The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1834) Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Argument

How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country.

He holds him with his glittering eye—

The Wedding-Guest stood still,

And listens like a three years' child:

The Mariner hath his will.

 

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:

He cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner.

Painting of an eye from poem Ancient Mariner

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'Eye', 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 5.

'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,

Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.

 

The Sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right

Went down into the sea.

Painting of Ship

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'The Sun Came Up, 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 10.

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he

Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,

And chased us south along.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'Ice', 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 10. 

At length did cross an Albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God's name.

And a good south wind sprung up behind;

The Albatross did follow,

And every day, for food or play,

Came to the mariner's hollo!

 

'God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—

Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'A Hot and Copper Sky'', 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 10. 

And I had done a hellish thing,

And it would work 'em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird

That made the breeze to blow.

Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,

That made the breeze to blow!

All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody Sun, at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the Moon.

 

painting of a ship

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'A Still and Awful Red'', 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 10. 

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was withered at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if

We had been choked with soot.

 

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks

Had I from old and young!

Instead of the cross, the Albatross

About my neck was hung.

The Ancient Mariner Series, 'That Strange Shape'', 2020. Watercolour. Limited print edition of 10. 

The western wave was all a-flame.

The day was well nigh done!

Almost upon the western wave

Rested the broad bright Sun;

When that strange shape drove suddenly

Betwixt us and the Sun.

 

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,

(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)

As if through a dungeon-grate he peered

With broad and burning face.

Painting of a ship

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1834) is a story about a sea voyage, told by a 'bright eyed mariner' to a guest he has cornered at a wedding. The mariner killed the bird 'that made the breeze to blow', after which he meets and cheats death eventually finding redemption. 

 

These prints were produced in limited editions of ten to raise money for Centre 33, a charity which provides mental health support for young people. Cambridge. You can purchase the prints on Etsy.