy. She is the horrible spirit Life-in-Death who, like a dreadful dream, freezes any man's blood.

      L. 195-198. When the skeleton-ship come alongside their ship, the Mariner see that the two in the ship are playing at dice. The winner is to get the Ancient Mariner and the loser, the rest of the crew. Life-in-Death exclaims that she has won the Mariner and has whistled thrice in the joy of victory.

      L. 199-202. The Sun goes down into the waters of the sea. The stars appears in the sky and the darkness has covered the world with a suddenness. The skeleton ship has disappeared quickly with a whispering sound heard from a distance.

      L. 203-211. They have heard the sound from a distance and looks sideways out of fear. The Ancient Mariner feel as if fear are drinking his lifeblood from his heart as a man drinks from a cup; i.e. he is overwhelmed by fear. The darkness become more dense. In the light of the lamp the face of the steersman is shining white. The dew drops from the sails. The crescent moon rises above the eastern horizon with one bright star within its lower end.

      L. 212-215. In the light of the moon it is closely followed by a star, each sailor has turned towards the mariner with pain. They cast cursing glances at him. It all happens with such quickness that they can neither groan nor sigh.

      L. 216-219. Two hundred of his companions is falling down dead. They are dropping one by one without sighing or groaning.

      L. 220-223. They all are dead and their souls fly either to heaven or to hell. As they have died the Mariner is reminded of his crime-their souls are passed by him with the same sound of the cross-bow like that makes when he has killed the Albatross.


      L. 224-227. The Wedding—Guest after hearing about the death of sailors, is afraid. He tell the Ancient Mariner that he fears his thin and brown and wrinkled body. He fears that the Mariner is a ghost.

      L. 228-231. The Guest has repeated that he has feared the Mariner's shining eyes and wrinkled hand. The Ancient Mariner allay his fear and tell him that he himself is not one of the dead.

      L. 232-235. The Mariner is absolutely alone on that vast ocean. His soul is in bitter pain and no saint has took pity on him.

      L. 236-239. All the sailors, beautiful human beings, are lying dead. In contrast, the ugly creatures of the sea are living; just like them the Mariner too live on.

      L. 240-243. The Mariner sees the sea. It is rotting. He can not bear the sight and turns away his eyes. Nothing beautiful can be seen because the deck also looks horrible, being covered with dead bodies.

      L. 242-247. The Mariner looks towards the sky and tries to pray. But he can not pray. Evil thoughts has hardened his heart and has made him incapable of praying.

      L. 248-252. The Marmer has closed his eyes and has kept them closed. His eyeballs are throbbing with weariness. Everything around seems to lie like a heavy burden on his eyelids. All around him on the deck are lying the dead bodies of the sailors.

      L. 253-256. Cold perspiration is coming out of the dead bodies. They are neither decaying nor giving out a foul smell. There is a cold curse in their open eyes which he can not forget.

      L. 257-262. The curse of an orphan can pull down an angel from heaven to hell. But the curse in the eyes of a dead man is more horrible than that. The Mariner see that curse for seven days continuously, yet can not have the relief of death.

      L. 263-266. The moon continues its journey in the sky. It does not stop anywhere, nor is it disturbed. There are one or two stars by its side.

      L. 267-271. The cool white rays of the moon has spread over the red hot sea like frozen dew covering the land in April. But in the shadow of the ships where the moonlight do not reach, the sea water is under a charm and looks fearfully red.

      L. 272-276. Beyond the shadow of the ship, the Mariner see the water snakes playing. In the moonlight the lines has formed on water by their movement looks brilliantly white. When they raise their heads shining white beads of water falls off into the sea like white flakes of light.

      L. 277-281. Within the shadow of the ship the Mariner see the rich colours of the snakes. They are brilliant green and black in colour. As they move and swim, they produce tracks in the water. Moonlight lit up these tracks and make them look like flashes of golden light.

      L. 282-287. The Mariner has appreciated the beauty and joy of those creatures which is beyond description. He is filled with love for them and has blessed them spontaneously. It seems that some kind saint has at last taken pity on him and has enabled him to bless those creatures.

      L. 288-291. As soon as the Mariner has blessed the snakes, the chain of the curse begins to break. He is able to pray. The Albatross, that is hanging like a heavy curse, fall from his neck and sink into the sea.


      L. 292-296. Sleep is a blessing. It soothes and refreshes man. That is why people all over the world love it. The Mariner has praised Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven, who has sent sleep to him. At last, he can sleep without effort.

      L. 297-300. The Mariner has dreamt that the buckets which has remained empty so far, are filled with rain drops. When he awake from sleep, rain fell.

      L. 301-304. The dryness of his throat has gone and his lips are wet. All his clothes are wet with rain. He feel as if he has been drinking in his sleep and his body is still enjoying the bath.

      L. 305-308. Now as he has moved he feel very light. It makes him feel that has he is a new man. He almost think that he has died in sleep and is only a happy spirit in heaven.

      L. 309-312. The Mariner hear shortly afterward the loud noise of the wind. It do not come near the ship. The sails however begin to move under its effect because they are thin and dry.

      L. 313-317. There is commotion and movement in the upper air. Flashes of lightning are seen moving back and forth. In between these flashes are to be seen the dim stars appearing and disappearing.

      L. 318-321. The wind nears and roars louder. The sails moves and produces a sighing sound like the sound produced by the reed-like grasses. Heavy rain fell from a dense dark cloud on the border of which has shone the bright moon.

      L. 322-326. The dark cloud is broken up in two, but at its side is the moon. The lightning flashes as if it is a broad river of water falling unbroken from the top of a high cliff.

      L. 327-330. The howling wind do not reach the ship, but the ship is moving forward. The lightning flashes and the moon shine. The dead men suddenly begains to groan.

      L. 331-334. The dead men has groan and move. Then all of them stand up. It is a most amazing sight. One will not believe it even in a dream.

      L. 335-340. Although no wind has blown, the ship is moving. The steersman has guided the ship and the other sailors has also started to work at their posts. They are moving their limbs as if they are lifeless machines. All of them has formed a dreadful group of sailors.

      L. 341-344. The Mariner's nephew is one of the crew. His has reanimated body stand beside the Mariner, and works at the same rope but without speaking a word.

      L. 345-349. On hearing the account of the reanimation of the bodies, the Wedding-Guest again get frightened. The Ancient Mariner has stayed his fear and tells him that the souls of those men do not return to the bodies. What inspire them, are some heavenly spirits.

      L. 350-353. When it is early morning, the arms of the bodies fall and all of them has gathered around the mast. They are being worked by spirits. As the spirits has passed out of the bodies sweet sounds has come out of the mouths of the dead sailors.

      L. 354.-357. Each sweet sound hovers about the ship for some — time and then rushes upwards straight. Then these sounds come back slowly. Sometimes they come in groups and sometimes, one by one.

      L. 358-361. Sometimes the sweet song of the skylark came to the Mariner's ears. Sometimes he feels that all the birds of the world has come together and are filling all the atmosphere with their sweet song.

      L. 363-366. The music is of a varying nature. Sometimes, it is like that of an orchestra and sometimes, like that of a single flute. At times it sounds like an angelic choir so compelling in power that has made even the heavens silent.

      L. 367-372. The sweet sounds of the angels stops but still the sails of the ship continues a sort of music till noon. It is like the quiet music of wood-stream producing a sweet murmur in the quiet of the night.

      L. 373-376. Till noon they moves on quietly although there is still no wind. The ship moves on, being propelled from below.

      L. 377-382. Nine fathom deep under the main mast of the ship is moving the Polar Spirit. That is making the ship move forward. At noon the sails of the ship has stopped their music. The ship also come to a standstill.

      L. 383-388. The sun stand exactly above the mast and the ship stand motionless on the ocean. Very soon it begin to move unsteadily. It moves awkwardly back and forth half its length.

      L. 389-392. Then it take a sudden jerk like an impatient horse that has been let loose. Because of this the blood has rushed to the Mariner's head and he fell down unconscious.

      L. 393-397. The Mariner can not tell how long he lay in that state of unconsciousness. But before he regains consciousness he clearly hear two voices in his mind.

      L. 398-401. The first voice is referred to the Ancient Mariner and ask in the name of Christ whether he is the man who has killed the innocent Albatross.

      L. 402-405. The Polar Spirit live alone in the land of mist and snow. That Spirit love the Albatross. The bird love the Mariner who, instead of returning the love, has killed him.

      L. 406-409. The other is the voice of Mercy. It is gentler. It says that the man has suffered for the crime and will undergo more suffering.



      L. 410-413. The First Voice (Justice) request Mercy to gently reply to two questions: (1) How the ship is moving fast? and (2) What the ocean is doing?

      L. 414-417. The Second Voice replies that there is no wind on the ocean. It is as calm and quiet as a slave before his master. At that moment the ocean is busy absorbing the light of the moon.

      L. 418-421. The ocean seem to be looking to the moon as if to receive orders as it is the moon who directs the sea in calm as well as in storm. Mercy points out to Justice the kindness with which the moon is looking at the ocean.

      L. 422-425. Justice ask why the ship is moving so fast when there is neither wave nor wind to help it? Mercy replies that it is because the air pressure has been decreased in front and increased behind the ship.

      L. 426-429. Mercy further says that they must fly away otherwise they will be late, because on the Mariner's waking up the speed of the ship will slow down.

      L. 430-433. The Mariner wakes and found the ship moving as smoothly as in calm weather. It is a peaceful night and the moon is shining. The dead men are standing in a group.

      L. 434-437. All the dead bodies are on the deck although they are really fit for a cell for keeping dead bodies. The eyes of the dead are still fixed on the Mariner and they are shilling in the bright moonlight.

      L. 438-441. The dead bodies has still retained the signs of pain and the curse with which the men has died. The Mariner can not look away. It is impossible for him to look up for prayers.

      L. 442-445. Now, at last, the spell broke and once again the Mariner has the ocean in its natural colour. He see far into the distance but does not find what he has seen at another time.

      L. 446-451. The Mariner feel like a man journeying on some lonely path in fear-like one who has turned his head once to look back but is afraid to do so again, because he suspects that he is being followed by some evil spirit.

      L. 452-455. Very soop the Mariner feel a wind blowing. It is so subtle that it produces neither sound nor motion. It leaves no track on the sea or ripples in the water. Even the shades in the water do not change.

      L. 456-459. The wind has lifted his hair and has gently stroked his cheeks. It is as fresh as the wind blowing over the meadows. The gentleness of the wind is accompanied by his fears. It has a pleasing effect.

      L. 460-463. The ship has moved fast but gently. The gentle breeze has blown only on the Mariner and on nothing else.

      L. 464-467. The Mariner see before him the light house, the hill and the church of his own land. It is too good to be believed. He considers it a joyful dream and has wondered whether he has really reached his native land.

      L. 468-471. The ship sails over the harbour bay. The Mariner weep convulsively and prays to God. He wishes that either what is viewed by him shall be real or he may go on dreaming forever.

      L. 472-475. The water in the bay is so calm and clear that it looks like a sheet of glass. On the coast is spread the moonlight and the water has reflected the moon.

      L. 476-479. The hill and the church is standing on its top are shining in the light of the Moon. There is deep silence prevailing and the weather-cock stands unmoving.

      L. 480-483. Calm and peaceful white moonlight spreads all over the bay. From it appears some reflections of crimson colour.

      L. 484-487. Those shadows are at a little distance in front of the ship. Then the Mariner looks towards the deck of the ship. He is surprised to see strange things there.

      L. 488-491. He see that all the dead bodies are lying flat on the deck. He is awe-struck to see that near each dead body there stand a bright angel.

      L. 492-495. The angels are waving their hands. It is a heavenly sight. Standing there they are like signals for people on land.

      L. 496-499. The angels only moves their hands. They do not produce any sound. But this silence is soothing. It has impressed the Mariner like sweet music.

      L. 500-503. Very soon he has heard the sound of oars being worked and also encouraging words of the Pilot which has given him hopes of rescue. But by some force his head has turned in another direction where he see a boat.

      L. 504-507. The boat carrying the Pilot and the Pilot's boy is coming fast towards the Mariner's ship. He is over-joyed to see them. The joy is too great to be interfered with even by the sight of the dead bodies on the deck.

      L. 508-513. In the boat, there is a Hermit too who has composed and has sang hymns in his solitary abode. His voice has given the Mariner further hope that he will hear his confession and absolve him of the crime of killing the Albatross.


      L. 514-518. This pious Hermit has lived in the forest which come up to the sea. While praying he raises his sweet voice. He is very fond of talking to the sailors who has came from far off lands.

      L. 519-522. The Hermit has offered prayers thrice a day-morning noon and evening. An oak-stump has covered by moss served as his cushion.

      L. 523-526. As the boat has come near the Mariner hear their talk. They have come on the signals given by the fair luminous angels. They are surprised not to find them.

      L. 527-537. The Hermit, too, has astonished by the disappearance of the angels. They have not even responded to their shout of joy. Moreover the boards of the ship has seemed to have shrunk and the sails are too thin and dry. The Hermit says that he has never seen anything like them except the brown dry leaves that floats along the stream in the forest in the autumn season when the ivy bush is covered with snow and the young owls has hooted to reproach the wolf which eats its cubs.

      L. 538-541. The Pilot replies that the whole thing has the look of an evil spirit and that he is afraid. The Hermit has encouraged him and asks him to move ahead.

      L. 542-545. The boat comes near the ship but the Mariner neither speak nor moves. As the boat has came just near the ship a loud sound has heard.

      L. 546-549. The sound became louder and more dreadful under the water. It reaches the ship and cause an opening in the water under it. As it has happened, the ship sink like a heavy burden.

      L. 550-555. The Mariner become almost unconscious at the occurrence of the loud sound which has shook the sky and the ocean. After the ship has sank, he do not draw but floats on the water like a decomposed dead body. He is, however, quickly taken into the Pilot's boat.

      L. 556-559. A whirlpool has formed where the ship has sank. The boat is moving over it in a circular motion. All round there is complete silence except for an echo in the hills.

      L. 560-563. The Mariner has moved his lips to speak to them. The Pilot gets frightened, shrieks and falls down unconscious. The Hermit too has raised his eyes towards the sky and begin to pray immediately from the place where he is sitting.

      L. 564-569. The Ancient Mariner begin to row the boat. The servant of the Pilot has gone mad because of the fear that he is in the presence of the Devil. He goes on laughing and rolling his eyes. Then he says that he clearly see the Devil rowing the boat.

      L. 570-573. Now the Mariner has reached his own country and is standing on its firm land. The Hermit comes out of the boat but even he is so frightened that he can not stand properly.

      L. 574-577. The Mariner has appealed to the holy man to save him. He, at first, crosses his throw and then has asked the Mariner to say what kind of man he is.

      L. 578-581. As soon as the Hermit has asked him the Mariner feels an extreme pain inside him. It compells him to relate his story only after which he has felt relieved.

L. 582-585. From that time onwards at some moments suddenly he feel the agony. The burning sensation and pain has continued till he has related his story.

      L. 586-590. Just like the night, the Mariner has travelled from country to country. He has developed an uncommon power of story-telling. He can recognise the person who will listen to him as soon as he see his face. Then he tell him the tale and has also taught him the moral.

      L. 591-596. Loud sound of music is heard. They are coming from the wedding-hall where the ceremonies are going on. The bride is in the garden where her maids are singing. Just then comes the sound of the church bell and the Mariner feels as if he is being called for evening prayer.

      L. 597-600. The Mariner tells the Wedding-Guest that he has been alone in the midst of a vast ocean. It is so lonely that even God has not seemed to be present there.

      L. 601-604. The Ancient Mariner tells the Wedding-Guest that he like going to the church with good people much more than attending a marriage.

      L. 605-609. The Mariner continues that it is a great pleasure to walk to the church with other people and to pray with them. It is nice that old and young men and women, all shall together bend in prayer before God.

      L. 610-613. The Mariner has bade farewell to the Wedding-Guest. Before going he has told him that real prayer lay in loving all men and birds and beasts.

      L. 614-617. The best prayer is to love all the creatures of God. God has made them as He has made men and He loves all equally.

      L. 618-621. The Mariner who has a bright eye and a grey beard has gone away. After that the Wedding-Guest do not go to the marriage but has gone away from the house of marriage.

      L. 622-625. The Wedding-Guest leaves the place like a person is deprived of his thought and sense. Next morning when he gets up he is a wiser and a sadder man.


      L. 1-4. Ancient Mariner—Coleridge uses the word 'ancient' not merely to signify extreme old age but also to lend some supernatural charm. Anything which is very old and very distant has got some unearthliness about it. Note the abrupt beginning. One of three — one of the three wedding guests, whom he chooses particularly to listen to his tale. Note that "three" has a mystical significance. By thy long grey beard....eye — In the name of your long grey beard and bright eyes. 'Long grey beard' and 'glittering eye' are touches of mystery. At the same time these terms give a vividness to the description of the old man. 'Glittering eye' is a mark of sharp intelligence or of great will power which the ancient Mariner exercises over the wedding guest. These striking features are referred to again and again in the poem, wherefore — why. - why do you detain me? It is not a mere inquiry but an expression of annoyance, impatience, nervousness and also a consciousness of some coming mystery yet to be revealed.

      L. 5-8. The Bridegroom's ... wide — i.e., the marriage party is eagerly waiting for the wedding guests. The statement also reflects the impatience of the wedding guest. I am next of kin — I am very closely related to the bridegroom, and hence, it is all the more necessary for me to join the marriage party as early as possible, the feast is set — the marriage dinner is laid on the table. May'st hear the merry din — you can hear the noise made by the marriage party who are enjoying the happy function, din-confused noise. The guests are met...merry din — This is an other dramatic touch of the poet to express the impatience of the wedding guest.

      L. 9-12. Holds him-detain him, skinny hand-bony and thin hand. He holds him....hand - It is not the skinny hand but the will power of the ancient Mariner that detains the wedding guest, quoth-said. Note how the old man begins his story without heeding the guest's words. This is another weird touch. Hold off - Take off your hands, unhand me — leave me or take your hand off me. loon-a mean or worthless fellow or a rascal. Eftsoons-soon afterwards or immediately. The archaic phraseology suggests the atmosphere of by-gone days. However, in the very next line we will be told that he has got a great will-power by which he can detain the wedding guest as he actually-holds him with his glittering eye. 

      L. 13-16. He holds him... eye. — The ancient Mariner like a hypnotist detains the wedding guest by merely looking at him fixedly and by exercising his will-power. The guest is fascinated into listening to the old Mariner. Listens like a three years child — listens most helplessly or with the greatest possible attention, with the docility of a three-year old child. The change in the wedding guest's attitude is complete. (These two lines were Wordsworth's contribution). The Mariner hath his will — The Mariner has got his way in detaining as well as in compelling the wedding guest to listen to his story.

      L. 17-20. Sat on a stone — This is a natural touch. Besides, sitting signifies complete surrender on the part of the wedding guest to the will of the Mariner. He cannot choose but hear — the wedding guest is compelled to listen to the ancient Mariner though in the beginning he was in a hurry to "attend the marriage party. Spoke on-continued relating the story, bright-eyed — this is a synonym for 'glittering eye' signifying the uncanny look and the will power of the Mariner.

      L. 21-24. The Ship was cheered - The friends and relatives who came to see off the sailors and passengers on the ship bade them farewell and wished them a prosperous voyage. The harbour cleared — the ship got out of the harbour. Merrily did we drop - With a joyous heart or with a favourable wind we put out to sea with the ebbing tide, kirk—church. Again an archaic word. Note the abrupt and dramatic way of beginning the story. The realism and vividness of the description here will help us to believe the fantastic happenings that are to follow. In truth it is a voyage from the world of reality into the world of imagination.

      L. 25-28. upon the left — i.e. in the east which was on the left side of the ship as she left the harbour and got out into the open sea. Out of the sea came he — This is a realistic touch. Those who have gone on a voyage must have seen how the sun seems to rise exactly Out of the sea where the sky and the sea seem to meet. On the right...the sea — i.e., set in the west, which was on the right side of the ship. The whole stanza is beautiful for the simplicity of language. The ship is apparently travelling southwards.

      L. 29-32. Higher and noon—the sun rose higher and higher in the sky till he shone exactly over the head i.e., reached the meridian. It also indicates the ship nearing the equator where the sun gets more and more overhead, beat his breast—expressed his impatience and helplessness. It is a realistic touch, he heard the loud bassoon—he heard the music of the marriage party. A bassoon is a wind instrument producing a deep sound. 

      L. 33-36. paced into the hall — stepped into the hail. Red as a rose is she — she is beautiful as a rose i.e., exceedingly beautiful. Nodding their...goes — tossing their heads to music as they pass through the half before the bride. The merry minstrelsy — the joyous band of musicians.

      L. 37-40. This stanza is a repetition of the lines in the preceding stanza as is the case with all ballad poetry.

      L. 41-44. Storm Blast—sudden gust of violent wind or stormy weather, he was tyrannous and strong — The storm is personified. The storm was exceedingly powerful and violent or destructive. He struck....wings — The storm swept at a higher speed than that of the ship and hence, it overtook the ship very easily - The storm is described as a bird of prey, chased us south along — i.e., drove our ship southwards.

      L. 45-50. With sloping masts and dipping prow—Some of the annotators have wrongly taken "sloping masts" in the sense of "bent masts" and have explained that due to the heavy wind the masts are bent. However, if the masts are bent by the force of the wind they will positively break because they are made of such wood which cannot be bent without being broken. The masts look sloping because the ship itself bends forward with the rolling waves of the sea in a stormy weather. Prow is the fore part of a ship or boat. When the wind is heavy and strong and the waves rise high, the ship is rocked continually on the rolling waves, and naturally, the fore part is actually dipped into the water every time the ship descends from the crest of a rolling wave, with yell and blow — with shouts and threats of violence and blows because in the case of the ship, it is being actually struck by the wind. Still treads foe — i.e., is so closely followed by the enemy that the enemy's shadow falls on the victim and the victim treads the shadow, drove fast—moved with speed pushed by the storm, aye — all the time. The lines draw a vivid picture of the progress of the ship in a heavy storm.

      L. 51-54. wondrous cold — exceedingly cold. Ice mast-high — huge blocks of ice (better known as icebergs) as tall as the ship's mast, emerald—a precious stone, bright green in colour. The ship has now entered the polar region, the land of mist and snow.

      L. 55-58. drifts — currents. It may be used in the case of water, snow or rain. Here it stands for the heavy currents or gusts of wind and rain mixed with snow, snowy clifts — 'Clifts' has been variously interpreted as cliff, i.e., rocks or as clefts or openings, in the icebergs or in the storm, or as icebergs themselves, dismal sheen—gloomy and fearful brightness, shapes of men - forms of human beings, ken—discern; make out. The ice was all between—The ice was lying everywhere. 

      L. 59-62. It cracked...howled - An example of onomatopoeia in which the sound signifies the sense. The sound of cracking and growling, roaring and howling gives us an exact picture of the icebergs crashing against one another. Like noises in a swound - Swound is archaic for swoon, or fainting fit. Whether it is a fact or not, people believe that when one is in a fainting fit or in a state of unconsciousness, one hears confused voices or sounds. The line adds to the supernatural atmosphere of the scene. Besides, "just as the intense cold forms so marked a contrast with the fiery heat of the coming scene to which all this is but leading, so do these fearful noises prepare, by contrast, for the fearful silence to follow". (P.T. Creswell)

      L. 63-66. At length-after, a long time, did cross - i.e., appeared. Albatross - a very large seabird found mostly in the tropics particularly in the south of Cape of Good Hope. The Albatross looks much like a goose though it is much bigger than a goose. Thorough-through. As if it had God's name - We heartily welcomed the Albatross as if it was a human being with divine associations. Of course, on a long voyage, even birds are welcome because there is no other life visible except the passengers and the crew. The coming of the Albatross is mysterious and sudden, hailed-greeted. It should be noted that every word in the line will be contradicted afterwards by the Mariner's conduct.

      L. 67-70. It ate the — The Albatross took human food as it was offered by the sailors, and hence, the food it took from the hands of the sailors was something which it had never formerly eaten, split—break to pieces, thunder-fit—loud sound resembling the peals of thunder. The Mariner's belief is that it was because of the appearance of the Albatross that the ice began to split. This is of course a superstitious belief which is perfectly in keeping with the supernatural atmosphere of the scene. The helmsman.....through—as the ice broke up the ship sailed on easily.

      L. 71-74. sprung up behind—began to blow from behind to move the ship forward hollo-cry or call. For food hollo — whenever the sailors called the Albatross either to take food from their hands or to play, it at once responded to their call.

      L. 75-78. shroud — ropes from the mast head fastened to ship's side. This word is significant here. 'Shroud' generally means the winding sheet or cloth for the dead body. The poet uses it probably to strike the keynote of the coming death of the sailors and the sails serving as a shroud for them. The word add just a touch of horror anticipating the scene which is yet to be unrolled, vespers nine — nine evenings. Nine is a mystic number like 3, 7,13 etc., which also helps to add to the supernatural atmosphere of the scene. Usually 'vesper' is used for 'evening prayer.' Again the association of divinity with the bird, fog-smoke white—fog which looks like thick white smoke. Glimmered—glittered or sparkled or shone brightly.

      L. 79-82. fiends—devils or evil spirits. The word suggests that something evil prompted the Mariner to shoot the bird, plague thee thus—torture you so much. Why look'st thou so? — Why do you look so pale and horrified? God save thee....thou so?' The wedding guest notices in the face of the ancient Mariner marks of extreme pain fear and horror-ball of which are due to the Mariners consciousness of sin for having killed the Albatross, which he confesses in the next line, With my cross-bow...AIbatross - How dramatically and how briefly the Mariner describes the climax of the story, namely, the killing of the Albatross, which in itself may be a trifling incident but is full of significance in the context of the story. The first part of the poem ends with a direct reference to the wanton act of killing the Albatross.

      L. 83-86. Practically a repetition of L. 25-28 in Part I except the reversal in the direction of the sun and the ship. Having doubled Cape Horn, the ship is sailing northward. 

      L. 87-90. We notice how earlier events are repeated with significant changes - the Albatross is not there nor does it come for food or to play to the Mariner's call.

      L. 91-96. a hellish thing — a mean and cruel act, namely, the killing of innocent Albatross, it would work 'em woe — The killing of the Albatross would bring some kind of misfortune to the sailors, zem — them, averred — asserted, declared. I had killed...breeze to blow — Mark the superstition of the sailors; they unanimously believed that the wind ceased to blow simply because the Albatross had been killed by the ancient Mariner. Ah, wretch — the sailors curse the ancient Mariner and call him a miserable creature.

      L. 97-102. Nor dim nor red — neither very faint nor extremely bright. Like God's own head — as bright and glorious as God itself. Every God or saint is painted with a halo round his head probably because brightness is considered as a mark of purity or holiness, glorious sun — bright sun. uprist — rose up. Then all averred mist — Mark how the sailors are fickle-minded. A moment ago they declared that the Albatross was a bird of good omen and hence it was a sin to have killed such a bird. But now that the mist and fog have cleared they declare exactly the opposite thing. This shows that they do not judge things by any moral standard but by the standard of utility or selfishness. As often as the omens change, so often do the sailors change their minds. Thus, the sailors make themselves accomplices in the crime along with the ancient Mariner and suffer no less than he. What is more, do they not have the redeeming feature of consistency.

      L. 103-106. These lines are often quoted to illustrate the use of alliteration - a figure of speech in which the first letter of each of the words in the same line has the same sound, and it has a musical effect upon the ear. Mark breeze and blew; foam and flew; furrow, followed and free; first and burst, silent and sea. The lines reflect the swift movement of the ship, furrow - a track cut out by the ship in the water as it moves forward. The furrow followed free - the water was easily cut by the ship because there was no ice to block the passage and a fair wind pushed at the sails, that ever burst - who ever appeared or sailed. The ship has entered the Pacific Ocean. A new phase has begun but it has been introduced without fanfare, smoothly, as if the listener too knows all about 'that silent sea'.

      L. 107-110. Down dropt.....dropt down - the wind ceased to blow and consequently, the sails hung still. 'T was sad...could be - The whole situation was miserable because the ship was stranded in mid-ocean without wind or wave. We did speak....of the sea - We spoke only to forget the monotony or wretchedness of the situation. Besides, there being no sound of wind or wave it was a relief for words to break that silence. Note how the quality of stillness is conveyed by the slow, rhythmic movement of the verse. A sense of helplessness is created by the halting lines.

      L. 111-114. All — used for emphasis a hot and copper sky — When the sun shines brightly at noon, the whole sky looks like a sheet of heated copper. (The Mariner's guilt and the fate of the ship are closely linked to nature's mood) The bloody sun — the red-coloured sun. Of course, the sun never looks bloody at noon. Mark the contrast with the 'glorious sun' in Line 98. Right up...did stand — the sun always reaches the meridian at noon and noon is also the hottest period in the tropical countries. No bigger than the moon — i.e., as small as the moon.

      L. 115-118. Day after — The repetition of the words signifies monotony of the situation. We stuck — our ship stood motionless, nor breath nor motion — neither wind nor tide. As idle as...painted ocean — As motionless as a ship in a painting. These are famous lines perfectly picturising a becalmed ship on a completely still ocean.

      L. 119-122. All the boards did shrink — the wooden planks of the ship contracted or got warped due to extreme heat. Water, drink — the idea is that there was plenty of water in the sea but it was not drinkable.

      L. 123-126. The very deep did rot — The sea was so still that it began to rot. A stagnant pond, for instance, rots. The poetic exaggeration conveys the horror of the situation. O Christ...should be — O God, that such a dreadful thing should happen! This is an appeal to God for mercy and help. Yea—Yes: used for emphasis, slimy things — slippery and hateful creatures covered in mud. Crawl with legs — Move slowly in the mud that is the sea. The lines convey hideousness of the spectacle. It is an expression of hatred and loathing for creatures of the sea or for the lower creations of God. The idea is that it is only the sinner who hates God's creations while the pious soul loves all creatures, great and small. 

      L. 127-130. reel and rout — a whirling and confused motion, as of a dance, death-fires — The phosphorescent light which is common at night in the sea, as they are generated by a kind of sea-fish. Witch's oils — ingredients which the witches use for magic preparations. The reader must be reminded of the witches and their boiling cauldrons in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

      L. 131-134. Some in dreams assured were — Some of the sailors in a state of half-wakefulness were convinced. The spirit — the Polar Spirit who felt offended at the killing of the Albatross and who wanted to avenge the bird, plagued — tortured. Nine fathom deep — much below the water. Note again the use of 'nine' a mystical number.

      L. 135-138. through utter drought — through extreme dryness, withered at the root — was absolutely dry. Choked with soot — suffocated or filled with smoke particles i.e., unable to speak.

      L. 139-142. Ah! well-a-day! — Alas! an expression of distress and despair. What evil looks...young! — The Mariner means to say that though the sailors kept quiet and could not speak at all, their very looks cursed him bitterly. Instead of the cross....was hung — the Cross is holy to the Christians because it is an emblem of Christ who died on the Cross for man's salvation. Christians wear the Cross round their neck as a protection against evil influences. Here the Mariner says that instead of the Cross he was made to wear the dead body of the Albatross round his neck. The dead body of the Albatross here represents the curse of the Mariners and the punishment for the crime of having killed the bird. The sailors by this act fix the sole responsibility of the sin on the old Mariner. Like Part I, this part too ends with a significant reference.

      L. 143-148. Weary time — a tedious and miserable time, glazed — glassy. When the eyes are fixed and motionless due to fear or horror they look glassy or glazed. A weary time! a weary time! — The words are repeated here for the sake of emphasis. It adds to the intensity of suffering. I the sky — I saw some strange sign at a distance. This sign on a nearer view was found to be a skeleton ship. This indefinite term- a something' is used only to mystify the situation. 

      L. 149-152. Speck, — a small point or dot. A mist — a larger shadow as compared with a speck, but the outlines of the shape not yet clear. A certain shape —some form or other or a definite form, wist — knew. The lines describe the slow approach of a ship from the distance. Things at a great distance appear like a speck or a small point but as they draw nearer and nearer they appear bigger and bigger to the view and also more well-marked and definite in their form.

      L. 153-156. dodged — tried to avoid or escape. Water-sprite — water spirit. The superstitious mind believes that all the elements of nature-earth, air, water, fire, ether - are presided over by deities or spirits. The elements of supernatural is reinforced. Plunged — went deep into the water, tacked and veered — changed course by turning against or with the wind. The object moved in a zig-zag manner. How unusual in a becalmed ocean.

      L. 157-161. unslaked — unmoistened. Black lips baked — lips parched by heat and thirst wail — cry out with pain. I bit my arm...blood — The ancient Mariner moistened his throat with his blood in order to speak, a sail — a ship was visible.

      L. 162-166, With throats....baked — A repetition of the first line in the preceding stanza for the sake of emphasis. Agape—with mouth wide open i.e., with wonder and curiosity. Gramercy—great mercy; many thanks to God. They for joy did grin — The sailors when they heard of the ship tried to laugh with joy but because they had lost their power of speech due to extreme thirst, they simply opened their lips a little and showed their teeth partly so that their expression of joy mixed with a feeling of pain was more like a grin than like a smile, all at once their breath...drinking all — The sailors thought that the ship visible at a distance was bringing water for them, and hence they mechanically drew a long breath fancying that they were actually drinking water. A remarkable psychological and pathetic touch to indicate the feelings of the suffering sailors.

      L. 167-171. she tacks no more — the ship is not changing her course anymore i.e., she is coining straight forward. Hither to work us weal — The ship is coming here in order to give us relief. Weal means comfort, happiness, without a breeze...upright keel — The ship is moving without any wind or wave. This enhances the unnatural atmosphere. Steadies with upright keel — balances herself upon the water without leaning sideways. 'Keel' is the backbone of a ship i.e., the main plank from stem to stern to which all other side planks are joined to make the complete body.

      L. 171-176. The western wave...a-flame — The western horizon was coloured red due to the setting of the sun. The day was well nigh done—The day was nearly at an end. Almost upon...bright sun — i.e., the sun was on the point of setting in the western horizon. The sun always looks at its biggest when it just rises or sets. The moment it is realised that there is something unnatural about the ship, it is no longer described as a ship; it is described as a shape, drove suddenly — Note that all supernatural phenomena in the poem appear or occur with a suddenness.

      L. 177-180. Straight — immediately, flecked with bars — marked with long narrow lines. Heaven's mother — Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, send us grace-protect us against any evil, dungeon-grate — prison bars, he peered —the sun peeped. With broad and burning face — with a large and glowing appearance. The picture conveys the spectral nature of the ship.

      L. 181-184. My heart beat loud —indication of fright, nears and nears — draws nearer and nearer, glance in the sun — shine in the sunlight. restless gossameres — cobwebs which are fluttering in the breeze. Are those her sails... gossamers? The phantom ship had for her sails nothing but something light and film; which looked more like cobwebs. The whole description of the ship and her surroundings strikes horror in the heart of the Mariners as well as in that of the reader.

      L. 185-189. her ribs — the main planks which make the skeleton ship. Peer — peep, grate — interwoven framework, all her crew — all the inmates of the ship. Students should note that the whole stanza is put in the form of questions which help only, to mystify the scene and intensify the horror and terror of the whole situation. Death — a skeleton.

      L. 190-194. Her lips were red...were free — There is nothing unnatural about the lips or the looks of the woman and yet red lips and free looks in a woman make her conspicuous, yellow as gold — extremely bright or unnaturally yellowish, leprosy—Coleridge is here thinking of white leprosy in which case the whole body turns abnormally white. The red lips and free looks suggest life while leprosy suggests death, so the description befits Life-in-Death. Night-mare — an evil spirit that was supposed to haunt and originally suffocate people to death in sleep. Life-in-Death — The name is significant. Death is an end of life but Life-in-Death is lingering death, and hence, it is far more painful than death. Who thicks...cold — who thickens man's blood with horror, i.e., a reference to blood congealing in horror.

      L. 195- 198. The naked hulk — the skeleton ship. Hulk means the main body or framework of a ship, the twain — i.e., the two inmates of the phantom ship, namely, Death and Life-in-Death, were casting dice —were gambling. The game is done — The gambling is over. I've won... won — Life-in-Death cries out triumphantly that she has won the soul of the Ancient Mariner. Quoth — said, whistles thrice —whisper joyously thrice. Note again the number thrice which lends a mystic horror to the situation. The very cry of joy and the whistling of Life-in-Death sends a chill through our bones.

      L. 199-202. The sun's rim dips-the circle of the sun sinks into the sea. The stars rush ojit-with the setting of the sun the stars become visible in the sky. At one stride...dark — immediately after setting of the sun. This is true of the tropics where there is no twilight. With far-heard whisper —with a faint sound at a distance. Off shot —went away. The spectre-bark—the phantom ship.

      L. 203-211. Fear at my heart...seemed to sip — A fine simile. Fear is personified and represented as a monster who takes the Mariner's life blood in a cup and drinks it. In other words, fear seemed to dry up or freeze the blood in his veins, thick the night—the night was very dark, steerman's — helmsman who plies the ship or holds the steering wheel, gleamed white — looked absolutely pale because of extreme fear and agony, clomb — old form of 'climbed', the eastern bar — the eastern horizon. The hornd moon — i.e., the crescent moon which is pointed at both ends and resembles a horn, nether tip —lower end. The hornd Moon ....nether tip—The popular superstition is that if the moon is followed by one single star at its lower end it portends some calamity. The details of description are intended to mystify the supernatural elements and intensify horror. It is to be noted that throughout the poem the moon is associated with benevolence. The evil here arises from the star.

      L. 212-215. star-dogged Moon—the moon followed by a star. 'Dogged' when used as verb means 'closely followed'. Too quick for groan or sigh — i.e., unusually quick or in the twinkling of an eye, ghastly pang — horrible pain. 'Ghastly' means unearthly, cursed me with his eye — looked with the bitterest feelings at the Ancient Mariner.

      L. 216-219. Four times fifty — i.e., two hundred. And I heard....groan — The sailors fell dead on the deck so mysteriously that no expression of their dying moment was visible. Generally, when people die they gasp or cry, as a mark of their last sign of life but in the case of the sailors the death was not natural but brought about by some supernatural agency, and hence no sigh or groan was heard. With heavy thump — with a sound resembling the falling of a heavy body. A lifeless lump — heap of dead bodies lying together upon the deck. Death claims what he has won in the grim game of dice. 

      L. 220-223. The — The common idea all over the world is that when the body dies the soul leaves the body and flies somewhere. They fled to bliss or woe — The souls fled to heaven (the place of eternal bliss) or to hell (the place of eternal pain), whizz — the sound made by the string of the bow. This line is significant in the sense that it reflects the consciousness of guilt on the part of the ancient Mariner who regrets that he killed the innocent Albatross. The remainder of the end of Part I is clear.

      L. 224-227. lank — lean and thin. The ribbed sea-sand — the sands on the sea-beach looked like ribs because the ripples of the sea arrange the sands in that manner when they roll over the beach and withdraw. I fear thee...sea-sand — These occasional addresses to the ancient Mariner by the wedding guest help to intensify the dramatic effect upon the reader and also serve as a change to the monotonous narrative. The wedding guest fears ghost, that he is talking to a ghost.

      L. 231. This body dropt not down — The ancient Mariner assures the wedding guest that he did not die like the other sailors on board the ship, so he is no ghost.

      L. 232-235. Alone, alone....wide sea! That the ancient Mariner was all alone in the midst of his dead comrades is a fact but his feeling of loneliness is more due to the horror of the scene and also the consciousness of his guilt than his actual surroundings. Never a saint...agony — No God or angel ever tried to relieve his pain - the pain due to the consciousness of guilt. These are powerful lines bringing Out the terror of the lonely situation.

      L. 236-239. The many did I —The psychological significance of the Mariner's confession should be noted. The Mariner distinguishes between human beings and creatures of the sea and declares the former as beautiful and the latter as ugly and hateful. The poet believes that when one makes such a distinction of God's creations, one offends God and has to pay the penalty as the Mariner did. Coleridge's idea is that one should love all creatures, great and small, and therein lies the best form of worship of God. The Mariner has not shown any repentance so far. The note of despair in 'so did I' is noteworthy.

      L. 240-243. I looked upon....dead men lay — The same hatred and disgust for the creatures of the sea and the same love and sympathy for human beings are reflected in this stanza as in the preceding one. the rotting sea - the sea in which the water was foul and the creatures were no less ugly and hateful, drew my eyes away — This reflects the loathing and disgust of the Mariner for the lower creations of God. the rotting deck — the deck of the ship which was made ugly by the dead bodies of the sailors.

      L. 244-247. looked to heaven — turned my eyes to the sky to think of God, or ever-before, a prayer had gusht — a feeling of regret had come to my heart. A wicked whisper — a sinful impulse not to pray or think of God at all, made my heart....dust — made me absolutely incapable of praying to God. The stanza paints exactly the feeling of the sinner's heart-how an impenitent heart fails in the very attempt to pray to God and suffers agony.

      L. 248-252. I closed my lids....close —By closing one's eyes one tries to pray because the closing of the eyes helps one to concentrate attention on God. The balls like pulses beat — i.e., the eye balls were very restless or in other words, the mind could not concentrate for prayer. Lay like a load — lay heavily, the sky and the sea... weary eye — The idea is that even by closing the eyes the ancient Mariner could not forget the external world or his physical surroundings, which continually disturbed his mind and did not permit him to pray to God or forget his crime of killing the Albatross. It reminds one of "Hell flies with Satan." Note the sense of weariness conveyed by the dragging rhythm. The dead were at my feet — The ancient Mariner means to say that he was conscious of the sea and the sky as painfully as the dead bodies of the sailors-both of which did not allow him to think of God. 

      L. 253-256. The Cold sweat....limbs — The cold sweat is a mark of the fear and agony of the sailors who died mysteriously. Nor rot nor reek did they — Generally dead bodies decompose but in the case of the sailors their dead bodies did riot decompose or give out any foul smell. It was all due to their unnatural death, reek—give out a foul odour. The look...passed away — The look of extreme anger and pain with which the sailors died haunted the Mariner always.

      L. 257-262. An orphan's curse....on high — An orphan is one who has no parents, no home, no shelter, and hence everybody should have sympathy for him. Even an angel who wrongs such a helpless creature would not be pardoned but severely punished from on high — from heaven. Seven days, seven nights — here the definite is used for the indefinite for the sake of emphasis. Note again the use of a mystical number, yet I could not die — The words reflect the agony and despair of the Mariner. He could not die because he had been won by Life-in-Death in the game.

      L. 263-271. These lines serve as a relief to the tragic tension of horror and terror and also as a turning point in the Mariner's expiation. The description of the moon and the natural surroundings is a happy digression from the subjective world to the objective world, a bide — stop or stay, bemocked — caused to be mocked, formed a striking contrast, the sultry main — the hot water of the sea. hoar-frost — white frozen dew-drops. Her beams bemocked...spread — The cool moonbeams formed a striking contrast with the hot water of the sea. The moonlit sea looked as if overspread by hoar-frost. The charmed water...awful red — The water of the Red sea which was under a supernatural spell for the time being was sparkling and giving out continuously a red glare.

      L. 272-276. They moved....white — When the snakes swam in the sea the water sparkled and formed streams of light. When they reared — when the snakes put up their heads above the sea water, elfish — supernatural like an elf; suggestive of supernatural beauty as well as joy. hoary flakes — white particles.

      L. 277-281. their rich attire — the beautifully coloured skin of the snakes, glossy green — shining green, velvet black—smooth and glossy black, coiled — twisted or curled, every track was a flash of golden fire — every movement of the snakes was followed by a stream of light. (L. 272 to 281 give a memorable description. The Mariner's interest in the snakes indicates the renewal of his interest in life around him. This marks the beginning of his redemption.)

      L. 282-287 Happy living....declare — The Ancient Mariner envies the lot of the snakes in the sea and says that they are so beautiful that they cannot be described by anybody properly. This admiration on the part of the ancient Mariner for slimy creatures for which he had a deep loathing and hatred earlier in part IV is a sign of his sympathy and love for the lower creations of God. might—could. A spring...unaware — suddenly the Mariner felt some attraction for the snakes or slimy creatures; he prayed for their happiness perhaps unconsciously. Now The Ancient Mariner makes no distinction between human beings and the lower creations of God. He feels that they deserve to live. This is a change of mind. Sure my kind - The Ancient Mariner believes firmly that his guardian angel had been kind to him so he could admire or love the snakes and pray for them because formerly when he was a sinner he had shown a deep hatred and loathing for them. 

      L. 288-291. The self-same moment — The very same moment. And from my neck...the sea — The dead body of the Albatross is only the visible mark of the sin committed by the Ancient Mariner, it is a kind of token of memory or consciousness of his guilt. Hence, the moment he begins to pray for others, he enjoyed God’s grace. The visible sign of his sin thus falls off. It is a wonderful artistic device to represent a psychological phenomenon.

      L. 292-296. Beloved from pole to pole  — loved by all the people of the world, pole to pole-from one end of the world to the other. Mary Queen — Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, the praise be given—Mother Mary should be given the credit of sending such a sweet thing as sleep which the whole world loves, slid-gently descended.

      L. 297-300. silly—empty, it rained—another sign of divine grace.

      L. 301-304. garments — clothes, dank — wet or damp, sure — surely, drunken in my dreams — drank the raindrops while asleep, still my body drank—still all my limbs were drenched or wet.

      L. 305-308. could not feel my limbs — felt my body to be so light that I seemed no more a creature of flesh and blood but a spirit of the other world, a blessed ghost — a strange and happy spirit of the other world.

      L. 309-312. Mark how in this stanza The Ancient Mariner sees strange sights and hears strange sounds. These are all hallucinations from which the heated brain of a sinner must suffer until he is completely absolved. Mark how the wind roars and yet does not touch the sails but only fills them with sound. These create a supernatural atmosphere, sere —dry or worn out. 

      L. 313-317. burst into life — suddenly exhibited signs of life, i.e. began to blow, fire-flags — something like flashes of lightning or maybe comets, sheen — bright, to and fro — here and there, in and out-faintly visible stars, wan-dull, pale.

      L. 318-321. sigh like sedge — whistle like reeds; grass found on river banks. Mark the suggestive touches-sigh like sedge; one black cloud; the "noon was at its edge.

      L. 322-326. cleft — broken up. Like waters...crag — like a mountain stream, crag—rock, with never a jag—without a break. A river steep and wide - the lightning flashes are compared here with a large river pouring down from a precipitation rock, i.e. lightning fell like an unbroken water-fall.

      L. 327-328. The loud wind...moved on! — another device to lend a supernatural touch. The dead men gave a groan — This is a suggestion of grave terror and grim horror, and the same suggestion is drawn out further in the next stanza, groan - an expression of great pain.

      L. 331-334. The whole stanza is intended to intensify the horror and terror of the scene, stirred-moved, uprose — got up. It had been...dead men rise — The event would have been strange even in a dream.

      L. 335-340. The helmsman steered — the man incharge of the steering wheel worked at the helm. All'gan work the ropes — all began to use the ropes for fixing and adjusting the sails, wont to do — used to work, like lifeless tools — without any sign of real life, i.e. mechanically, a ghastly crew—a strange and horrible body of mariners; a spectral crew. The lines show intense and horrific realism.

      L. 341-344. Stood by me knee to knee-stood very close to me. The body of my brother's son...knee - There is some particular significance about the mention of a close relation. The poet wants to intensify the feeling of horror and terror by bringing together the dead nephew and alive uncle making them work at once at the same rope. The body and I - the lifeless body of my brother's son which was for the time being revived by some supernatural agency, nought-nothing.

      L. 345-349. Be calm - do not be frightened. 'T was not those souls...blest - The Ancient Mariner assures the wedding guest that it was not the departed souls of the sailors but a band of angels which inspired their dead bodies, and hence, they were not ghosts and there was no reason to be afraid, souls that fled, in pain — The souls which left the bodies of the sailors because they suffered from so much of heat and thirst, corses — corpses or dead bodies, a troop of spirits blest-a band of good spirits or angels.

      L. 350.353. When it dawned — when the day broke, clustered — gathered together. Sweet sounds...passed — the blessed spirits that got into the sailors' dead bodies began to sing ethereal songs which rose to the sky.

      L. 354-357. darted to the sun - shot up to the sky or to the heavenly bodies. Slowly the sounds came back again — probably the sky echoed the sweet sounds. Now mixed, now one by one — the sweet sounds sometimes mingled together and sometimes resounded in single notes.

      L. 358-362. a-dropping — while dropping, that are — that exist, fill the sea and air — ring or resound in the surroundings, sweet jargoning — sweet notes of confused music, i.e. the notes of in music, not properly arranged and yet they are sweet. Note the praise for the lower creations-die birds.

      L. 363-366. 'twas like all instruments — the sweet sounds were mingled together like the music of several instruments in an orchestra, like a lonely flute — as a single note of music proceeding from a flute, it is an angel's song — it is an exquisitely sweet music, makes the heavens be mute-makes the Heaven silent. It seems as if the heavenly bodies stop their movement in their orbits and listen to the music with close attention. Note the sense of universal peace and harmony projected in these lines and their contrast to the earlier images of dryness and stagnation.

      L. 367-372. The sails made...noise — The sails of the ship which caught the sweet notes of the blessed spirits went on trembling for some time and produced a faint harmony, even when the singing ceased. A hidden brook — a stream covered by trees or rocks and concealed from view. Leafy month of June — In the month of June the trees have got a fresh set of leaves after spring, sleeping woods — quiet woods. Singeth a quiet tune — The gentle murmur of the small stream hidden by dense leaves of trees in month of June is like a lullaby to the quiet woods through which it Rows.

      L. 373-376. Never a breeze did breathe — There was not a single breath of wind, i.e. the air did not move at all. Moved onward from beneath — driven forward by the Polar spirit which has been following the ship from the land of mists and snow.

      L. 377-382. Under the keel - just below the center of the ship. The keel is the backbone of the ship that runs from the stem to stern, nine fathom deep — i.e. quite deep underwater. From the land...slid — The spirit came from the South Pole where there is perpetual snow and mist, left off their tune — ceased vibrating or flapping.

      L. 383-388. fixed her to the ocean — made the ship motionless. The sun...ocean — This gives a supernatural touch, she'gan stir - the ship began to move. With a short uneasy motion—i.e. with a jerk; not smoothly.

      L. 389-392. pawing horse — a restless horse which scratches the ground with its paws in impatience. It flung the blood into my head - the sudden leap of the ship made my blood rush to the head, fell down in a swound — fell into a fainting fit. Like a pawing horse....bound — The simile is most appropriate here. A restless horse, when it is suddenly released, jumps forward with a jerk; so the ship which was held fast to the ocean by the sun was suddenly moved by the polar spirit from below the water and so she made a forward leap. Coleridge deliberately uses dreaming or fainting in order to confuse reality and vision. Thus, he makes the supernatural acceptable to the reader. 

      L. 393-397. same fit — same state of unconsciousness. I have not to declare — I cannot say or I do not have the power to say, ere my living life returned — before I came back to my senses. All this time the Mariner had been in the power of Life-in-Death, so Coleridge uses the term living life' as deliberate antithesis. In my soul discerned — I distinguished two voices whether there were actually any voice in the air or not. The voices are supposed to be voices of justice and mercy.

      L. 398-401. quoth — said. By him who dies on cross — in the name of Jesus Christ who died on the cross. With his cruel bow — it is not the bow but it is the man that uses the bow who is cruel, laid full low—killed completely. This is the voice of the spirit of Justice.

      L. 402-405. who bideth by himself — who lives all alone. He loved the bird.....bow — The Polar Spirit loved the bird, Albatross; the Albatross loved the ancient Mariner but the ancient Mariner killed the Albatross. The effect of the repetition of the world 'loved' is striking.

      L. 406-409. The other was a softer voice — this voice was of Mercy whose heart is always soft unlike that of Justice whose heart is stern. As soft as honey-dew — extremely soft and sweet; 'honey-dew' has a supernatural touch. It is the drink of Gods, hath penance done — has made amends or paid the penalty for the crime of killing the Albatross.

      L. 411-413. Thy soft...renewing — repeating your gentle voice. What is the ocean doing? - How can the ocean move the ship without any wave or wind? 

      L. 414-422. Still as a slave before his lord — always as obedient as a servant to his master. The ocean hath no blast — No wind is blowing over the ocean. His great bright eye — is it the reflection of the moon in the ocean or is it all the water of the sea lit up by the moon beams which stand here for the eye of the ocean? The latter is more likely. If he may know...go — In order to know which way the water of ocean should move, she guides....grim — It is the moon that rules the ocean in calm or in rough weather. It is not a mere poetic fancy but a natural truth that it is due to the attraction of the moon that there are tides graciously — kindly.

      L. 424-425. The air is cut away...behind — The second voice offers an explanation, which is scientific. When the air is cut away from before the ship a vacuum is created and consequently, the ship is drawn, forward by the vacuum as the air behind it simultaneously presses the ship. That is exactly how the ship is made to move, but how is it done when there is no wind or wave? Coleridge leaves this vague. Probably, it is the Polar Spirit who moves it.

      L. 426-429. We shall be belated — We shall be late in reaching our place, i.e. we shall be detained, trance - fainting fit or a state of unconsciousness, abated — subsided.

      L. 430-433. In these lines we note the contrast between the natural and supernatural and also find that the supernatural motion of the ship is retarded when the Mariner becomes conscious and the Mariner's penance begins anew. There is a touch of cold terror and horror about the last line.

      L. 434-437. For a charnel-dungeon fitter — An underground room, in which the bones of the dead are generally treasured up, was the most suitable place for the dead men who stood on the deck, charnel-dungeon — an underground room in which the bones of the dead are kept, stony eyes — fixed looks or glassy eyes, having no speculation or intelligence in them. Note the horrible image of the lifeless glittering in the moonlight.

      L. 438-441. The pang, the curse...passed away — The dying look of the dead men which reflected the utmost anger, hatred and revenge was always haunting the Mariner. I could not draw...pray — this shows how much the ancient Mariner was affected by his sense of guilt. He could neither forget the dying looks of sailors nor could he think of God in order to repent for his sin.

      L. 442-445. this spell — the charm; the fainting fit was due to supernatural influence, was snapt - was broken, yet little saw...seen — He was so much overmastered by his sense of fear that for some time, though he was free from the fainting fit, he could not see properly any natural thing around him - the moonlight, the ship or the shadow of it, the waves or any other thing. 

      L. 446-451. Lonesome — lonely, having once turned round — having once turned his head backward and seen some strange and frightful thing which may be altogether imaginary due to the feeling of fear, fiend — some devilish, ghostly figure. Doth close...tread-follows him very closely. The passage offers a striking description of the Mariner's mind.

      L. 452-455. There breathed a wind on me — I felt a puff of wind blowing on me. Its path was shade — The wind did not blow upon the sea, and hence, the water was not in the least disturbed to form ripples or waves. This is another supernatural touch to create a sense of mystery.

      L. 456-459. It raised....cheek — The wind was sufficiently strong to make the Mariner feel its gentle touch, meadow-gale of spring — the south wind which gently blows over the green fields in the spring season. It is a refreshing image, like a welcoming — The breeze seemed good.

      L. 460-463. This stanza is also an instance of alliteration: swiftly, swiftly; she sailed softly, sweetly: blew the breeze. 

      L. 464-467. Oh! dream of joy — The Mariner cannot trust his eyes: he cannot believe that he is nearing his native shore. The recollection of the familiar places and things is slowly reviving after the supernatural state of unconsciousness, kirk — church, countree — country. Is this mine...countree? these questions are significant. On the one hand, they help the progress of the description while, on the other, they bring out the feelings of doubt mingled with the sense of joy of the Mariner, who feels a great relief not merely on seeing his native soil and other familiar things but also on feeling that he is no longer tortured by the supernatural hallucinations. Note the reverse order in which the familiar landmarks appear (cf. Line. 23-24).

      L. 468-471. drifted....harbour-bar — sailed on smoothly over the bar of sand that lies across the mouth of the harbour. O, let me be way — The Mariner prays that either if his sufferings have been real his escape too may prove real; or if they have been a dream, his dream may last forever.

      L. 472-475. was clear as glass — i.e. was transparent. So smoothly it was strewn — The water of the bay was so clear and unruffled, shadow — reflection; another touch to lend a supernatural charm. The calm sea-scape offers a pleasant respite after the Mariner's unrest.

      L. 476-479. steeped in silentness — bathed in perfect stillness. The steady weathercock — the weather-cock was steady because there was no wind at all.

      L. 480-483. rising from the same — rising from the bay. Full many shapes — great many forms or figures, that shadows were — those forms which rose from the dead bodies were not creatures of flesh and blood but spirits of another world. In crimson colours — reddish coloured. This is a fine colour effect offering a striking contrast to the white moonlight.

      L. 484-487. prow — the fore part of a ship. Those crimson shadows — those bright angelic forms which were nothing but the spirits moving the dead sailors. Oh, Christ!...there? - This is an expression of extreme wonder and horror.

      L. 488-491. corse — corpse or dead body, the holy rood — The holy cross on which Jesus Christ died. A man all light—an angelic form or a luminous human form, seraph-man—an angel.

      L. 492-495. seraph-band — a body of spirits or angelic forms. Each waved his hand — Each of the spirits moved its hand as a signal to the shore. (This stanza and a few other foregoing and following stanzas are full of supernatural touches which students should note while discussing the treatment of the supernatural in the poem).

      L. 496-499. No voice did they impart — Not a word did they speak, impart - utter; give forth. Oh! the silence...on my heart—though the angelic forms did not speak a single word yet their very silence was as sweet as music.

      L. 500-503. The dash of oars — the sound of the playing of the oars i.e., the movement of some boat, the Pilot's cheer — It is call of the pilot. The pilot brings the bigger ships into harbour, perforce — by force; of necessity. Note that even the Pilot appears suddenly.

      L. 504-507. Dear Lord in Heaven — It is a kind of oath, expressing joy. it was a joy blast — Even the dead men could not possibly destroy the joy of the Mariner when he heard the voice of the Pilot and the Pilot's boy. blast—blight; destroy.
      L. 508-513. I saw a third — the third person, the Mariner saw was the Hermit. Godly hymns — pious songs or prayers to God. shrieve—absolve: to hear the sinner's confession and then pronounce absolution for the sins confessed, wash away the Albatross's blood — purge the Ancient Mariner's soul of the sin of having killed the Albatross.

      L. 514-518. Which slopes down to the sea — which stretches to the seashore, he rears — he raises. Marineres — archaic spelling for Mariners. 

      L. 519-522. He kneels....eve — He prays to God regularly every day. plump — thick, oak stump — a part of oak tree trunk. It is the moss .... oak-stump — It is the green vegetation growing on the old stump of an oak tree which makes the Hermit's hassock or seat to kneel on for offering prayers.

      L. 523-526. The skiff-boat neared — the small light boat drew near. The 'skiff' itself is a light boat; the term 'boat' is redundant, trow — think. Where are those lights...but now? — The lights refer to the angelic forms which had waved as a signal to the shore.

      L. 527-532. by my faith — a kind of oath expressing firmness of conviction on the part of the man who takes the oath, answered not our cheer — did not respond to our greetings, warped — contracted or shrunk and distorted, sere-worn out; withered, aught—anything, perchance — by chance.

      L. 533-537. Brown skeletons on leaves — discoloured, dry leaves, lag—float idly or lie scattered, ivy-tod — ivy bushy, heavy with snow—thickly covered with snow, owlet — a young owl. whoops — cries mockingly, the wolf below — the wolf lying underneath the tree on which the owlet is sitting. That eats....young — It is a fact that the wolf has a tendency to eat its young. This blend of natural and unnatural things lend a peculiar charm of horror and terror.

      L. 538-541. Dear Lord - an expression of fear and wonder, it hath a fiendish look — the ship has a devilish or ghostly look, a-feared-afraid or frightened. Push on —ply the boat to reach the ship, cheerily—cheerfully.

      L. 542-545. Stirred....beneath the ship — not under but alongside the ship. As the ship was quite tall and the boat comparatively small, it stood lower than the ship, straight — immediately. 

      L. 546-549. rumbled on — produced a heavy, rolling sound as of thunder and more dread — and more fearful, it split the bay — the loud sound broke up the water of the bay. It is a fact that when a very loud sound is produced the water nearby is seriously disturbed because of the sound waves, went down like lead — sank as if it were made of lead, a heavy metal. The ship and its ghastly burden had to be got rid of, as Creswell says. Coleridge adopts the device of sinking it along with its dead crew.

      L- 550-555. Stunned — greatly surprised. Which sky...smote — the loud sound disturbed greatly the water of the sea and also resounded to the sky. Like one...drowned — like a body which has drowned and after some time comes to float on the water surface because it has swollen up. Lay afloat — lay floating, swift as dreams-very quickly and also quite unconsciously. Dreams are imperceptible and rise and melt quickly.

      L. 556-559. The whirl — the rapid circular motion of water which is produced by the sinking of the heavy ship, spun round and round — moved round and round very quickly with the circular motion of the water, telling of the sound — echoing the sound.

      L. 560-563. moved my lips — tried to speak, shrieked — cried out in fear, fell down in a fit — fell into a state of unconsciousness. The Mariner appears so horrific. Note the consummate skill with which Coleridge conveys to the reader the change brought about by the horrible experiences in the Mariner's appearance. No direct description could be as striking as the description of the effect his appearance has on the others.

      L. 564-569. I took the oars - I began to ply the boat, doth crazy go - goes mad. Laughed loud and long — laughed in fear and not in joy; the Pilot's boy has gone mad at the very sight of the ancient Mariner taking the oars. His eyes...fro — His eyes moved restlessly as those of a mad man or of one extremely frightened, 'full plain I see — I know well enough. The row — This is said about the ancient Mariner whom the Pilot's boy takes to be an evil spirit suddenly taking possession of the dead body and trying to ply the boat. Mark how natural the touches are here and yet how easily they help to create a supernatural horror. 

      L. 570-573, I stood on the firm land — the Mariner felt sure that he stood on solid land and not on the rocking ship in the sea which had been the scene of his ugly dreams and hallucinations and also actual suffering, stepped forth — came forward, scarcely he could stand — the hermit also was so frightened by the unnatural sight and events that he could hardly stand erect.

      L. 574-577. Crossed his brow — made the sign of a cross on his forehead as all Christians do when they are in fear and want to avert some evil influence. Even the Hermit is not quite sure that the Mariner is human. What manner...thou? — Are you a human being or some supernatural spirit?

      L. 578-581. Forth with...frame — body, wrenched-twisted or convulsed with great pain, woful agony — extreme pain, begin my tale — this is the penance ofhis life, it left me free — He felt relieved after speaking out his story. This sense of relief is based on a psychological fact that when one commits a sin or a crime or even a mild offence one feels restless at heart until one talks about it to somebody else.

      L. 582-585. An uncertain hour — at any time. That agony — the consciousness of guilt and the consequent feeling of pain and horror, ghastly tale — a tale dealing with fearful incidents and scenes. This heart...burns — The Mariner feels the dreadful horror of his guilt.

      L. 586-590. I — Just as darkness travels swiftly from one corner of the world to the other with the setting of the sun so also the ancient Mariner travels from one country to another to relate his tale, strange power of speech — a great power of attracting and detaining people by speech. That moment...hear me — by the very form of the face of a man the Mariner can judge that he is a potential listener and that he will have no power to resist the tale, teach — relate.

      L. 591-596. What loud uproar....that door — What a great noise of merry-making is coming from the wedding house: This is an artistic touch to produce a change of atmosphere and a touch of realism. Bride-maids — the attendant maids of the bride, hark — listen, vesper bell — the evening church bell. Which biddeth prayer — Which invites one to attend the prayer in the church. Note the contrast of the noise of the wedding feast and the light sound of the little vesper bell. The wedding no longer interests the wedding guest. 

      L. 597-600. This soul hath....there to be — In the utter loneliness felt by the Mariner, even God scarcely seemed to be there. The stark loneliness of a person haunted by guilt is well brought out.

      L. 601-609. Note the tone of repentance and complete conversion from a hater of birds and beasts to a pious worshipper of God and his creations. Even the marriage feast is not as sweet as the prayer and goodly company in a church. After the horrific loneliness at sea, the Mariner longs for the peaceful company in church, all together pray — pray not alone but in a body i.e., in a congregation, each to his...bends — each person kneels down in - order to pray to God who is regarded as the Father or Creator of all. babes — little children. Note that the diversity of the congregation is stressed. The Mariner has learned from experience that all of them are to be loved without distinction.

      L. 610-617. He prayeth well....beast — This is the moral of the poem. The Ancient Mariner has learned it at a dear cost. He means to say that the best form of worship is to love all the creations of God whether they are human beings or birds or beasts without any distinction. All things both great and small — all creatures alike, i.e. men, birds, and beasts and even plants and trees. He prayeth the all — The argument is that the best form of worship is to love all creatures or rather all creations of God without making any kind of distinction as we generally do. God has created this universe in which all great and small things exist and he loves them all. Those who do not love God's creatures cannot love their creator.

      L. 618.621. With age is hoar — grown white due to old age. Turned from....door — gave up the idea of visiting the bridegroom.

      L. 622-624. Stunned — extremely surprised or shocked, of sense forlorn — deprived of his senses or feelings, sadder—more sober, morrow morn—next morning. The wedding guest has undergone a serious change as the result of hearing the Mariner's story.

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