The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834)
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge [Part 1 and 2]
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?
The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.’
He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship,’ quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
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.
Explanation …. A mariner, beaten down by a long harrowing sea voyage, stops a wedding guest at the door to unburden his pent-up feelings about the eventful journey. The guest, who is there as an invitee, has little patience to lend his ears to the old man. But the latter’s flowing white beard and piercing eyes makes the guest stop to hear the stranger out.
As the old man proceeds with his account of his journey, the wedding-guest’s mind is swamped by a mix of emotions. First he is bemused, then he shows impatience. But, soon he is gripped by fascination and fear as the old man’s account of his voyage unravels a series of intriguing events.