Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ S.T. Coleridge ~ Part I ~ 9/00 ~ Poetry
July 29, 2000 - 06:52 am
~~~The Rime of the Ancient Mariner~~~
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge~


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 Mariner came back to his own Country. (1798)


In which the Mariner sees the kirk again

"I think the Mariner in the telling is really telling about a life altering experience, one that questions the role of external forces in how we choose to live our lives. "--YiLiLin

"A poem is really a collaboration between two people. The author and the reader. That is why we have a number of interpretations. The poet has had his say and now we interpret it through our own experiences." ---Annafair

"It looks like we might as well agree to disagree on the meaning or interpretation of The Rime. And anyone having a problem with it, should keep in mind that Coleridge himself kept monkeying with it for the next twenty years...changing, emending, adding the Gloss, to meet criticism, or reflect a change in his own thinking...etc, etc. The resulting masterpiece has something for everyone. How you think about it, will depend on whether you are a christian, a psychologist, a marxist, a psychoanalyst, a magician, a storyteller, or...a poet! " ---Jonathan

"They have become a community of minds, sharing their own perspectives, insights and surprises. These posters have challenged and broadened one anothers thinking as they have probed into the character of the Ancient Mariner. " ----ALF (Andrea)

Points to Ponder: Part VI:

Previous Questions Still Open for Discussion, Parts I and II:
Previous Questions Still Open for Discussion, Parts III, IV, and V:

Part VI: "He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The Albatross's blood."

Part VI:

1. Why hasn't the curse died away?

2. Why can't the Mariner pray again?
  • Did he ever change?

    3. Why do the men die again?
  • Did they ever change?
  • Speaking of death and rebirth, where's the bird?

    4. Why does the Mariner think the Hermit can shrive him?
  • Does the Hermit do this?

  • Poetry by Coleridge


    Wordsworth‘s Contribution to The Rime || Coleridge's Reading the Bible / Jonathan || Timeline of Coleridge's Day / Barbara || Sailing Conditions in 1800 / Betty || Poetry by Lorrie || Poetry: The Lake Poets / Maryal || Sea Chantey / Barbara || Nautical Terms / Barbara || Albatross / Barbara || The Origin of the Drug Trade / Barbara || Opium throughout History by PBS FRONTLINE / Barbara || Albatross, with reference to Rime / Pat || NY Times Article on the Albatross/ Stowaway || The Doldrums--Nellie || Superstitions, Myths, Strange Facts, Legends and Stories --Mal || Flavius Josephus---Barb || Michael Psellus--- Barb || Figures of Speech --Maryal || Map of the Ship's Travels--Pat W
    Original 1798 Version/ Maryal

    Text, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner || Coleridge Archive || An Analysis of Coleridge's Rime || Excellent Biography || Coleridge Biography || Biography Mentioning Wordsworth Collaboration || A Poet's Corner || Epitaph by Coleridge || A Coleridge Companion: A Super Article on the Rime! || The Gloss

    Coleridge, Early Visions - 1772-1804  by Richard Holmes || Coleridge, Darker Reflections, 1804-1834   by Richard Holmes || "A Poem of Pure Imagination. An Experiment in Reading",   an essay from Selected Essays by Robert Penn Warren

    Your Discussion Leader: Ginny Anderson

    7% of your purchase returns to SeniorNet

    July 29, 2000 - 07:34 am
    Welcome to what I guess is the Preview Edition of our discussion of the Ancient Mariner which will begin on September 1.

    There are two new books out on Coleridge's life and I find that there's so much about STC I didn't dream of when I first read and loved this poem in the 9th grade.

    Back then, I didn't know or care what Death in Life meant and so cheerfully skipped over it as well as a lot of other things but now , my Friends, now that takes on a whole new meaning.

    What a stunning Epitaph he wrote for himself, note the last two lines:

    Mercy for praise--to be forgiven for fame--

    He ask'd, and hoped through Christ. Do thou the same. .

    WHEW! What does THAT say to us in the fame seeking, "Survivor" driven 2000s? Do I sctually see the words "death in life" in that epitaph?

    Wowee, that gave me CHILLS!

    Join us here September 1, and help us figure it out with our new mantle of years of experience, we may surprise ourselves!


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 29, 2000 - 09:33 am
    Ginny I do not know it this is your vidio or not but yesterday I was able to rent the Rime... put out by Kultur, narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave produced and directed by Raul Da Silva. It is 60 minutes color 1984 with six international film awards. It that the same one??

    July 29, 2000 - 10:23 am
    THAT'S IT, Barb!! How was it? Am putting that description in the heading, is it worth watching?


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 29, 2000 - 10:55 am
    Watched it with my grands-- I thought it was great-- I need to watch it again though in that they were a bit bored with all the explanation or rather the bio. We programed ahead and they liked hearing the poem. They are ages 6 and 9.

    Joan Pearson
    July 29, 2000 - 06:52 pm
    Those are two super kids, Barb! I think I need to be in here for this one, Miss Ginny! Whether we have completed the Canterbury pilgrimage or no...

    Death in life is too much to pass by...the very words give me chills - me the one who has been so taken with "life after life" needs to give some thought to this juxtaposition. Big word, eh? Not even sure it fits, but it sure isn't an idea I have thought about much!

    See you here in September! Will go work on Canterbury, whipping those little palfreys right along to the end of the path!

    July 30, 2000 - 09:30 am
    Oh fabulous, Ella, Barb, Pat, Ginger, and the one and only Joan P, I agree, there is so much more here than I thought, and I welcome one and all, one thing for sure, we will get a lot out of this one. I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation, have forgotten what I did know about meter and iambs and will need all hands on deck for those sections but the WORDS, the RHYME and the sheer wonder of the reading is just an experience that maybe nobody should miss.

    I am looking forward to the video because I have never HEARD it read, either.

    The Dover edition has the poem on one side and the exquisite Dore engravings on the other, it's a huge, inexpensive paperback book and I truly recommend it, going to our Bookstore to see what it costs from B&N, I got mine from Dover itself. The entire poem is also available free, see the links, on the internet.

    I remember reading the Life in Death and shrugging my shoulders and moving on, I REMEMBER that because I had no idea what he was talking about.

    Fabulous, I am so excited! Together we can gain a new understanding about Coleridge and the poem and its concepts. I already know more about it than I did in the 9th grade (I think).


    Welcome, All!

    August 1, 2000 - 08:26 am
    I am thinking I will dip my toes in here! Never have read it except for a bit in humanities in university eons ago.


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 1, 2000 - 10:13 am
    I cheated the bookstore. I entered the Internet, used a Search Engine, and printed out a copy of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

    I'm ready!!


    August 1, 2000 - 03:53 pm
    Get outta here, this will be just amazing! Welcome, Fellow Mariners MarjV and Robby!

    I think we need to get up a ship's roster, hopefully we'll end up better than THIS ship did!


    August 1, 2000 - 08:41 pm
    Ginny---Count me in, of course. I have loved this poem since ninth grade.

    August 2, 2000 - 06:00 am
    From a palfrey to the ocean...I am not good at either. I thank God for showers as I get seasick in a bathtub! I printed out the Rime and have had a great time reading it aloud! My fondness for drama was well fed and I recalled it from from my youth. I am glad no one was in the house to hear me in the early morning hours. It would have confirmed their perception that I am a bit batty! It was great fun though......My only problem now to read it with some understanding. I think I always felt C just loved to tell a tale. Of course when I read it telling ghost stories was popular and in my group of friends our imagination ran wild!

    Back with you later...it is breakfast time in Virginia ...anna from Virginia

    August 2, 2000 - 07:48 am

    Welcome, Sailors Maryal and Fairanna, what a crew, if I may say so, we are assembling on board here. I spent all morning reading an analysis of the Mariner and who KNEW there was so much, so much , apparently the thing is on three levels, who KNEW? I didn't.

    I hope we can get past the first few lines, what a CREW, I'm so excited and I'll tell you one thing, I will understand it this time, just LOOK at those I have to converse about it with!

    OH boy, I have not been so excited about anything in a long time.

    Weeeooooo, (that's the ship whistle)!!!

    Scullery lad

    August 2, 2000 - 07:49 am
    Maryal, do you want the tape or have you seen it?


    betty gregory
    August 2, 2000 - 08:04 am
    Weeeeeooooo?? I love it.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 2000 - 08:35 am


    Are you underway already? Well, shiver me timbers and pieces of eight!! Or is that the wrong book?


    August 2, 2000 - 10:06 am
    annafair--welcome home! The good thing about reading the poem instead of taking passage on a frigate is that you won't get seasick. And you did very well on the palfrey. Check in with us--we are up to near the end with the 2nd nun's tale this week and a fine History of Grog, provided by Marj.

    Ginny--I have not seen the tape and would like to. Actually, my grog is actually appropriate for this journey! Water and rum and sugar and fruit---ah yes. Part of the sailor's daily wages.


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 2000 - 10:28 am
    Maryal: Your GROG was exactly the right color. I'm sure you chose that carefully!!


    August 2, 2000 - 10:32 am
    Robby---Of course I did! Smile.

    August 2, 2000 - 11:19 am
    Oh good Lordie:  First this group gives me saddle sores and now they wish to "throw me tothe deep."  Have I ever related how utterly vertiginous I become aboard the ships?  I shall remain for the duration.  I ask only that you each remember I get DIZZY (dizzier?) when aboard but I do not --I repeat --I do Not get nauseated.   You must feed me please and I'll have some of MaryAl's grog too.  I've become quite accustomed to that I fear.

    August 2, 2000 - 12:31 pm
    ALF----Oh dear, oh dear. OH my. I know of this excellent twelve-step program for grog addiction!

    Joan Pearson
    August 2, 2000 - 01:59 pm
    Welcome, Alfa-Mariner! Our Ginny is off and I'm doing the honors today! Poor saddle-sore pilgrim...we've offered you the travois and Harry has fueled you with GROG! I don't know what you can possibly be complaining about! (Wait'll you see your bill!) Look! Canterbury's spires in the distance! Plenty of time to lift the anchor here. That's your job!

    Our cruise director will invite all the Pilgrims to join in here as soon as we set foot into the Cathedral!

    Till then...

    August 2, 2000 - 02:41 pm
    And when, Sir, when will the ship be cheered and the harbor cleared, and roster put to the board?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 2000 - 03:06 pm
    Now let me see if I have this straight -- starboard is the right side of the ship and port is what is brought out as the ship leaves.


    August 2, 2000 - 03:13 pm
    Robby---You got it right! Very good. Now, what do you make of Fore and Aft?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 2, 2000 - 03:17 pm
    Maryal: I prefer not to make anything of them. It's bad enough I have a big bird hanging around my neck.


    August 2, 2000 - 03:19 pm
    Robby----You shouldn't have shot it!

    betty gregory
    August 2, 2000 - 03:45 pm
    I'm ready for some figgydowdy, or is there any spotted dog left? Hmmmm, can taste it now.

    Do I hear horses down below?

    August 2, 2000 - 06:28 pm
    Betty a horse down below? Pray tell me that is not true. An albatross and a dead one as well is truly sufficient. Not that I would eat one but are albatrosses edible?

    My Webster is not handy but is an albatross the same as "gooneybird"? I remember my husband telling about "launch day" on Guam ...in flight they are such graceful birds ...on the ground AH ! I feel I qualify as a "gooneybird".

    You must watch me as I confess I once fell out of a 4x4 I was trying to enter! I feel if I am not cautious I will be the first person for whom the words "Man Overboard" are said!

    Have read it again this afternoon with FEELING and Gestures etc ...now I will follow some of the links and see WHAT I AM READING MEANS!!! anna in Virginia who has found a great hot dog shop with home made potato chips...I am thinking of trying to find a ALBATROSS rental place and have them FLOWN in on this trip!!!

    Joan Pearson
    August 2, 2000 - 07:15 pm
    Alright, one of the Canterbury palfeys is missing! I'm here to search each of your quarters before you turn in for the night! Marj left this with the Canterbury pilgims this afternoon...thought you might enjoy it on deck while I conduct the search for the missing palfrey...

    History of Grog

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 2, 2000 - 09:37 pm
    Not positive but I think the ALBATROSS is on the endangered list and at one time it was a delicacy.

    It is so hard not to start discussing this poem starting now. Ginny on 3 levels?? Is spiritual and supernatural considered the same level?

    Maryal are you supplying the wedding guests with your Grog?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 3, 2000 - 04:15 am
    I read Joan's link on Grog. What gets to me more than the story itself is the fact that someone would take the time to write a "short history on grog" and that we would be listening to a melody entitled "Farewell to Grog." Apparently there's absolutely nothing in this wide world about which something hasn't been written, as insignificant as it may seem on the surface.

    Most of you have heard of the recent research "proving" what we already knew and that is -- use of the brain leads to greater physical and mental health and longer life. The way we're going here on SN, those of us who regularly communicate with each other and with items of interest "out there" are in for a long stimulating life!


    August 3, 2000 - 08:24 am
    Robby---Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!Grog insignificant? I think not.

    Barbara-----No grog for the wedding guests. They are partaking of champagne.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 3, 2000 - 08:55 am
    Ahhh early ninteenth century, just as the widow Clicquot was improving the bubbly. Maryal have you added the importing and distribution of the French bubbly to your enterprise? Cannot determine from the poem if the wedding took place in the Kirk. I wonder what the Calvernist position is on alcohol? Hehehe enjoying all this talk of champagne and Grog we sound more like a bunch of papists.

    Ginny found this great site - the review is almost book length BUT when you reach the bottom the home page button leads to many, many articles about the Rime... this particular article is about the Supernatural: the Ancient Mariner and Parody

    This is a site that helps to better catch the story. It is the Poem story written in prose. Prose version of The Rime...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 3, 2000 - 09:44 am
    Gosh Ginny could easily get lost for hours in your site An Analysis... found this in the site that I think is wonderful to better understanding what we are reading.
    ...storms, turbulent seas, torrents, vast caverns, deep, dark woods, fearsome deserts, blasted heaths moved readers emotionally. The sublime is associated with dimensions of greatness and founded on awe and terror.

    The chief importance of the picturesque and the sublime: taught people not only to see with their eyes, but also to feel through them. The profound experience of external nature that is basic to romantic poetry (sensory impressions culminating in profound emotional experiences, almost mystical illuminations) was prepared for in this fashion.

    The appeal of the distant

    Cult of the "Noble Savage": man exists in a state of harmony with nature, uncorrupted by the progressive sophistication of civilization

    Exoticism: growing interest in far-off regions and peoples, as a result of growing disillusionment with contemporary civilization


    From strict observance of the "rules" (correctness, decorum) to individual freedom of:

    Joan Pearson
    August 3, 2000 - 09:59 am
    Barb,just reading through the fruits of your research makes me miss you all the more in Canterbury! Can you be persuaded to complete the journey with us, she whined.......

    Nellie Vrolyk
    August 3, 2000 - 10:19 am
    I'll quietly sail along with the rest of you too. *smile* I found a copy of the poem in an old Norton's Anthology of Poetry that I picked up in a second hand book sale.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 3, 2000 - 10:43 am
    Ohh Joan yes for you, there is nothing soul soaring about Chaucer's pilgrams though.

    Wonder If Robert Lewis Stevenson read The Rime...
    Under the wide and starry sky
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

    This be the verse you grave for me;
    "Here he lies where he longed to be,
    Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill."

    August 4, 2000 - 08:34 am
    Welcome Sailors, All!

    This will be so fun. Barb, I'm not sure the spiritual/ supernatural was even considered as a level. Does that make FOUR?

    There's something about this poem which eludes me? It's a quicksilver little tease, it comes, it goes, it comes, it goes, and I hope with the company here assembled and now coming up the gangplank that we can ferret it out!

    OK on the video, what a TIME I've had and if Barb had not mentioned renting it I would have been DOOMED! I ordered it from Critic's Choice, they say the manufacturer has quit making it.


    Then I called the Blockbuster. NOPE!


    But then the county Library threw me a lifeline: Yes, they had one copy. Yes it was in Pacolet, SC (tiny tiny not far from me!) So I called and yes it was in (like there is going to be a run on it laughed the Main Branch). Well there should be! Is this Level 5?

    That video itself needs discussing! The implication, will you all strain to hear that, the implication that Wordsworth contributed to the Mariner? Is THAT what Redgrave says?

    Then the dramatization of the poem itself, the Dore engravings (colored!!!) The other artists and their interpretations! I want to hear from those who have not ever read the poem how it strikes them being read and presented this way? I want to hear from those who have, if it dilutes or enhances your experience? Is it what you thought you remembered?

    Watch where the bird falls in the video!

    I sent one copy to Ginger yesterday and the circle has commenced! She has postage for everybody to send along and labels, too, and kindly speed the thing right along, but take your time looking at it, we have an entire month and two tapes circulating, enough for all, enough for me to watch it again.

    There are so many new aspects of the thing rising up out of the ocean it is beginning to scare me, I'm glad you guys are along for the ride on this one.


    August 4, 2000 - 08:44 am
    I have to tell you of my Pacolet experience! I got lost, hopelessly lost. I wandered lonely as a cloud to quote Coleridge's friend, and finally found Pacolet itself but no library. In desperation, I observed a gentleman shuffling down the street, shirt out, obviously no job, bag in hand, swigging from some Mountain Dew bottle, unkempt and unlikely but the only person in sight.

    Window down, can you tell me where the library is? Frown. Looked off to the right, looked off to the left, looked right again. Frown. Pause. Long pause. Just about to say gaily OK thanks, OK, when he opened his mouth and Pat Buttram (sp) remember him? Pat Buttram with that impossibly high and squeaky voice, came out. And what did Pat say?

    Very slowly: "I..... am..... reasonably certain.......that it is..... over the railroad... tracks." (Right in front of me, in other words).

    My mouth was hanging out the window and I gulped, OH, ah, er, thanks, er, I can't seem to even find highway 176!!!????!!!!

    Silence. Piercing look. Pause.

    "You're on it." he said.

    Guess where the library was? Three guesses? Brand spanking new, deserted and very fine, librarian already had the tape at the desk!

    hahahahah Someday I will write about the marvelous and unexpected people around me here.


    betty gregory
    August 4, 2000 - 10:15 am
    Ginny---You are a short story writer!!! What a great tale!! I laughed and laughed---all those pauses, looking left, looking right. Great story!

    Joan Pearson
    August 4, 2000 - 10:58 am
    Er, ah, Ginny, does having a memory like a sieve and having read the Rime nearly 50 years ago put me in the category with those who have never read the poem??? I think so, don't you?

    Yes, do, do, do some write-ups on those neighbors of yours. After years of this, I feel I know them, your vet, your hairdresser, your pruners...your librarian friends. You have the gift, or you have some really clearly defined characters in your world! I think it is the former! Use it!

    August 4, 2000 - 02:14 pm
    Ginny---You DO have a gift. This is your English Professor speaking to you. I hope that you are keeping copies of these sketches. All you have to do is stitch a few of them together and bingo, a short story. If you keep going, you'll be surprised what happens. Of course you are not wasting your time posting these jewels on Senior Net, but please tell me that you are also keeping copies somewhere.


    August 4, 2000 - 07:47 pm
    and write about the dead chicken in the pickup truck.

    August 4, 2000 - 09:25 pm
    GO GINNY GO I want to hear th e chicken story to.

    August 5, 2000 - 05:31 am
    hahaahah, gosh! Thanks so much, kind Sailors, that was not, unfortunately, any sort of creative endeavour but the faithful reporting of what actually happened. I appreciate it, tho. Blushing.

    Speaking of blushing, can we take a prequel look at that Epitaph?

    Mercy for praise--to be forgiven for fame--

    What does this mean?

    What does this signify? How can we reconcile this in our current age where we praise the good and hope for fame? "FAME! I want to live forever..." (Aquarius)....

    What's wrong with praise? Why would we need mercy for the sake of fame? What's wrong with fame? Who wouldn't want it?

    Would you put that on YOUR tombstone?


    August 5, 2000 - 10:21 am
    She did her best....ah to be forgiven for fame...perhaps he meant fame is not what we should seek and if we achieve it we should not necessarily be proud of it ..that is just off the top of my head which is only 5' above the bottom of my feet..

    anna in Virginia who loves to ponder things and the Rime has much to ponder!!!

    July 30, 2000 - 05:45 pm
    Humility is a great virtue and almost nonexistent these days. Coleridge knew the importance of humility and apparently didn't think that he had possessed it.

    August 5, 2000 - 10:57 am
    Writers know that if they are good enough, their work will outlast them. Shakespeare deals with this topic more than once in his sonnets.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 5, 2000 - 11:51 am
    I would like my tombstone to read:


    August 5, 2000 - 01:18 pm
    Robby. I actualy laughed out loud at your post.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 5, 2000 - 01:19 pm
    Ginger: This is NOT a laughing matter!


    August 5, 2000 - 01:37 pm
    Robby, OK I will think on this.

    August 5, 2000 - 01:43 pm
    Ginger---YOU made ME laugh out loud!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 5, 2000 - 01:48 pm
    I am not detecting the proper "Senior" attitude today. Life is too short for such frivolity.


    August 5, 2000 - 01:58 pm
    Hhahaahhaahaha, Me, too, Ginger! hahahahaha

    Robby why, one wants to know WHY? Power companies can't go thru a cemetery without endless permits?

    I think it's cute!

    Are you saying you're a live wire? OOPS!


    Joan Pearson
    August 5, 2000 - 02:44 pm
    Oh, I can see what kind of discussion this is going to be already! Well, my tombstone will resemble Fair Anna's -

    August 5, 2000 - 03:11 pm
    Not....She Was Very Trying hahahaha JOKE!!! JOKE!!! This is what passes for humor here on shipboard? hahaahaha

    The Fearful Scullery Lad

    August 5, 2000 - 04:42 pm
    Thinking even yet Live wire More thinking.

    Joan Pearson
    August 5, 2000 - 04:45 pm
    Well, where's the little winky-dink, so we all know it is a joke, hmmmmmmmmmm?

    Okay, forget that one, I'll chose another (how many get to chose TWO tombstones! Can you erase the first???

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 5, 2000 - 05:48 pm
    You're allowed two tombstones if you have a dual personality.


    William Frost
    August 5, 2000 - 06:21 pm
    Robert Iadeluca,

    In my Royal Air Force days, drinking our last beer, we sang,

    "They're shifting grandpa's grave to build a sewer, They're shifting it regardless of expense. They're shifting his remains To make room for xxxxxxxxx drains Just to please the local residents, Ta ra ra rara................."

    The rest is not for this sublime meadow.


    August 5, 2000 - 06:45 pm
    Oh, I think everyone should have a few minutes of fame, but not dwell on it too long. I'm still looking for mine..

    Tombstone? Mine is already there and it is much to late to add anything but the date I die..

    But Robby, my body goes to science... I can't see spending all that money for a fancy casket... when the Medical Schools are in need of bodies... and there will be no service ... a party maybe for the kids to all congregate and laugh about the crazy antics of their dear, dead Mother. ....

    August 6, 2000 - 03:51 am
    Bill, that is a HOOT! hahahaaha I'm so glad to see you again, too, are you on board here?

    Crazy antics my foot, check out this latest antic from our own Pat W: your own name in lights, and Pat, add our Jo Meander Scully to the Crew Roster, please!!!

    Crew of the HMS Ancient Mariner!

    This is in the heading as well.

    On the "fame" issue, perhaps Coleridge was operating on the religious principle that pride is a sin. In that case, what would be the problem would be that he took too much pleasure IN fame. You can't help fame, can you? If you have it, others have bestowed it. It's what your own self DOES with it that matters. Coleridge (do you think, this is just off the top of my head), may be saying that you need mercy for praise because it goes to your head and you forget to thank the reason you have the talents in the first place (pride is a sin) and you need to be forgiven for fame.

    To me, that would be the thought of a person who secretely lusted AFTER same, do you agree? And who worried about it.


    August 6, 2000 - 10:57 am
    Ginny---Yes, I agree. Perhaps Coleridge is operating under religious stipulations about fame. Humility is the opposite of Pride, said to be the sin by which the angels fell. Any writer who is religious at all would feel a conflict between the obvious desire for fame and the possible penalties which accruded to fame. No one writes to be forgotten. But then, on the other hand, there are all those stipulations about Pride.

    It seems to me that with this epitaph, Chaucer has his cake and eats it too. He reminds the reader of his Fame while seeking forgiveness for it.

    One cannot ask for forgiveness for fame without having it.


    August 6, 2000 - 10:59 am
    I think I'll keep "the road is better than the inn" for mine. I have grown used to it, and it's short, would fit nicely on a stone.

    August 6, 2000 - 11:36 am
    Please add my name to the Crew of the HMS Ancient Mariner. I hope I can keep up with this group. I love to travel so I guess my epitaph will say, "here lies Sandy, she took her final trip".


    Joan Pearson
    August 6, 2000 - 11:51 am
    Sandy ...........hahaha! That's great! As long as she doesn't die on this trip! Finally we've got you aboard one of these Books'excursions! No deserters allowed! Cap'n will be soooo pleased to find your name on the ship's docket!!!! Welcome aboard!

    psMaryal! No one can blame you - do it all the time, but this is a different journey, love!
    "It seems to me that with this epitaph, Chaucer has his cake and eats it too. He reminds the reader of his Fame while seeking forgiveness for it."

    Chaucer's epitaph anyone?

    August 6, 2000 - 11:58 am
    Welcome aboard... Your enlistment will be confirmed by email.

    August 6, 2000 - 02:12 pm
    Avast, all you landlubbers!! Permission to come aboard, Captain? Seaperson Lorrie Gorg reporting on the poop deck. Pardon, I've been sipping a little of Gorg's grog here!


    August 6, 2000 - 04:31 pm
    Thanks JoanP---Oh dear, I meant COLERIDGE. Oh my. All those C names, you know. I meant with that epitaph, COLERIDGE finds a way to have his cake and eat it too. Oh dear.

    betty gregory
    August 6, 2000 - 05:19 pm
    I don't do decks.

    But I'll volunteer for night watch until 4 bells, when I can call out "All's well." Then I can go make early coffee---as long as our water holds out, we can always have coffee.

    Joan Pearson
    August 6, 2000 - 08:04 pm
    HAHAHA! Maryal! Five miles to go!

    And dear Betty, there is water, water everywhere!

    betty gregory
    August 6, 2000 - 09:20 pm
    Ah, Joan---all that water has salt in it!! We have to bring our own drinking water, barrels and barrels of it. If we drift off course or miscalculate our water needs, we'll have to find land and fresh water soon! (We better keep an eye on this landlubber!)

    August 6, 2000 - 09:22 pm
    I'll bring the spring water I bought in order to prepare for the Millennium Glitch that never appeared.

    August 7, 2000 - 07:46 am
    Avast there!!!

    Welcome aboard, Sandy and Lorrie!

    Doggone, if we can't make a sailing out of this one there's something wrong with us.

    hahahah, SANDY, what a hoot! "She took her last trip!" hahahahahaha Boy that's pretty good. Sandy will probably be the last one on deck, on the ferry over to British Victoria once she was the only one who did not barf in a bag and we, imprisoned with her at the same table, couldn't get sick or face her throwing US overboard. We were the ONLY table on that Voyage From Hell who weren't totally green, so we have one good sailor amongst us anyway. Hope it won't BE her last trip! hahahahaha

    LORRIE, are you planning to bring all that potato salad on THIS trip? Lorrie is a tad strange, but so are the rest of this crew as you all will find out, but she insists on making 500 pounds of potato salad at every oppportunity, I think we've found our Chef. I wonder if potato salad gets rancid?

    And there's Betty, swabbing the deck, this looks like a pretty fit crew, not much for the Cap'n and First Mate to do, actually, hope the Cabin Boy brings up the GORG er....GROG soon.

    Would like to point out the Ship's Crew above? Pat Westerdale's sister DREW that ship, folks!!!! Yes she did! Original art right here on SN's Books!


    August 7, 2000 - 08:11 am
    This looks like it's going to be a jolly good sailing. Sure, I'll be the galley chef. You're mostly all going to be seasick anyway, but that's all right. We'll have plenty of Gorg's grog available for that mal de mer.


    August 7, 2000 - 08:13 am
    And Pat, that ship is wonderful!! It's something like this that attracts a lot of us landlubbers. And a hearty Welcome Aboard to you, Sandy!


    August 7, 2000 - 08:47 am
    I'll be glad to help Lorrie in the GALLEY.

    betty gregory
    August 7, 2000 - 08:59 am
    What? I'm already in the doghouse? Hey!! I'm the one who doesn't do decks and you've got me swabbing them already!! Just give me thirty lashes with the cattails, (cat out of the bag comes from taking the cattails out of the ship's bag), then send me off to the doc to get my wounds tended to. Or, send me up the mast for a while as punishment ("walking a fine line" comes from walking the lines of rope).

    August 7, 2000 - 09:15 am
    betty!---I didn't know that about the cat and the bag. Thanks. I just love learning where odd phrases come from.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 7, 2000 - 04:51 pm
    Who do I tell that I DO NOT NEED to be mailed the video? Pat - I come after you on the list, so can you either take my name off it - or if that is too much trouble, just SKIP ME and mail it to Joan P. Okay?

    I can get the video from my library. Now to find a copy of it somewhere -

    August 7, 2000 - 05:03 pm
    Ginger wrote that she would be sending the video soon... So, I will send it on to JoanP when I have finished watching it.

    August 7, 2000 - 05:16 pm
    MUTINY!! Already a mutiny and the ship has not left port!

    Betty says she does NOT do decks, well have you EVER, I thought all sailors did decks! Well! Now!!! Hmpf!!!! Snort!!! Yon Cap'n will retire on his mucky deck to ponder what measures need to be taken: plank or woMAN overboard!

    We have two tapes circulating from the top and the bottom of the list respectively and it's well worth watching, so I think we will all see it.

    I was amazed my library had it!


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 7, 2000 - 06:30 pm
    Doesn't every ship have a Log?


    August 8, 2000 - 02:41 am
    Robby could that be ...


    thanks for all the frivolity on this HOT HUMID SLEEPLESS NIGHT .....a Hot Anna from Virginia ...

    Ella Gibbons
    August 8, 2000 - 07:28 am
    My library has it also - am not renting it, just requesting it!

    Is this going to be a depressing journey! If so, I'm not sure I want to sally forth! The above line "That he who many a year with toil of breath found death in life" does not bode well for this optimistic sailor.

    August 8, 2000 - 07:54 am
    Ella, depressing? No. Thought provoking? Yes. We'll let all our sailors make their own assessments at the end of this marvelous story!


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 8, 2000 - 08:13 am
    Ella: If you have a problem, just ask the Cabin Boy to get you something soothing.


    betty gregory
    August 8, 2000 - 09:06 am
    Cabin boy, I need a stool for my feet and something delicious to drink.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 8, 2000 - 09:08 am
    Betty: I don't think we've shoved off yet. There's a McDonald's on the dock.


    betty gregory
    August 8, 2000 - 09:30 am
    who hired this cabin boy?

    YiLi Lin
    August 8, 2000 - 10:15 am
    So gotta go get the text. I just saw this and remembered my father reciting Ancient Mariner at the dinnertable in my childhood. The amazing thing is that my father was uneducated (I don't think went beyond 6th grade) but could recite all these wonderful rhythmic tales- the HIghwayman, Ancient Mariner and had a love of Beau Geste.

    August 8, 2000 - 10:30 am
    Wheeoooooo (Ship's whistle piping aboard Sailor #17, YiLiLin!)

    Welcome and select a bunk and have a coffee and deck chair courtesy of the Cabin Boy Who Nobody Admits Having Hired!

    I certainly didn't!

    This must have been some of Yeoman Ella's doing!


    August 8, 2000 - 10:40 am
    YiLi Yin: That anecdote about your father was really touching, to me. It reminded me of my own father, whose lack of education didn't prevent him from lovng the written word, either. When I think back how we stupid children would snidely snigger at his mispronounciations, I feel a real sense of regret.


    August 8, 2000 - 04:59 pm
    YiLi Lin: Your name has been added to the Crew's Roster.

    August 9, 2000 - 10:18 pm
    Well are you taking on more passangers. This poem I remember my grandfather reciting, and many others. He was one of those people who could memorize anything and he was in his 60's and 70's when we children were in school and he helped us so much with poetry especially. Good old Scots stories too, he told us. I, like other little kids thought several verses were interesting and skipped the rest. I would like to go along but I dont want to ride in a ship of death in life, how do we go on a trip like this and still find our humor etc. Fae the Leary

    August 10, 2000 - 03:16 am
    Welcome aboard, Swabbie Faith!

    Your question is one we can all ponder together, I'm just amazed at how many people have memories of their parents or grandparents recitations of this poem and other poems.

    Are you all surprised a bit that many of the family figures mentioned are male? Do many men recite poetry today? What does this say about ...well, where we are as compared to where we WERE as a literary nation?

    The epitaph and the poem, if you notice are direct opposites as to life in death, or death in life, this will be very interesting and it all starts on September 1!!!

    I guess you could say the gangplank goes up and we set sail on September 1, All Hands on Deck, this will be SOOOOO fun!


    YiLi Lin
    August 11, 2000 - 08:57 am
    wasn't always poetry but your thought on where are we as a literary nation. WAAAAY back when I taught 8th grade I used to read children't stories to one particular group (the then black leather jacket, chains and piercing crowd). I was amazed at these tough kids at the end of their seats or showing real emotion on their faces to stories like Horton Hatches an Egg, Madeline etc. These kids had never been read to- it was the rhythme along with the pictures and tales that got them. they'd leave my class and maybe go mug an old lady in the park, but for those moments they were captivated and vulnerable.

    August 11, 2000 - 11:10 am
    Well as to men being the tale tellers, yes mostly. And at the grocery store on the front porch where the old men sat in the lazy afternoons in our little mountain town, the stories and poems that flowed were something else again. I heard one fellow, a professional tramp singing the whole of Hiawatha. And the others would join in on lots of verses. I say singing because of the rythme and the nuances they put and the joining in was like a chorus. It was primitive and wonderful. Longfellow was their favorite along with o'l Robby Burns.Seems my grandad was not the only scot. There were some wonderful ethnic stuff too from an old Basque man from Spain. Fp

    Nellie Vrolyk
    August 11, 2000 - 05:11 pm
    Captain Ginny, I'll gladly swab the deck! Hard work tis true but better than having to climb into the rigging to reef the sails while a gale wind blows. Hahaha!! You better not ask me to tie any knots if you want everything to work right - any knots I tie immediately fall apart.

    Am all ready to sail on the first.

    August 11, 2000 - 10:02 pm
    Faith P: What a lovely anecdote you told of "tale tellers!" I loved it, especially about the men on the front porchall joining in.

    Hi, Nellie! Welcome aboard! Sit down and help yourself to a mug of our famous Gorg's Grog! Shhh! I sneaked some aboard when the cap'n wasn't looking!


    YiLi Lin
    August 12, 2000 - 06:02 am
    Faith what a wonderful memory.

    August 12, 2000 - 08:22 am
    You know what? When you think about it, that's why a ship has more than one person, the Captain, on board? He can't do it all himself, and in THIS case, you may be assured of that.

    So get your passports ready we will look at Part I on September 1. The ship will be boarding in the next two weeks, be sure you have your stuff ready! hahahahaha

    There are 7 parts so we can take a part a week unless we want to go slower, let's see how the pace goes in the first week.


    betty gregory
    August 12, 2000 - 08:42 am
    Ginny, it was after I read the PROSE version that I relaxed and decided hey, I don't need to fear joining in a discussion on poetry. I know you poetry experts will have a fine time dissecting everything but I'm probably not the only one who will enjoy even the simplest level of discussion. Remember our recent lesson from Roth? The freedom to be wrong? Well, if all those who have studied this aren't in agreement, then that kinda takes the pressure off us, too, I'd think.

    August 12, 2000 - 09:09 am
    Amen. Betty! I'm afraid i don't know a haiku from a hornet's nest, but I'm ready to join in on the simpler discussions. I love this pem, anyway!


    August 12, 2000 - 09:43 am

    Listen, what version of the poem do YOU have, the words aren't the same in all the versions?

    I have the Dover publication of the one with the 8x11 magnificent Dore engravings, the "unabridged and slightly rearranged (!!??!!) work published by Harper & Brothers in 1878." The text has been "compared to the 1834 edition, generally considered authoritative."

    Irk, as Maryal used to say.

    Which one do you all have?


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 12, 2000 - 10:40 am

    I think you're referring to scurvy (not beri-beri) which I believe one finds in Africa.

    As to what I'm bringing to this discussion -- only two things:--

    1 - The poem itself.
    2 - My life's experiences. I refuse to be influenced by the critiques of others. I intend to examine the stanzas along with the rest of you and compare them to some of my own experiences and feelings that I have had as I've sailed the voyage of life.


    Ella Gibbons
    August 12, 2000 - 12:28 pm
    Here's what I found at a used book store - a copy of "THE BEST OF COLERIDGE" (copyright, 1934, reprinted August 1945) with a preface by Earl Leslie Griggs. And the RIME is annotated which helps to understand what is going on I think - is that good? I think so! You would like this copy because there is a paragraph at the beginning all in LATIN and then in English. Shall I quote it for you? The paragraph is entitled "Argument."

    Gosh, I do hope I learn more about sailing on this voyage than I did when years ago foolishly we bought a small sailboat determined to learn the craft! We had it 3 years and we now know how difficult sailing is - truly! Had some wonderful adventures on it, and some not so fun (My husband kept wanting to put a motor on the thing so we could get away from the dock - that in itself is an achievement, believe me!) You can't imagine the embarrassment of not being able to leave the dock, so we would wait until all the others were unloaded and hope nobody would line up behind us and then off we would go yelling at each other like idiots, and, of course, I sat there laughing hysterically at it all, and the more I laughed, the more angy my husband got. Before a divorce happened, we sold it!

    But I have full faith in this captain and my sea bag will be packed and ready to sail on the lst!

    Is there where the expression "He has an albatross around his neck" or something like that, came from?

    August 12, 2000 - 12:35 pm
    Great thoughts, Robby and Ella, we'll each bring what we have to the table and we'll all leave enriched!

    hahahaha, Ella, what a hoot and it's just those kinds of voyages we enjoy most, the kinds when we just jump right in without fear. Your Captain appreciates your confidence and truly appreciates the Griggs, as the Griggs is often quoted and mirabile dictu, is annotated!

    We're going to have a little dictionary or glossary for those terms like kirk that people may not be sure of, your annotated copy will save the day on that one, does it mention the definition of "Ancient," by any chance?

    Let's plunge right on in and see what temperature the water is, I feel better already!

    On the Latin, I have that at the beginning of mine, how about the rest of you?


    August 12, 2000 - 12:39 pm
    And by the way, Ella, you have a TREASURE there!


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 12, 2000 - 12:42 pm
    I heard a news item on NPR regarding what is going on re Pinochet in Chile and the term "albatross around his neck" was used by the Chilean reporter. Apparently Rime is known throughout the world.


    August 12, 2000 - 12:51 pm
    Robby, no kidding, by the Chilean reporter? Boy! Literature is far reaching, isn't it? Somebody look up albatross, I would be willing to bet this poem is where that phrase "albatross around the neck," originated, Ella, who else would have thought of doing that?

    Scurvy, that's RIGHT! Well we won't get scurvy this trip, I have my oranges all in the hold.

    Am a little anxious here but excited as well.

    Of course women are bad luck on a ship.


    Nellie Vrolyk
    August 12, 2000 - 03:37 pm
    My version is found in a 1970 edition of Norton's Anthology of Poetry, and looks like it has the same or at least closely similar text to that of the online one.

    August 12, 2000 - 04:27 pm
    O boy, this is going to be fun! Ginny gets seasick. Almost everyone refuses to swab the decks which has to be done about four times a day, I think. Ella tells us that she and her family couldn't get away from the dock. Robby has to tell Ginny that it's scurvy and not beri-beri. Lorrie doesn't know a haiku from a hornets' nest.

    Hey! There's someone I can help. Lorrie--"The Ancient Mariner" is more like a hornets' nest than it is like a haiku.

    Sorry, but I can't do anything about all the seasickness and the deck swabbing, but I do wonder if Mutiny might be in the offing if the Captain is always seasick (and rolling little marbles in her hand). Hmmmm.

    O, and I swim. Just in case anyone needs saving.

    Maryal the Mariner

    Ella Gibbons
    August 12, 2000 - 06:12 pm
    What am I bid for my TREASURE! Going once.....going twice.....

    August 12, 2000 - 07:02 pm
    Ella, if it's full of dramamine, I'll bid on it!

    And Maryal, you are so kind! If you show me around the non-hiku parts of Coleride's poem I'll see to it that you get extra potato salad.

    Hey, cap'n, have no fear! Have a mug of Gorg's grog---the perfect antidote for sea sickness!


    August 12, 2000 - 07:12 pm
    Wow! I've been reading Coleridge's bio, and this part really intrigued me:

    "HIs family was irate when they finally found out he had joined the Army. He'd used the improbable name of Silas Tomkyn Comberbache and had escaped being sent to fight in France because he could only barely ride a horse. His brother George finally arranged his discharge by reason of insanity and got him back to Cambridge."

    That struck me as pretty funny. "Silas Tomkyn Comberache," no less!


    August 12, 2000 - 08:04 pm
    Lorrie---I will do anything for extra potato salad! Yum.

    betty gregory
    August 12, 2000 - 09:19 pm
    Well, I LOVE the water. I went to sleep to the sound of the ocean for 6 years on the northern coast of Oregon. When I'm down, I get out my pictures and northwest books and pretend I can still hear the ocean. I'll swab the decks, sir.

    August 12, 2000 - 09:38 pm
    Utterly amazed, after reading all the posts. My heart goes out to all of you...such a merry crew...about to depart on such a frightful journey. A psycho-drama on the high seas. Poetry as nightmare. You do well to meditate on your epitaphs. Oh, my! I shudder for you. Put your souls in order. Get your shrive shot before you leave.

    August 13, 2000 - 03:33 am
    Ahoy there, Jonathan!! And welcome aboard!

    Don't just stand there on the dock, come right on up the gangplank and choose a berth.

    Little do our sailors seem to realize, but once the harbor is cleared, there's only one law on the sea and it's the Captain's??

    Am inspired by my friend Bligh, who, even tho set out on his own rowboat in a Mutiny! managed to out navigate and outsail the main ship. (Don't anybody look up our dates now, I may be a bit prescient here). Anyway, the Cap'n is unafraid of Mutiny on THIS bounty! hahahaha

    Lorrie, great stuff there, and the initials are still STC, too. He was very fond of his initials and coined a Greek anagram for same, will try to get it up later this week, (even though scholars point out he translated it wrong). The same scholars pointing that out have written nothing so enduring as the Rime, so I think I'll engage here in a willing suspension of disbelief and let him have his way.

    Thanks for bringing that here.

    Ella, you won't believe this (would take you up on that treasure but Bibliofind is winging one to my own doorstoop, which is covered with my baggage for the trip, as we speak)! In looking up Ancient Mariner, I found this, and was so struck by it and your story I couldn't STAND IT: check it out!! If you do a search for Ancient Mariner in the Bookstore, you get, among other things, this: Sail Into the Sunset: A Handbook for Ancient Mariners. The Coopers instruct the older sailor how to sail!!!! I think it's a hoot and I think everybody on earth should run out and buy this book!

    The next time the Books gets together, we shall sail on some boat in memory of this voyage, and we can hang gracefully over the side of the ship! It will be our new tradition! Throwing up for the Books! er.....er.......

    THINK about every ship you have been on? Every voyage you have been on? Did you see the CAPTAIN doing all the work? 'Nuff said.

    By the way, where was the Captain on this ship and how come nobody noticed his absence? Hmmmmmm????

    We will start with a nice look at Part I on September I. I read yesterday that a great way to enjoy any poem is to read it aloud. You might want to try a few stanzas or verses aloud, in private, (don't do this in the supermarket like I do).....Maybe we should, some of us who like to memorize, set ourselves the task of memorizing one particular short part, just to immortalize our look at it here. That might be fun. We could say which part we have learned, unless, of course, you have the entire poem memorized.

    So far so good on the version of the poem you have. You will note, if you view the video, some differences if you have the poem memorized, that is, but I think between all of you here we can overcome it.

    Don't be shy about bringing up anything and everything, that's why we're doing it, we've got Maryal as our life preserver! I saw her just now swimmming off the bow, practicing her lifebouy throw!! (Better pack a life vest!)

    Cap'n Crunch

    August 13, 2000 - 06:36 am
    Under LINKS above... the Coleridge Archive gives a good explanation of Greek anagram... essteesee

    August 13, 2000 - 06:54 am
    Good Morning, Jonathan. May I post your name on the crew's roster?

    August 13, 2000 - 09:32 am
    Ginny---One throws the lifebuoy from the deck, not from the water. Sheeeeesh! Watch out or this old lifeguard will fail to see the Captain when she falls overboard.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 13, 2000 - 10:20 am
    As Scouts we were taught --

    1 - Throw
    2 - Row
    3 - Go

    In that order!!!


    August 13, 2000 - 12:38 pm
    Robby--Lifeguard training was the same thing Throw, row, go. I think that now, with so many pools, it is Throw, tow, row, go.

    Or maybe it is Tow Throw Go. Or maybe. . . . Anyway, something has been added to tell guards to extend a pole to someone struggling.

    Maryal the Mermaid

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 13, 2000 - 01:06 pm
    Maryal: I knew there was a fourth one - I couldn't think of it. We had long poles for that.


    August 13, 2000 - 05:58 pm
    Remember this from another of Coleridge's poems? When i hit 75, my brother sent me this, and asked if I remembered how our grandfather used to like it---

    " When we are old :
    That only serves to make us grieve
    With oft and tedious taking-leave,
    Like some poor nigh-related guest,
    That may not rudely be dismist
    Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
    And tells the jest without the smile."

    August 13, 2000 - 06:17 pm
    Please sign me on. I wouldn't miss this for the world. Now then, which of these ropes do I pull on?

    August 13, 2000 - 07:59 pm
    Jonathan ... your enlisment has been confirmed.. Please see your name on the Crew's Roster.

    August 13, 2000 - 09:17 pm
    Let's see, wasn't that albatross around the Mariner's neck named Jonathan? (Just teasing, Jonathan!)

    Welcome aboard! I'm the mess cook, and boy can I make a mess!! But at least we have Robby, the cabin boy, to clean it up! The ship sails at ebb tide on September 1, and try to stay out of the captain's way until then--she's seasick, and her aim isn't always that good.


    August 14, 2000 - 06:22 am
    Get outta here! YAY, Jonathan!!

    I think a crew of 19 for an old but certainly relevant poem is astounding, am very excited if a bit nervous.

    I guess this is not a good time to say the Cap'n also was a life guard?

    Far be it from your Noble Captain to flaunt credentials!

    This poem rattles around in my head all the time, it's bouncy and jingly, it's easy to remember. I'm going to pick a section I don't know and memorize it and at the very end, will type in what I can just to prove the old brain still functions, albeit at a very low level.

    What rope, Jonathan? Well, you know the old saying, last hired, first fired? You get the Crow's Nest! You can watch for icebergs and check to be sure that Betty is helping Nellie with those decks!

    Cap'n Bligh

    August 14, 2000 - 06:24 am
    We have a Stowaway! Yes, I did receive intelligence late last night that we DO have a stowaway and we will need to turn the ship apart to find out WHO and WHERE this Stowawy is!

    Of course, your Cap'n knows, but you don't. Maybe you can guess by the end of the trip.

    Lorrie, what a literate family you are, I never saw that one! Thanks so much!

    Cap'n Crunch

    August 14, 2000 - 06:31 am
    It's a fine thing that we can all swim, I hope? I shall present my credentials on request... The last time I passed a WSI (Water Safety Instructor) was when I was 60... Maybe I should get it renewed if the cruise is long

    August 14, 2000 - 07:47 am
    The only persons requiring swimming ability are those whom the Captain makes walk the plank! Save that in good memory, Captains are not known for their democratic feelings (maybe that's why there wasn't one on board the Mariner's ship).

    Cap'n BighII

    YiLi Lin
    August 14, 2000 - 08:31 am
    Poetry as nightmare- I love it! Hmm think a lifeguard is 'cheating'? Maybe not really relevant but I - a very RARE movie-goer- did have an opportunity to see the Perfect Storm- now forget the George Clooney hype and go see. At minimum I think it was wonderful that a producer took the time to make heroic ordinary lives. There are a few interesting scenes on board that might add to our discussion here, especially when we get knee deep in issues of choice.

    August 14, 2000 - 08:59 am
    Schools out, Schools out teachers let the monkeys out with diploma's So here I am with such a lively group of saliors. I am sure glad to have people who can swim here as I can only swim under water.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 14, 2000 - 11:34 am

    January 21, 1793
    Louis XVI executed
    February 1, 1793
    France declares war on England, Holland
    June 1793
    Reign of Terror begins
    July 13, 1793
    Jean Paul Marat assassinated by Charlotte Corday
    October 16, 1793
    Marie Antionette executed
    Eli Whitney applies for patent on cotton gin;
    second partition of Poland
    December 2, 1793
    STC enlists in 15th Light Dragoons as Silas Tomkyn Comberbache


    April 10, 1794
    STC discharged, returns to Cambridge
    June 1794
    STC first meets Southey, plan pantisocracy scheme (essentially, a kibbutz)
    ``pantisocracy'' -- a scheme involving a projected, but never realized, utopian settlement on the Susquehanna River in America
    July 28, 1794
    Robespierre executed
    1. STC's first poems in Morning Chronicle;
    2. Blake Songs of Experience;
    3. Paine Age of Reason
    September 1794
    STC & Southey publish drama The Fall of Robespierre
    December 1794
    STC leaves Cambridge without degree,
    tours Wales,
    begins Religious Musings

    betty gregory
    August 14, 2000 - 03:53 pm
    The Napoleanic era of decades of war at sea is centered right at the end of the 1700s and first decade of 1800. (From memory, I could be off some years on either end, but I know 1801 was right in the middle.) Every major water route was a dangerous place to be. In a dire emergency, a family member might join her husband in the East Indies, for example, by getting special permission to take passage on a brig in the British Royal Navy, but there was no guarantee that she would arrive safely.

    Letters took months to arrive home, if they hadn't gone to the bottom of the ocean or if they hadn't been seized by a French ship---or by a opportunistic ship of scoundrels who pirated the seas. Getting from point A to B could just as easily be interrupted by storms at sea or by dead calms that might last a month or longer. In a dead calm, there was no movement of wind or water. The trash and filth thrown overboard would accumulate around the ship for weeks.

    If not the weather, plagues of illness could sweep through a ship within days. Other vessels at sea would not be able to give assistance, would not come aboard. When stores of fresh water were getting low, finding a safe harbor on coastal property was tricky. It couldn't be enemy territory. The weather had to cooperate or, as often happened, the ship could be smashed to bits by coastal currents that would hurl it onto the coast's rocks. Native populations along undeveloped land were often hostile. Finding fresh water was difficult!!

    Jonathan is going to be our "loose canon" (a canon that began to roll across the deck could maim several people before crashing through a rail and dropping into the ocean). Someone needs to watch him around ropes. Give him a mop!

    betty gregory
    August 14, 2000 - 04:12 pm
    Well, I don't envy our stowaway, whoever that might be. One whiff of the rotted timbers and bilge water that covers the bottom of the hold should be enough to cure'em---a few inches to begin with, then over time it can be a few feet deep, depending on the weather and age of the ship. The slime up the sides of the hold will be what our stowaway rolls into, oh, about a thousand times a day. He (it has to be a he) will not be a pretty sight when he comes to his senses.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 14, 2000 - 05:30 pm
    Oh, I'm getting frightened before this voyage begins, methinks I should abandon all thoughts of it! A nightmare voyage! Shrive shots - what are they? And I swore when, on my last sail, we found ourselves swimming in the water with no buoys or lifejackets that I would never, never set sail again! (a lake, a lot of laughs, no tragedies on that voyage, however).

    But an ocean voyage! And one into the land of ice, and of fearful sounds where no living thing was to be seen! I can't swim and have always been afraid of drowning. I do want to die in bed ! It's my dying wish to die in bed, not in the water - and I am fearful of the our Cap'n's qualifications! How say the rest of you?

    Ginny, I paid $7 for this book of mine and I swear he "upped" the price from the time I called and when I picked it up. The pencil price had been erased and a new one put in, but it's in good condition with a lot of pencil underlining.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 14, 2000 - 05:39 pm
    Perhaps all of you have read of Coleridge's use of opium before and during the writing of this poem. "To his use of opium has been attributed his supreme success in the realm of supernaturl poetry."

    My book says that Coleride began the fatal habit while at Christ's Hospital and Cambridge, but it was not until 1796 that he seems to have occaionally been excessive in his use of the drug. In his day, the devastating moral and physical effects of opium were not recognized, the use of opium being a common practice. For the rest of his life he fought the habit, never absolutely conquering it.

    I have poppies in my flower garden, lovely red ones, but have no idea how to go about making opium; having no use for the drug- Haha Anyone?

    August 14, 2000 - 05:39 pm
    Does the following remind anyone of the past Republican Party Convention?

    A vain, speach-mouthing, speech-reporting Guild,
    One Benefit-Club for mutual flattery,
    We have drunk up, demure as at a grace,
    Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth ;
    Contemptuous of all honourable rule,
    Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life
    For gold, as at a market ! The sweet words
    Of Christian promise, words that even yet
    Might stem destruction, were they wisely preached,
    Are muttered o'er by men, whose tones proclaim
    How flat and wearisome they feel their trade,
    Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent
    To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth.
    Oh ! blasphemous ! the Book of Life is made
    A superstitious instrument, on which
    We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break ;
    For all must swear--all and in every place,
    College and wharf, council and justice-court ;
    All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed,
    Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest,
    The rich, the poor, the old man and the young ;
    All, all make up one scheme of perjury


    From "Fears in Solitude"

    August 15, 2000 - 05:41 am
    WOW!! WOW!! Lots on the table here this morning, I guess we should call this the Cap'n's Mess?

    Wow, thanks Barb for that neato timeline, there was quite a bit happening in the time Coleridge lived, who knew? Louis XVI? Wow. These "Ancient," to me, figures of history all revolved at the same time, then.

    Betty, thanks for that great description of life at sea at the time, the approach of the lifeboat in the last part of the Rime makes a bit more sense now. That's really good stuff.

    Does anybody know why it was called "Rime" instead of "Rhyme?" The old Cap'n has a million questions in the naked city but no annotated version and no answers.

    Lorrie, wow, you should post that in the Poetry sections and the DiA, it's funny that the more things change, the more they stay the same, isn't it? Loved it, thanks so much. Breathtaking, really.

    Ella, your Cap'n guarantees you that you will not die in the water on this trip, can't say anything about your own bed, but if you mind your P's Q's and other letters, at least you won't walk the plank. So much for YOUR small mutiny about the Cap'n's qualifications, see those waves? hahahahahaa

    Are you realy afraid of the water? Why? Did you have some awful experience as a child?

    I have only known one captain of a ship and he was in total respect of the ocean and not only feared it, but I got the impression he hated it. That man probably should not have gone into the trade, but he's the only one I knew? Do you all know any real life sea captains? He probably ate pickles dipped in peanut butter, too, so we can't really draw any conclusions from my tale here.

    Have always felt so sorry for the Captain of the Titanic, movie notwithstanding. As well as the passengers.

    The Cap'n is on a starvation diet, by the way, and thinks the crew needs to be, too. After Betty's description of the hold, maybe we all will be.

    And yes, the Stowaway IS a man and I expect he'll be in none too good a mood if he has to endure such horrors.

    Cap'n Hungry

    August 15, 2000 - 08:27 am
    Ginny----Yes, and the French Revolution too! Rime/Rhyme are alternate spellings. Rime is, I think the older form, and since the Romantic Poets were very interested in the ancient past (among other things, like Nature) would be the most appropriate for Coleridge to choose. It gives a kind of antiquity to the poem as does Ancient. Think of the option-- The Rhyme of the Old Seadog.

    August 15, 2000 - 09:48 pm
    And one man in his time plays many parts.

    Ahoy! me stout-hearted ship-mates. Well, furl me mizzen royal! What a jolly company! It pleases, to have so many parts suggested for me. I'll gladly play 'em all. If the need arises, I'll serve as a cannon. It only seems to be 'loose', Betty. That's a clever camouflage for high mobility and a fine adaptive capability. And it's a great idea. Sell it to the Captain. A little more fire-power, than a mere cross-bow, will stouten the faint-of-heart. The Albatross! Sure! Good casting, Lorrie. Ah, for a chance to hang about a fairsome neck, before sinking beneath the waves. Have the wedding invitations gone out? Me in the Crow's Nest, Ginny? Yippee! The best seat in the house!


    CAN YOU HEAR ME DOWN BELOW? (aside: d..., it's an iceberg)

    A world. A ship's deck. How about a pulpit for a stage? It's interesting to think that STC might have become a very successful preacher if the Wedgwoods, Thomas and Josiah, had not dissuaded him with a hundred and fifty pounds a year for life. Here in the words of a member of the congregation is Coleridge speaking from a pulpit. (As quoted in S M Weissman's: His Brother's Keeper, 131-2):

    'It was in January, 1798, that I rose one morning before daylight, to walk ten miles in the mud, and went to hear this celebrated person preach. Never, the longest day I have to live, shall I have such another walk as this cold, raw, comfortless one, in the winter of the year 1798.... When I got there, the organ was playing the 100th psalm, and, when it was done, Mr. Coleridge rose and gave out his text, 'And he went up into the mountain to pray, HIMSELF,ALONE.' As he gave out this text, his voice 'rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,' and when he came to the last two words, which he pronounced loud, deep, and distinct, it seemed to me...as if the sounds had echoed from tht botton of the human heart, and as if that prayer might have floated in solemn silence through the universe. The idea of St.John came into mind, 'of one crying in the wilderness, who had his loins girt about, and whose food was locusts and wild honey.' The preacher then launched into his subject, like an eagle dallying with the wind.... I could not have been more delighted if I had heard the music of the spheres. Poetry and Philosophy had met together. Truth and Genius had embraced, under the eye and with the sanction of Religion. This was even beyond my hopes. I returned home well satisfied.'

    What a pleasure it must have been for all those who, at one time or another, heard STC recite The Mariner.

    August 16, 2000 - 07:02 am
    Jonathan: Wow! That was an awesome post! I can see you'r going to be a real asset to our crew. It will be nice to have a shipmate who can quote some of STC's better verses in those deep, mellifluous tones!


    Ella Gibbons
    August 16, 2000 - 08:01 am
    Is Jonathan our stowaway? I'm somewhat fearful if tis the case,he's in the crow's nest and he sees a d.... iceberg ahead and doesn't give any directions a'tall? Is the iceberg to the port or starboard or straight ahead?

    Hey, Cap'n - perhaps you need to get him down, sober him up a bit and get someone there who isn't so excitable. I did enjoy his recitation of Coleridge's sermon though.

    August 16, 2000 - 08:29 am
    HO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!! HO HO HO!!!!!!!!!! Well shiver me timbers and all that, hooooo boy!

    Dadgum have we got a crew here or not, the old Cap'n (who of course was CHOSEN as Captain for all the wordly knowledge she possesses) actually feels the pricking of a moist eye here.

    Get OUTTA here, check it out: Maryal talking about the definition of "Ancient," casually throwing in (for those sailors playing cards down in the hold who might have missed it) the Romance Poets and the characteristics of the Romance Movement in one casual breath and here we have ol Cannon Jonathan (and I WILL refrain myself from the other spelling of cannon but just realize the Cap'n knows a play on words when she sees one) with Coleridge's sermon: both of those worthy things as well as Barb's time line shall fly immejiately to the heading where they shall lodge as soon as somebody makes a nice HTML page of them here in the Books!

    Well now, the table is full of good things to eat, we may as well eat hearty, me buckos, you never know about sea voyages!

    Ella: Yes indeed, we have another male Stowaway and he's no slight fellow either. Perhaps he may pop out, perhaps he may run the decks when it's dark. Perhaps he may throw dice for the crew, perhaps he is lurking 5 fathoms (how long IS a fathom?) deep under the ship, but he IS there, trust the ol Cap'n on this one.

    I came here first today and I'm so glad I did!

    Cap'n Bligh II

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 16, 2000 - 08:41 am
    Oh to have the literacy to write in a diary such beauty that we would all sigh some 200 years later at the wording alone. Thanks for sharing that Jonathan - are you related to the famous sea gull of name? -

    That ship sure has lots of symbolism. Is a ship the symbol for Hope or is it Faith within the Christian community? I do know it is symbolic for salvation and safty from temptation as well as the cradle or womb, the protector on the sea of life; crossing the waters of death or waters of creation or crossing from this world to the next. The earth is a boat floating on primordial waters. The mast and spars being a cross and symbolic of the Tree of LIfe.

    August 16, 2000 - 09:47 am
    The account of Coleridge and his reading of the scripture is most interesting. But I point out that Coleridge was not preaching. He was reading from the lectern whatever the daily reading from Scripture was. Then the preacher apparently preached upon part of the scripture that was read.

    From all accounts of Coleridge, he was a joy to listen to. Several people who knew him said that his conversation was even better than his writing and that he threw idea after idea out there. Apparently he was extremely stimulating. Since writers have to have much solitary time and Coleridge loved company and conversation, one can only imagine what he might have written had he not been so convivial.

    In Jonathan's quote above, Truth is embodied in the Preacher and Genius in the Poet. I cannot imagine Coleridge as a Preacher. He would have been miserable.


    August 16, 2000 - 09:03 pm
    Am I missing all the action up here? Well,then; I'll look around. And write another post.

    It augurs well for the voyage that our Captain is so pleased with her crew. That she is so generous and even-handed in her distribution of accolades. As for me, I'm proud as can be, to see my name up there on the handsome roster. If I can contribute anything, I hope it will be my enthusiasm for a remarkable piece of poetry, and its poet; and my curiosity about how the rest of you, seasoned travellers that you are, feel and think about it.

    Now, for heaven's sake, tell me: am I a canon or a cannon? Can't I just be the guy who rings the little vesper bell? It gets a bit lonely up here, except for the sea gull. Barbara, the suggestions in your post are worth exploring. I would like to hear more from you.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 16, 2000 - 10:33 pm
    Oh you will Jonathan and some will shake their head saying wryly, oh yes you will-- I'm the one that brings all this research to what ever I read and I usually turn to my copy of An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J C Cooper to see the story in it's syumbolic form. I've been reading with Seniornet for just about two years now, truly interested in finding out what is the point the author is trying to make and than silently asking 'so what'-- what is the significance of the line, chapter, the plot, characterizations. Why that setting or that discribed object, what is the point.

    And than, to me, this is the exciting part-- we bring to this discussion such a variety of life experiences that the discussion often takes on a life of it's own as we share and show what a passage or word could mean because of our individual experiences. With and because of what I've learned, often because of other's posts, I connect what I've learned with what I feel and than apply a course of action or, an idea expresses for me a larger or sometimes more personal picture of my humanity.

    All that Jonathan but for now, I'm just cooling my heels and tapping my fingers till the opening bell on September 1. We've got some great folks aboard that have brought so much to previous discussions. This will be quite a ride.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 16, 2000 - 11:54 pm
    Here's a man of some intellect, methinks. Despite bidding adieu to the albatross some forty odd years ago, perhaps I'll have to join this discussion after all; not as crew member, though. Observer of human foibles, failings and phantasmagoria, instead.

    August 17, 2000 - 05:57 am
    Welcome, Mal, the WaterSprite!

    On a voyage if you're not ON ship you're off, right? So you can have your choice of phantasmagorical (sp) beings which float around the ship. Or under it.

    Speaking of that, Ginger, why do you say you can only swim underwater?

    Ah, well a day! Intellect, thou sayest? Yes, indeedy! There is enough intellect going up the gangplank for this trip to make the ship glow in the dark!

    Let's see if it does glow, the pre embarkation certainly does, what a pleasure.

    Wonderful words, Barb, I just love that!

    Thankee, Canon/Cannon (CC) Jonathan, no amount of oil will grease thy descent from the Crow's Nest, however! hahahahaa Swings a bit, does it?

    Thanks for that, also, Maryal, we have a team of people working to get up everybody's additions to the table in HTML form, I think there are about 6 HTML pages as clickables being prepared. These can serve as reference to the background of the piece. Betty, we're including yours, too, on what it was like to sail in 1800.

    We can add to these so that at tne end, if somebody comes in late he can have, hopefully, tons of great information just at the click of a finger!

    I'm getting the impression of a ship pulling and tugging at the ropes which hold her to the dock, swaying and tacking with no sails up, pulling against the ropes. Which ship was it in history which crashed upon launching?

    I seem to remember the Titanic itself nearly crushed another ship as it was launched too. The Captain of the Titanic is on my mind lately for some reason.

    On September 1 I hope you will all have read Part I, and be here early on the dock, baggage stowed, for your last (!!??) walk up the gangplank! As you do, sneak a look at the heading here, you will get a shock, I think, a pleasant one and a stunning send off for our voyage!


    August 17, 2000 - 10:46 am
    Ginny, I just can't stay on top of the water so swim under water and come up (just my head ) to breathe. Can't float either it seems I should be able to with all this blubbler.

    August 17, 2000 - 10:49 am
    Ginny, I just can't stay on top of the water so swim under water and come up (just my head ) to breathe.

    betty gregory
    August 17, 2000 - 11:34 am
    Ginger, well, you have something in common with my son, who at the age of 4, a precocious little braggart, told his daycare male swim teacher (at an unusual summertime combo of daycare/swimming school) that he could, too, swim in the deep end. The swim teacher knew he couldn't because I knew he couldn't--yet, no swimming lessons yet. So, with 2 adults in the deep end, they said, ok, show us (wink, wink), ready to teach a needed lesson to a kid who had no healthy fear of a deep end. He jumped in, came up for air several times on his way across, each time a rasping gasp for air, and climbed out the other side a foot taller in his I'll-show-you pride. When I came to pick him up after work, I was met with you-won't-believe-this smiles from several adults who couldn't wait to let him show me what he'd been doing all afternoon. Over the summer, he did relent and learned the more traditional strokes---which propelled him that much faster under water.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 17, 2000 - 11:34 am
    Just watched the video of the RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER! Read by Orson Welles - what a wonderful voice the man had - is he still living? Beautiful illustrations, just gorgeous.

    Do we know the city we are sailing from? And does the crew know what happens? Methinks perhaps I'd rather wave from the shore as the Captain and the crew set sail? I'll listen to the Mariner when he returns, he has quite a tale to tell.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 17, 2000 - 11:37 am
    There is another video under Coleridge's name at my library entitled "The Strangest Voyage." I would imagine it is about the RIME, wouldn't you? I think I'll request it also - do you know of it, Ginny?

    YiLi Lin
    August 17, 2000 - 07:18 pm
    Just a thought on our individual experiences and how they shape our discussions- recent (and not so recent- but now regarded) research suggests "we are our experiences" not only in the psychological sense, but this notion of cellular memory and the role memory and intelligence plays in all our cells- not just brain- that we are in a sense a "packaged experience". so in addition to brining our unique selves into the discussion, it is interesting to think of Coleridge as an "experience" who created and wrote the text.

    August 18, 2000 - 08:43 am
    I love that, YiLiLin, and boy WILL this be an experience, it's going to be breathtaking if all this great input keeps on, a merging of experience. At this point I have read so many commentaries I despair of remembering any of them or any of their points so anything anybody has to say is of equal and exciting value here!

    Ella, no, I have not heard of that one! Why not try it out and see how it is? We're, (I hope) looking at two copies of the Michael Redgrave which is quite nice for the Colerdige bio, he's got a good voice, too. I think Welles has passed on.

    Our Crack HTML Team has gotten up some just fantastic, there are no other words for them, HTML pages with some of the things you all have contributed and you will be amazed, I sure was. These will go up very soon in the heading, be sure to look at all of them, this is the first time we have done a series of HTML pages of information.

    One of you, was it YOU, Nellie? mentioned the Riverside edition. I have it here beside me and it packs a whallop in its little pages. Here, for those who have endlessly worried over just exactly what Wordsworth DID contribute to the Rime are Wordsworth's own words on the matter:

    In 1797 Coleridge and his friend Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, much enamored by Coleridge, set "off on a little tour, intending to meet the expenses of their journey by a poem to be composed jointly by the two poets. It is amusing to note that they started on their journey apparently with no engagement, but with full confidence in their ability to write the poem and then to see it for 5 pounds to the editor of the Monthly Magazine. They set out hopefully, but after eight miles the scheme broke down, and Wordsworth's contribution first and last was confined to half a dozen lines, and one or two suggestions." (--Riverside The Vision of Sir Luanfal, Rime of the Ancient Mariner).

    The first suggestion to Coleridge appears to have come from a strange dream related to him by a friend, in which appeared a skeleton ship with figures in it. "Much the greatest part of the story," says Wordsworth, "was Mr. Coleridge's invention, but certain parts I suggested; for example, some crime was to be committed which should bring upon the Old Navigator, as Coleridge afterwards delighted to call him, the spectral persecution, as a consequence of that crime, and his own wanderings. I had been reading in Shelvocke's Voyages a day or two before that, while doubling Cape Horn, they frequently saw albatrosses in that latitude, the largest sort of sea-fowl, some extended their wings twelve of thirteen feet. 'Suppose, ' said I, 'you represent him as having killed one of these birds on entering the South Sea, and that the tutelary spirits of these regions take upon them to avenge the crime.'

    The incident was thought fit for the purpose and adopted accordingly. I also suggested the navigation of the ship by the dead men, but do not recollect that I had anything more to do with the scheme of the poem. The gloss with which it was subsequently accompanied, was not thought of by either of us at the time, at least not a hint of it was given to me, and I have no doubt it was a gratuitous afterthought. We began the composition together on that, to me, memorable evening. I furnished two or three lines at the beginning of the poem-- in particular:

    "And listened like a three years' child:
    The mariner had his will.'

    These trifling contributions, all but one, which Mr. C. has with unnecessary scrupulosity recorded slipped out of his mind, as well they might. As we endeavored to proceed conjointly (I speak of the same evening), our respective manners proved so widely different, that it would have been quite presumptuous I me to do anything but separate from an undertaking upon which I could only have been a clog."

    Isn't THAT something?


    Ella Gibbons
    August 18, 2000 - 08:45 am
    The video I just watched was made in 1977, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and is animated by Larry Jordan, who subtly applies color over the black and white Dore images. Mark Ellinger's original music on two synthesizers captures the sounds of the sea, the silences and provides a delicate, ghostly counterpoint.

    I understand the video that is being mailed around is narrated by Michael Redgrave, not Orson Welles. I truly hope it is as beautiful as this one.

    August 18, 2000 - 08:48 am
    Ella, we were posting together, can you copy the Welles? Check out the great Wordsworth quotes above as to who suggested what for the Mariner.

    The "gloss" everybody keeps talking about are the little prose paragraphs which help explain the story, and apparently they are a story in themselves.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 18, 2000 - 10:11 am
    Yes Ginny I had to look up "gloss" to better understand what was being explained. This is a combination of the dictionary and from some site that I totally forgot where or who wrote the paper, that goes into the word "gloss."
    1A brief expanatory note or translation of a difficult or technical expression usually inserted in the margin or between lines of a text of manuscript.
    2 A purposefully misleading interpretation of explanation
    3An extensive commentary, often accompanying a test or publication) as if in the hand of some later (but still "antique") hermeneut.
    By doing so, as well as through an author's own critical remarks in the Biographia Literaria and elsewhere, he in effect collaborated with readers, critics, and parodists in determining the form in which it would be handed on to the canon and literary history.

    The gloss, itself a parody of academic or monkish interpretation, has proven to be a continuous source of hermeneutic (hermeneutic means the science and methodology of interpretation, explanation) questions about the poem and about hermeneutics in general. It is by now a critical commonplace that the gloss offers a kind of enfolded dialectical or ironic perspective on the main text of the ballad, though critical disagreement persists as to how to read the precise tone of the marginal text. For my purposes, it is enough to acknowledge that there are places in the text where the gloss opens up an ironic counter-voice on the main action of the ballad, in effect anticipating the poem's inevitable parodies. This may be discerned ... it is a clearer possibility in stanzas 9-10:
    I also read an interesting paper about the literary academia having had such concern about all the literary information and downloading of the Classics on the internet. They have a fear that out of their control the "Cannon" of literature that they have associated over time to certain periods and type may be altered by those of us that do not have their background and education. Hmmmmm If nothing else is helped me understand better when the word "Cannon" was being used in respect to literature.

    It apparently is a body of work that the academic community has defined to represent a certain period of writing like the Romantics or Medieval etc. It sounds like the work is grouped by more than the time the book is published but, how important it is to defining other elements in common with books of the period.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 18, 2000 - 04:46 pm
    I'm a pretty much mixed up and confused Sprite in the Water. Is this what you mean?

    "canon (kàn´en) noun Abbr. can.

    "The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic: the entire Sherlock Holmes canon.

    "The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation. All rights reserved."

    August 18, 2000 - 07:31 pm
    Canon---the word goes back to the formation of the Bible, both old and new testaments. The books that we know in each are part of the canon--or they are canonical--books that did not make it into the old testament are in the Apocrypha, recognized by Catholics but not by Protestants. The New Testament contains 4 canonical gospels. There were many others that for one reason or another did not make it in. No one knows exactly who did the selecting though most likely it was done by committee.

    The "canon" in literature is the books that are considered classics, or must-reads for an educated person. Until fairly recently most books in the canon were by dead white males. More recently women and minorities have achieved canonical status, at least for a while. Unlike the biblican canon, the literary canon is not forever fixed.


    August 18, 2000 - 07:52 pm
    In 1798, Wordsworth and Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads, with far the majority of poems contributed by Wordsworth. Coleridge's explanation of the division of labor is in his Biographia Literaria which is a wonderful book with some fine discussion of poetry and some excellent criticism of Wordsworth. Here is a little of what Coleridge has to say:

    The thought suggested itself (to which of us I do not recollect) that a series of poems might be composed of two sorts. In the one, the incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions, as would naturally accompany such situations, supposing them real. . . .for the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life; the characters and incidents were to be such, as will be found in every village and its vicinity, where there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek after them, or to notice them, when they present themselves.

    In this idea originated the plan of the "Lyrical Ballads"; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic. . . . Mr. Wordworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day. . . .

    With this view I wrote "The Ancient Mariner," and was preparing among other poems, "The Dark Ladie," and the "Christabel," in which I should have more nearly realized my ideal, than I had done in my first attempt. But Mr Wordsworth's industry had proved so much more successful, and the number of his poems so much greater, that my composition, instead of forming a balance, appeared rather an interpolation of heterogeneous matter. Biographia Literaria, Chap. XIV

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 18, 2000 - 09:17 pm
    Yea, Maryal, you are exactly right, but wherein cometh "cannon"?


    August 18, 2000 - 09:54 pm
    I'm beginning to get the drift of this whole business. Just where we're heading. They're all coming off their pilgrimage to Canterbury. It could not have been the spiritual adventure they wished for. It's the Mariner's Dark Night of the Soul they long for. All this talk of canons, cannons, and more canons! Could it be!? Is it canonization for all, in the end? The plot thickens. Why couldn't they have put a seat belt into this thing? Imminent ditching is a constant. SAINTS! Protect me!

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 18, 2000 - 10:27 pm
    Never having been to Canterbury, I wouldn't know, but I did find some interesting things tonight about the fact that Coleridge and Wordsworth watched a Leonid meteor shower at about the time they were talking about this piece. Also read that Coleridge was pretty involved with the reading of horror stories then, too.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 18, 2000 - 11:47 pm
    Maryal and Malryn, who desides what literary work is included in a Canon? I think y'all are saying each author has a Canon of work. The paper I read seemed to be saying also that the different periods or, whatever they are called, have a Canon of work ascribed. Is there a measure that determines what work is included by either an author or books representing a certain period? Is all the published work of an author considered his Canon of work? The woman writers that are now included-- how did that come about? Was it because of the many collage level classes in woman's lit.? Is this Canon determined because someone has written a paper that was given someplace? Or, is there a committee that gathers to develop the list? Does the entire English speaking community accept the same list of books in a Canon?

    I had never heard of the sections of the Bible being called a Canon-- interesting-- I only knew about Canon Law. As to what is in and what is out, I was tought that all happened sometime in the 4th century. I need to find the name of the Pope instigated gathering because I forgot. Tut tut Father Albert would not like my not remember his third year Church History class.

    betty gregory
    August 19, 2000 - 03:15 am
    Malryn, as to the other cannon,


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 19, 2000 - 04:56 am
    Betty, boom backatacha!

    Frankly, I don't think canons or cannons have anything to do with analysis of the rime. Leonid meteor showers appear to have had an influence, and so do Coleridge's penchant for horror stories and his sense of isolation.


    August 19, 2000 - 09:59 am
    Malryn---I am with you. The whole discussion of what the canon is becomes very confusing, especially in this venue.

    One of the main disputes in the literature field at present is what is IN the canon, those works that are expected to be most worth reading, and what is OUT. No one agrees on this; there are different camps. At present we seem to be moving back to admitting that some works are more important to teach than others.

    As for the Bible, the books that are "canonical" are all those that wound up in the Bible.

    canon 3 [Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard] a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture b : the authentic works of a writer c : a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works <the canon of great literature>(Merriam Webster)

    And then there's the church canon and the go boom canon. It's a word that covers much territory.


    August 19, 2000 - 10:05 am
    O Wedding-Guest ! this soul hath been Alone on a wide wide sea ...

    and that's why i'd love to peek in on this discussion. just reread the poem for the first time since ninth or tenth grade and sat in awe in front of my computer screen...at what a lifetime can bring to one's readings.

    i am still in the midst of house guests...just returned from vienna...and will take off again in september...but will try to pop in. wish we could do it now. sob...as someone says here.

    i will just say that i saw several albatross (albatrosses?) when we sailed to new zealand. and have been stuck in the doldrums for eight days and nights...can't imagine anything scarier than seeing a "painted ship on a painted ocean" coming toward you when there is no wind or tide to bring it. crikey.

    if there is no one to use the sextant i will volunteer to shoot the sun at noon every few days...anyone have an almanac and a stopwatch?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 19, 2000 - 10:19 am

    Truly said, Fairwinds. I wish I had the time now to read so much of what I read in my school and earlier years and to understand so much more. Remember George Bernard Shaw? "Youth is a wonderful thing; it's a shame it's wasted on the young."

    Looking forward to seeing you in "Democracy in America."


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 19, 2000 - 11:45 am
    Fairwinds, I just read in another discussion where the piano played at the concert in Vienna was a Bosendorfer. What a thrill! I have never played one, but have a friend who owns one far away in Vermont. What this has to do with albatrosses, I do not know, except for this. If I had the wherewithal, payments for a Bosendorfer would be one sweet albatross to carry around.


    August 19, 2000 - 12:45 pm
    Fiarwinds---do drop in when you can. It is always good to hear from you.

    August 19, 2000 - 01:47 pm
    thanks, maryal.

    malryn...thanks for the correction on albatrosses. i usually believe a smithie. you must be a good pianist. isn't it interesting how relative all of our wishes are. you'd like the albatross of payments for a bosendorfer. my albatross is that i made the mistake of giving up the piano. would love to be able to play chopin on any old steinway or even a second hand yamaha. my friend who gave the concert in vienna just turned seventeen. she and her best friend jabber all the time and look at boys. since they will be staying with me three more weeks, we have decided to trade off cooking days. and i am teaching them to cook. they have both read the rime of the ancient mariner so i'm trying to get them to give me some special scoop.

    hi robby...back to "democracy in america".

    betty gregory
    August 19, 2000 - 05:23 pm
    Maryal, thought you'd adopted a southern accent there for a minute. (Fiarwinds)

    August 19, 2000 - 05:27 pm
    Betty--Heh heh. My mother was from North Carolina.

    August 20, 2000 - 08:44 am
    Sextant Operator Fairwinds!!! Welcome, welcome!

    You all may not know it, but our Fairwinds is a REAL sailor and knows enough to know we need a sextant operator, for sure.

    Pat W, kindly pipe aboard this latest Crew Member. What is a Sextant Operator called, Fairwinds? Properly, that is. Don't you DARE take off in September!

    Great posts, all, on the canonization (boy that Crow's Nest is really going to swing, Canon Jonathan, you are a live one, forsooks!) I am really really really (am I actually making a point here) looking forward to this voyage.

    Thank you, Maryal, for that explanation, and the wonderful stuff on the GLOSS, Barb!

    Look up, Mariners! Look up in the heading. What do you see? Click on the Reader's links! Are they not FINE?

    Jane and her crack Books HTML Team did those links, they are unique and very fine. Thank you Pat W, Coxwain, for putting them up there. What is a Coxswain, Fairwinds? Does that make you a Sexwain?

    Oh boy what a ship, what a crew, still boarding, gangplank still down, time for some potato salad, no?

    Cap'n Courageous

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 20, 2000 - 09:03 am



    August 20, 2000 - 09:22 am
    Ginny Readers links won't click for me. Boo Hoo.

    August 20, 2000 - 10:13 am
    ginny et al... "A coxswain is an obnoxious, sadistic twerp with Napolean complex that sits in the stern of the boat." that's a ROW boat. our ship is a SAILING ship. i can't tell you what an official name is for one who operates the sextant...and i will admit here and now that i hate math and always left the noontime job of balancing on the boom with one arm up to my sailing companion...while i counted the seconds out loud on a watch.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    August 20, 2000 - 12:45 pm
    This old swabbie has her buckets, mops, and scrubbing brushes ready for keeping that deck shiny and clean. There was also some kind of stone used to polish the deck but I can't come up with the name of it. Anyone know?

    I'm ready for the September first sailing of the "?" does our ship have a name? How about The Coleridge?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 20, 2000 - 12:47 pm

    You're so right! A ship has to have a name and the "Coleridge" sounds appropriate.


    August 20, 2000 - 12:49 pm
    fairwinds---You forgot that the coxswain is usually very small so as not to add too much weight to the boat. And he/she calls the time for the rowing. He himself does not row.

    Fortunately I know nothing about sextants except what they look like so my abysmal math skills will not be obvious to all.

    Ginny---Have you been forsook? Oh dear, oh my. What can I do to help? Do you mean forsooth? Robby is also curious.

    Someone more clever than I am needs to get a link up here to a good sea shanty. Then we can all dance the sailor's hornpipe whatever that is.


    August 20, 2000 - 02:38 pm
    forsook, v;tr ,has the same meaning as forsake. forsooth,adv : in truth, indeed.I have a new additiont to my Windows 98 and it is called Guru and what it does is if I am stuck on a word on a web page I just put my cursor on it then r=click and my menu has guru on it i click on that and a little window pops open with the word and a dictionary meaning. It wont find some archaic words of course but it sure is a fast way to correct my spelling when I am posting a message in Senior Net. I got it as a free down load from ZDNet downloads. Faith

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 20, 2000 - 03:12 pm
    Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem, born in 1773, self schooled wrote The American Practical Navigator still used by sailors although computers are replacing much of the work calculating ship paths.

    The sexton measures the distance between the sun and the horizon, is usually completed at the same time every day. That distance observed and measured between the sun and the horizon is ploted to find the latitude. The moon is shot and the longitude can be found when the moon crosses a star since the almanac tells the exact position each day of the stars and the moon. All longitudes are measured from the London Meridian.

    Usually one of the Mates carries out this task, and Bowditch first carried out the task as a second Mate Clerk. That was my most favorite book when I was in the seventh and eighth grade. The Life of Nathaniel Bowditch

    How Celestial Navigation Works

    Interesting comparing these two men, Colridge lost his father at age 9 and Bowditch, because of the death of his mother and his father's inability to earn adequate income, he was apprenticed to a ship chandler at age 12. He educated himself using the Bible to aid in traslation he learned Latin and French as well as filling notebooks with everything he learned about ships and the sea, mathematics and astronomy. He wanted to learn Latin in order to read Newton's Principia.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 20, 2000 - 03:43 pm
    I'm sure glad the Cabin Boy does not have to know mathematics.


    August 20, 2000 - 03:49 pm
    Ginny. Those links that you put in of offerings made by some of us posters are great!!

    Everyone, tune in above and check out some of the pithy sayings and poetry contributed by your fellow shipmates!!


    August 20, 2000 - 06:58 pm
    FaithP----That sounds like a really cool thing to have. Just click on the word and you get a definition. Neat.

    Robby---I need a down comforter for my rack.

    August 20, 2000 - 09:43 pm
    barbara...good information on celestial navigation. that's about as simple as it gets. however, let's not confuse the instrument for navigating, the sextant, with a sexton...a church custodian sometimes in charge of bell ringing and digging.

    maryal...i thought the reference to a napoleon complex in the definition of coxswain indicated he or she is a small person.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 20, 2000 - 10:08 pm
    Maryal: Well, if we have a flock of sheep on board, maybe one of the ship's crew can make you a comforter.

    Incidentally, what are we eating while on board? And is there a ship's carpenter for taking care of repairs? How about a ship's doctor? Does anyone get the feeling we are not that prepared to weigh anchor?


    betty gregory
    August 21, 2000 - 03:43 am
    Well, I've rushed home to get my doctoring kit. Locked box of hundreds of tincture of opium. Only the Cap'n knows where I keep the extra key. Many hundreds of doses of physic, I know, I know, tastes like rotten eggs, but when you're sick, you have to take it. Stacks of bandages and twine. My gardening saw has rusted, I see. Does anyone have a good sharp saw that will cut through bone? I'll need a good strong assistant.


    August 21, 2000 - 05:28 am
    Robby-------DOWN not wool. Pay attention. I will need geese. Perhaps I can shoot some down with my crossbow.

    Betty---I will be your assitant to administer the doses of physic when necessary. (have to find some way to get close to that opium!)

    fairwinds--of course you are right about the Napoleon complex. Short, small but dreams of grandeur.

    August 21, 2000 - 05:48 am
    Tut, tut! As the ship's cook, I tell you now that you need have no fear about the galley's menu. Our first night out we will be having chicken cordon bleu, a fresh garden salad, wild rice, and a creme brulee for dessert. I don't know who is in charge of the wines. The future menus will depend on what stores we find at various ports along the way.

    Also, there's an ample supply of potato salad in case.

    Ship's cook Lorrie

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 21, 2000 - 06:14 am
    Eat well, me hearties. It won't be long before you're a ghastly crew with nary an appetite among you. Leave some in the larder, though, because our ship might meet up with the hungry crew of the Flying Dutchman. Who knows?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 21, 2000 - 07:47 am
    Maryal: Perhaps if, with your crossbow, you can shoot down just one albatross, that will give you enough down for your comforter.

    And of course you all know the answer to the question: "How do you get down off an elephant?"


    betty gregory
    August 21, 2000 - 10:34 am
    Scotch tape?

    August 21, 2000 - 10:39 am

    Yeoman Faith is hereby promoted to Admiral of the Ocean Seas, First Class!

    Avast there!

    Jeepers, do you love it? Even when the Cap'n makes up a word (which, of course, Dear Swabbies, is the Captain's prerogative) the loyal sailor can find it anyway, (or something very like it)! hahahahaaha

    I love it!!! hahahahahaaa

    Geez, we can tell how many of you have read Mutiny on the Bounty. Every utterance dropping from the Cap'n's lips is LAW on the high seas, me Hearties. hahahaha

    Oh potato salad, I knew it! But that menu sounds pretty good to me (forsooks)! HAHAHAHAHAHA Oh I love it, I have no earthly idea what I intended by that, but it's cute.

    Kinda reminds you of "suaveaire," doesn't it?

    Anyway, now you have both a Captain and an Admiral on board, so we ought to get there in one piece, anyway.

    Well then, on September 1 we throw off the ropes and we set out from land, hopefully without striking other vessels in our path. (Did you see where the QEII scraped a Japanese ship who then said they were honored?) I love that, too.

    There goes another Captain, the QEII seems to run thru them. But I digress and don't get any ideas, either, Crew~!

    So it's 9 days and counting till we launch. When we do launch a box will appear by magic (by Pat Westerdale, actually) in the heading with some provocative, hopefully, topics for you to ponder and reflect on, which center on Part I, which, hopefully, we all will have read by that time.

    I hope we can have a good old chat over any of those points or any others you would like to raise, there is a LOT in Part I to notice, discuss, and learn about.

    Cap'n Malaprop

    August 21, 2000 - 03:35 pm
    Lorrie---Forget about the ship and get yourself over to Maryland. I will pay you to cook such fine meals. Wow. I'll do the wine.

    Capn Ginny, sir----Words cannot mean exactly what you want them to mean even if you ARE the captain. We are about to enter an adventure with poesy and you are planning to make up words???? O, dear. Throwing caution to the winds, say what?

    Robby---one gets down from an elephant very slowly and carefully. I think I would slide down the trunk or wait for a ladder.

    Maryal the Maritimer

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 21, 2000 - 06:07 pm
    During the long hours on a ship's voyage one can wile away the time asking riddles. Like that old high school one:--

    "What is the difference between a duck?"


    YiLi Lin
    August 21, 2000 - 07:23 pm
    Well you guys seem to have all the senior positions of responsibility accounted for- but I'd like to apply for one or more positions: ---I'd like to be the guy who hangs out in the crows nest and yells land ho (if there is land to ho- otherwise I'll keep reading)- oh an if I get that job can you send me up a sandwich. or ---Can I be the guy who ladles the rum (with a squeeze of lemon or lime - no scurvy on this vessel)- I figure rum is the closest we'll get to naturopathic remedies on board. Plus the way I figure it- come the mutiny- or who gets in the lifeboat when we hit foulwinds (no pun intended fairwinds )- there's gotta be a seat for the rum distributor and his barrel. Actually I really want this job come to think of it- no land to ho you guys'll leave me up there with the crows.

    August 21, 2000 - 07:24 pm
    An Admiral can die at sea just as easily or perhaps more easily than a seaman, Aye. May the wind always be at your back Adm. FP

    August 21, 2000 - 08:09 pm
    Faith----er, pssst, you outrank the captain. keep that in mind in case we get in trouble. keep a weather eye out. methinks the captain is a bit, shall we say, dithered?

    August 21, 2000 - 08:18 pm
    Maryal If not forsook. HaHa I will keep eyes to the wind then.I put my Guru on your dithered and he came up with a noun dither, meaning agitated and a vb. tr. to be all at sea Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha shall I continue LOLROF. Admiral

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 21, 2000 - 08:19 pm
    Forsook, Maryal! I love that word "dithered"!

    August 21, 2000 - 08:21 pm
    Malryn are you in the water or aboard. Faith

    August 21, 2000 - 08:24 pm
    Admiral FP----Get a grip. We are counting on you.

    Malryn---Thank you kindly. It jumped into my mind and it turns out to be a fine word to describe our Cap'n.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 21, 2000 - 08:47 pm
    Faith, at the moment I'm flying in the air casing the joint. Water sprites only spend part of the time in the water, you know. In a moment I'm going to dance on your Admiral head, so avast and ahoy, watch out below!

    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 05:07 am
    Oh, thank god we've got a visiting Admiral aboard. I share your concerns about our dithered, forsaken Cap'n. Just nod to me, if this gets any worse. My assistant Maryal and I will assist the Cap'n down to sick bay. Some blood letting may bring our sir around. Doc

    August 22, 2000 - 06:16 am
    Well I'm going to tell you all one thing, right now! (Don't you love it when somebody says they're going to tell you one thing and they then proceed to tell you a hundred things?) hahahaah

    Anyway, it's plain that the office of Plank Patrol, which is yet unfilled, YiLiLin, is going to get plenty of service here as we have a Mutiny before we even cast OFF, for Pete's sake! I think several of our Ancients will be trodding the board before this is over and have my eye on that Maryal as we speak. Hmpf!

    Yes, you can be Yeoman Rum Dipper, YiLiLin!

    That's tough, me Hearties, the Cap'n is up to the task and we all know that in case of foul weather (foulwinds, love it, everybody HIDE when Fairwinds sees it) the Admiral goes down with the ship while the Cap'n is all at sea (love that too) in the lifeboat. THE lifeboat? THE.

    YiLiLin, the Crow's Nest would get awfully full with you AND Jonathan, not that I would ever accuse you of any hanky panky or anything but let's keep it clean here and let him hang there swinging. I note (slowly slowly in the wind hahahaha) that on his HTML page above there's an excellent illustration of his doing just that.

    Kindly note the possessive in front of the gerund. Don't MESS with the Cap'n, Kiddies, the Cap'n is in full charge. As Foul....er...Fairwinds (why do you think she HAS that name?) will tell you.

    Now off to the OED for an instructive look at kirk!

    Cap'n Crunch

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 22, 2000 - 06:41 am



    August 22, 2000 - 07:23 am
    Cabin Boy Robby, (or Little Sir Echo as the case may be, hahahaha!!! ) yes, the Plank Patrol may be something we all may be familiar with before this is over.

    Here's what my OED (abridged) says about "kirk"

    Kirk: "Middle English (Northern from Church; cf. Old Norse kirkja). The Northern English and Scottish form of CHURCH, in all its senses. b. In official use, the name 'Kirk of Scotland' gave place to 'Church of Scotland' at the date of the Westminster Assembly. But (c) in subsequent English usage, 'kirk' often=the Church of Scotland as distinct from the Church of England, or from the Episcopal Church in Scotland. So Free Kirk stands for the Free Church of Scotland. 1674."

    I think that's sort of interesting, myself.


    August 22, 2000 - 07:37 am
    Will I be assigned the role of the Dramamine Distributor? How 'bout "barf bailer?"

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 22, 2000 - 07:38 am
    I looked up Kirk and it said "Captain of the Enterprise."


    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 07:41 am
    ON THE OTHER HAND....the Cap'n is the Cap'n. (And has my spare key, etc., etc.) I just got the memo that explained we are to hold our tongues when foreign utterances fly out of her mouth. The King's English notwithstanding, this is her ship.

    Secret meeting tonight in the forward most sleeping chamber, just after the midnight shift change. No lanterns. Doc

    August 22, 2000 - 09:57 am
    Cap'n Ma'am ... Waiting for my asignment.

    Another question... Is Malryn to be signed on even though she is still "flying in the air casing the joint."?

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 22, 2000 - 10:23 am
    I'd better be, Pat! Wouldn't miss this here trip for anything! Water sprites are like a Greek chorus you know. They stand a little apart and add their two cents' worth from time to time. No seafarin' journey is ever made without a dripping wet consultant!


    August 22, 2000 - 11:39 am
    Hey, Cap'n! Would you say that this motley crew is really quite "au courant?'


    August 22, 2000 - 12:13 pm
    Ha hahahah " A dripping wet consultant." Now that is funny, Mal!

    August 22, 2000 - 12:45 pm
    Betty----I will gather flesh-water leeches on my way home from kirk tonight. Hehehehehe.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 22, 2000 - 01:15 pm
    My favorite breakfast. Flesh-water leeches. Heat up the frying pan, Lorrie!

    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 01:27 pm
    Oh, I forgot to say, the secret meeting tonight is for all those who support our Cap'n and want to be prepared for whatever rough seas might be ahead.

    Excellent, Maryal. My supply of leeches was running low. Now what about a sharpened saw? Doc

    August 22, 2000 - 01:33 pm
    hey, can't i even correct the typo of sexton to sextant without some of you getting huffy? you can call me foulwinds but i warn you. there are ways of getting even on a boat. vee haf owa vays.

    August 22, 2000 - 01:48 pm
    You tell em, Foulwinds! hahahahaa

    Of all of us here, you know the deep seas best.

    Fish food coming up! Haul out them cement booties!

    Cap'n Queeg

    August 22, 2000 - 02:32 pm
    Ahoy this ship, Admiral Fop coming aboard Stand by. Hey there load master take these crates and barrels to my cabin. And the large seachest bring along with me as I never let it out of my sight unless locked up. Here me harties have a cup of rum on the Admiral. And thanks for your backs. Now if I can find the Doc who is to accompany this voyage I will show the sawbones a thing or two for here in me chest is as fine a set of surgical tools as can be produced in Germany the hearland of good steel in 1800's. And I have a good supply of rum and opium should there be need. This Admiral being now aboard you are officially the Flag Ship. look it up. FoP

    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 03:07 pm
    The Admiral tells us to look it up, I guess we look it up.

    August 22, 2000 - 03:37 pm
    Admiral Fop, SIR---Any ship with an ADMIRAL aboard is a flag ship, SIR!!!

    YiLi Lin
    August 22, 2000 - 04:50 pm
    Yoeman Rum Dipper reporting in sir- but beggin your pardin, er capn- howzbout (burp- oops) Yoe'person' Rum Dipper? or is it YO- person! Anyway methinks that somewhere along on this voyage we'll wish for a bit of political correctness.

    And so I recant my petition for the nest and graciously will walk my watch, ladle firm girth'd about me middle. The rum now there's the rub- won't tell a soul where the sweet elixir is stored. For a small "donation" I'll make that last plankwalk - one smal step for...oops wrong century!

    August 22, 2000 - 05:10 pm
    Look up, I am doing so, and I see the clouds. What a group of ship mates we have here.

    Yoeman Will have some of that Rum, yee have had enough. Burp oops.

    August 22, 2000 - 06:32 pm
    Cap'n Ginny... I am running low on space to list the roster.

    August 22, 2000 - 06:36 pm
    Ye'll have to move some of yon Sailors under the ship, O Helmsman! Or write them over it?

    Yon Cap'n always has an answer!

    Admiral FOP, hath brought your own stewards or art relying on the Cap'n's own crew?

    Cap'n Courageous

    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 07:18 pm
    Psst, Cap'n. I just got my book, book I say---full of contemporary criticism essays on the Rime and bibliographies out the waazoo. Looks like everybody and their dog have had something to say about this literary poem. I think I'm in over my head, excuse the expression, and not a very good expression out on all that water. Maybe I should just stick to blood-letting and trying to the keep Admiral Fop out'a my sick bay. Fine German surgical instruments, for crying in the bucket.

    August 22, 2000 - 07:27 pm
    Cap'n , Admiral Fop has 2 men and a little boy coming aboard imminently as his personal crew. They will survive in the side room of the Quarters you assigned to me, the Admiral.We will take meals in my quarters. But Please Cap'n, tell your crew to keep that Dum Ripper or what ever his name is away from my quarters.Aye, there is a not so benign look to him. Not that any of this motley crew (I love the definitions of motley)be anything other than incongruous.Aha I think there is more than one kind of shroud aboard this boat.

    betty gregory
    August 22, 2000 - 07:38 pm
    There are two MEN staying with the her royalness, the Admiral? Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my.

    Excuse me, Cap'n, permission requested to go ashore to find two male physician's assistants.

    August 22, 2000 - 07:44 pm
    Ay spye the Doc ..did she get the message that the Admiral has a nice set of surgical tools..I am worth being nice too Doc. Adm.Fop

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 22, 2000 - 07:45 pm
    With all this ado on board I am taking out my mouth organ and playing a little chanty to calm everybody down. Give 'em their mugs and dole out the allotted pint, Rum Dipper. Brew's up, laddies. The party's begun.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 22, 2000 - 07:46 pm
    Does anyone get the feeling that this ship is beginning to sink?


    August 22, 2000 - 07:47 pm
    There's no turning back. Come right up, YiLi Lin. It will give me a great pleasure (and a break, too) if I can help you with fulfilling a sea-faring wish to occupy this perch with a view. If it's land you will be looking for, ye need go no further. Isn't that a lovely place for a kirk, at the foot of the hill? You must share the nest with Albatross (aka Stowaway), whom you are to release ater we have rounded the Horn (if we ever do). And one more thing. Where did ye leave the rum? Methinks I will want something before I walk the one-way Plank Patrol. Alby and I have become good friends. I promised him a proper burial, as befits one who daily came for vespers. Do what you can. The Service to be used for burial at sea, 'We therefore commit his body...', is to be found on page 401 of The Book of Common Prayer. Thankee.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 22, 2000 - 09:58 pm
    Nautical tidbit:

    CHARLEY NOBLE: Many a rookie sailor has been sent to find Charley Noble. Usually after much searching and being unable to find the person named, he will eventually discover that Charley Noble is the galley stove pipe. This is akin to being put on lookout duty for the mail buoy.

    DEADEYE WATCH: 4 am to 8 am watch

    DEADWOOD: The solid timbers in the bow and stern, just above the keel where the lines narrow down so that separate side timbers will not fit. They are firmly fixed to the keel to add strength.

    DEEP SIX: To discard something, specifically to throw it in the water. Water depth is measured in fathoms, six feet to a fathom. The term "deep six" comes from the throwing of the lead to determine water depth and indicates a depth "over six fathoms."

    BRASS MONKEY WEATHER - Refers to very cold weather.

    FREEZING THE BALLS OFF A BRASS MONKEY - A brass monkey is a brass triangle which is put on the ground and used to keep cannonballs in a neat pile or pyramid beside a gun. When the weather gets very cold the brass triangle contracts more than the iron and causes the cannonballs to roll off, hence the saying.

    EARING: A rope used to fasten the top corners of a square sail to its yard.

    FURNITURE: The whole moveable equipment of a ship, rigging, sails, spars, anchors, etc.

    GARBOARD: The first plank on the outer hull next to the keel.

    HORSING IRON: A shipbuilding tool. A caulking iron used when caulking deck seams.

    JACK: A sailor or seaman

    LARBOARD: The old name for the left hand side of a ship. It was officially changed to 'port' in 1844.

    LOGGERHEAD - To be at loggerheads; whalers, when a whale was harpooned, would fasten the line to a timber in the boat called a loggerhead, which would take the strain of the whale's pull. Also, to have a disagreement.

    MARLIN SPIKE - A steel rod, tapered to a point at one end, the other usually has a wider head. Used to open up the strands of a rope in order to tuck another strand under. Used in splicing rope. See also Fid.

    MARLIN SPIKE SEAMANSHIP - A general term referring to the working of rope, cable, etc. Encompasses tying of knots, bends, lashing and other activities. Sailors, even modern day ones, often take great pride in their marlinspike seamanship. Even on modern missile cruisers, it is not unusual to see a Knot Board, made by a member of the crew, displaying many different kinds of knots, both usefull and decorative.

    MOONRAKER: A small light sail set above the sky sail of a square rigged ship.

    RATLINE: Any of the small ropes fastened horizontally to the shrouds of a ship and forming a ladder for going aloft

    RIGGING: There is, generally, two types of rigging, even on a modern steam ship, standing and running rigging. Standing rigging is that rigging which is fixed in place, such as halyard and stays which support a mast, and are not intended to be easily adjusted or changed. Running rigging is that which is easily adjustable, such a the main sheet, used to adjust the main sail, or the rigging on a ships crane which raises and lowers cargo.

    ROPE: There is some confusion over the term rope. Rope is considered to be the bulk source of line. While the rope is stored waiting for use it is properly termed "rope." Once it has been taken from storage and put to use it should then be called line.

    SCURVY AT SEA: It is a little known fact that James Cook's report to the Admiralty based on his experiences from his first and second voyages came to delay the introduction of lemon juice (later lime juice) against scurvy in the Royal Navy for twenty years or until 1795.

    SHAKE A LEG: There was a time when women went to sea with their sailors on certain ships. The crew and their women slept in hammocks, slung on hooks. When the Bos'n rousted out the crew for a sail change he would yell "Shake a leg". He could then tell by the leg if it was a crewman that had to be rolled out.

    SHROUDS: One of a set of ropes, or wire cables stretched from the masthead to a vessel's sides to support the mast

    SPRUCE BEER: Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens Preston Boston Sept. 22. 1775 - “the custom of supplying New England Rum to his Majesty's Ships is in my humble opinion highly prejudicial to the State. The use of it destroys the Health and Faculties of the People and debilitates them surprizinzly. The Seamen always continue healthy and active when drinking spruce Beer; but in a few days after New England Rum is served, altough mixed with four or five Waters, the Hospital is crouded with sick, and those on board are pallid, weak, and incapable of doing half their Duty. I appeal to the Captains of the Squadron that this is always the Consequence of their Crews having New England Rum.”

    SON OF A GUN: The original meaning, when a woman gave birth on (or under) the gun deck, the child was said to be a son of a gun. Usually the father's name was not known, hence calling some one a son of a gun is short of calling him a ba----d.

    SQUARE RIGGER: A sailing vessel square-rigged on all of three or more masts, having jibs, staysails, and a spanker on the aftermost mast. THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SQUARE - RIGGED SHIP

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 22, 2000 - 10:06 pm
    SEA CHANTEY; Farewell to Grog
    Come, messmates, pass the bottle 'round,
    Our time is short, remember,
    For our grogg must stop, our spirits drop,
    On the first day of September.

    For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
    For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
    Tomorrow we'll be sober.

    Farewell old rye, 'tis a sad, sad word,
    But alas! It must be spoken,
    The ruby cup must be given up,
    And the demijohn be broken.


    Jack's happy days will soon be gone,
    To return again, oh never!
    For they've raised his pay five cents a day,
    But stopped his grogg forever.


    Yet memory oft' will backward turn,
    And dwell with fondness partial,
    On the days when gin was not a sin,
    Nor cocktails brought court martial.


    All hands to split the main brace, call,
    But split it now in sorrow,
    For the spirit-room key will be laid away
    Forever, on tomorrow.

    For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
    For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
    Tomorrow we'll be sober.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 22, 2000 - 10:58 pm
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Endangered Species Act
    Protection to the Short-tailed Albatross in the United States

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extended endangered species status for the short-tailed albatross to include this species' range within the United States. The short-tailed albatross has been listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since the Act was passed in 1973. However, an administrative error in the original listing excluded the United States from the area in which endangered status applies for the species. Individual birds that occur in the United States have not been protected under the provisions of the Act until now.

    The short-tailed albatross is a large sea bird with long narrow wings adapted for flying just above the surface of the water. It occurs across the North Pacific Ocean as far south as the northwest Hawaiian Islands and as far north as the central Bering Sea. Currently, the only known short-tailed albatross breeding colonies are on two remote Japanese islands in the western Pacific Ocean: Torishima Island and Minami-kojima Island.

    At the beginning of the century, widespread harvest of this species from breeding colonies in Japan reduced the worldwide population from millions of birds to less than 50 individuals. Today there are fewer than 600 breeding short-tailed albatrosses, and about 1,200 birds total (including immature and juvenile birds).

    This is one of the most endangered birds in the world. To put its decline in perspective, for every short-tailed albatross alive today, there used to be more than 4,000.

    Breeding habitat and future survival of the species are threatened by volcanic activity and monsoon rains on Torishima Island and by disputed ownership of Minami-kojima Island. Mortalities caused by longline fishing, plastics pollution, and oil spills also affect conservation of this species.

    August 23, 2000 - 04:13 am
    Hoooo, Betty, you wondered what I was in here whining about, hah? Yes indeedy, book after book after book on this one little poem. I read so many, and each one different, that they all blend into a pleasant haze at this point and can't remember a thing. I'm hoping that each person here will bring something else forward like Barb just did and their own reactions so we can totally enjoy this, stress free!

    At least that's the only way I'm going to do it!

    Admiral, there will be no meals privately, the trumpet needs to give a certain sound, you know? Thou speakest in appropriate riddles!

    Attention Crew: There will be NO Hanky NOR Panky on this trip! Kindly stick to the (note Barb's notes on grogg) NON Grog!

    geez the ship is still in port and the poor Cap'n is running self ragged already. Where is the Bo'sun?

    Barb, what great stuff, I feel three new HTML pages being born as we speak! I loved the Nautical terms!

    Brass Balls!
    Dead wood!
    Shake a leg!


    Shake a leg, Jacks!!!!

    And prepare to cast off next Friday! The gangplank is still down, awaiting new arrivals.

    By the way, how do you want to do this? Do you want to consider yourselves ON the Ancient Mariner's ship or accompanying it?

    Cap'n Mizzenmast

    August 23, 2000 - 05:12 am
    Barbara: ... your research is such a boon to our voyage... I like the great link to The Development of a Square - Rigged Ship. Thanks.

    Malryn is aboard and we now have 21. Plenty of room for more... Doesn't the poem mention a number of 200?

    Four times fifty living men, (Line 216)

    August 23, 2000 - 09:01 am
    Barbara---I was fascinated by your research. My special favorite was the brass balls and the monkey. THAT is NOT what I thought the expression meant. Do not ask me for what I thought it meant. But I had a special picture in my mind. I am so glad to know the truth:

    FREEZING THE BALLS OFF A BRASS MONKEY - A brass monkey is a brass triangle which is put on the ground and used to keep cannonballs in a neat pile or pyramid beside a gun. When the weather gets very cold the brass triangle contracts more than the iron and causes the cannonballs to roll off, hence the saying.

    There was lots of other stuff I also didn't know, but this one is my favorite.


    Is Ginny still the Capn????? Admiral Fop???????

    betty gregory
    August 23, 2000 - 09:26 am
    (By the way---Admiral Fop is the perfect Admiral. In all Patrick O'Brian's books (almost my favorite of all books), the Admiral coming aboard is both a bother and a prestigious affair. The Captain wants to show off his perfectly run ship and is forever driven up the wall by outrageous requests of favor from the Admiral. The crew could have been grumbling nonstop about the Captain, but once his political superior comes aboard, the "men" usually feel a loyalty to their Captain and morale goes up in a banding together to make their captain "look good.")

    August 23, 2000 - 09:38 am
    Well I should say so! Certainly the crew needs to be prepared to live or die by the Cap'n's words, that just might happen, you know!

    What do you mean is the Cap'n still the Cap'n? You better believe it,me Bucko!


    Cap'n Forever

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 23, 2000 - 10:29 am
    hehe I know just your picture Maryal - truth is stranger than fiction.

    August 23, 2000 - 10:33 am
    CAPN Ginny, SIR, yessir, Sir!---This swabbie knows that being called "Bucko" is a sure sign of an imminent flogging with the cat o' nine tails.

    Barbara---It's all my parents' fault. They had a small brass sculpture of the hear no evil, see no evil, speak to evil monkeys in the livingroom, and when I first heard the expression, I just naturally. . . . never mind.


    August 23, 2000 - 02:43 pm

    August 23, 2000 - 02:49 pm
    permission requested...oh Captain,Sir...to face the bitter truth,

    the Mariner's ship seems never to have had...a Captain...Forsooth

    ho ho ho and a bottle o'rum

    August 23, 2000 - 04:09 pm
    Didn't have an Admiral, either, did it, Canon Jonathan? That's why I asked (and quite a while ago)---(I believe I am going to enjoy every second of this Captain stuff) if you all wanted to consider yourselves ON the Ancient Mariner's ship or running along side on your own nameless vessel?

    You know what, I am REALLY going to enjoy this!

    (We can take turns as Cap'n if you like?)

    Cap'n Courteous

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 23, 2000 - 04:16 pm
    No, Ginny, Cap'n, SIR!!! You're the best.

    YiLi Lin
    August 23, 2000 - 05:20 pm
    Jonathen- might want to take a turn in the nest- looks like this ship is swollen with a thirsty lot. Mmmm though no hanky or panky? sure we can think of something to keep our mind off oops on our assigned tasks. In fact, I'm working on a rum raisen surprise (really a rum raison in disquise) to celebrate the first full moon on board. But alas the poet says we'll be sober in the morning.

    August 23, 2000 - 08:30 pm
    I feel so sorry for the Ancient Mariner. I know his Rime has a happy ending...well, kind of. What happened to him, should never have happened to him. He was the survivor; but four times fifty innocent men died because of the roll of the dice. Where was the captain? It was so unnecessary. It would never have happened if you had been the captain on the ship. You've told us: no hanky, no panky. That would include a crap-shoot, wouldn't it?

    ho ho ho and a bottle o'rum...well, wouldn't it?

    August 23, 2000 - 09:12 pm

    That is an excellent nautical glossary. I can appreciate the important role that you play in a literary discussion group such as this.

    Is it New England Rum that has found its way onto our ship? Great stuff! Serious consequences!

    What made me happy reading the glossary, was that I found nothing to indicate a place of confinement for purposes of disiplinary incarceration. Is there something like that on our ship? Not for myself, mind you....


    betty gregory
    August 24, 2000 - 01:12 am
    Jonathan, no need for incarceration. 50 or 100 lashes, sometimes more from evil captains, all given to those infraction-ees at the same time once a week. Recovery from wounds, for most who lived, would be incarceration enough. For lesser offenses, that day's allotment of grog would be withheld, or someone might be sent to sit 80 feet up, balanced on uncomfortable ropes until someone remembered to let him down again. For the youngest, some 12-15 years old, there could be extra math lessons. On the best British Royal Navy ships, 3 or 4 very young men met with various teachers several days a week for navigation, math and other difficult classes. These teenagers could get into normal kinds of trouble and were often ones seen "sitting in the corner"---high up in the rigging.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 24, 2000 - 07:12 am
    Well, Cap'n Fearless, I was reluctant to sign on with this crew because I don't know a mizzenpoop from a lollipop or a galley from an oar. After this voyage, however, I figure I'll know enough to sign on with Her Majesty's Royal Navy at least. Wow! What a bunch of knowledgeable people here!

    Floating over the bowsprit singin' a chanty,
    I remain loyally yours,
    Water Sprite Mally

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 24, 2000 - 07:17 am
    I want you all to note that the Cabin Boy (as is the wont with cabin boys) is observing every single thing and saying nothing. But Beware!!

    betty gregory
    August 24, 2000 - 10:35 am
    I have it on good authority that cabin boys never talk---unless asked a question, etc., etc. But I suppose some juvenile delinquent types do spout off now and then.

    August 24, 2000 - 12:28 pm
    A ship with no Captain??? How can this be? Was the Mariner himself the captain? Just an idle musing.

    Capn Ginnny, SIR, you are our captain for better or for worse, in foul and fine weather, until the seas run dry, until every manjack of us falls down dead. Etc.

    August 24, 2000 - 01:03 pm
    OH Sir is going to enjoy every last moment of this, Sir gets so little SIRNESS normally! hahahahaaaaaaaa Yes, promotions to you all, don't know WHAT you call a promoted Water Sprite. Water Sprite First Class?

    Bones First Class?

    Actually Sir has actually been CALLED "Sir" three times before this in person, and SIR did not particularly think SIR looked like a man, it was a bit disconcerting at first but I guesss as one ages (or spreads out) one has to get used to it, perhaps, tho it's always a shock, SIR does not even have a deep voice!

    This is going to be rich, BATTEN the hatches and MIND those SIRS.

    I love it, actually!


    August 24, 2000 - 02:38 pm
    We could make it feminine for you and address you as Sir-ette.

    YiLi Lin
    August 24, 2000 - 04:21 pm
    I was thinking more a Jamaican Black Rum but a New England blend or a bit of Meyers can surely be stowed.

    On a more ?serious note...I am taking a moment to imagine if we all, as we are, were the actual Coleridge crew- might be an interesting exercise for us to consider as we set our literary sail.

    August 24, 2000 - 07:01 pm
    Tis the belief of Admiral Fop that the flag ship should run aside the Mariner so as to observe and it is better to observe from outside an arena of action as your powers of observation are blinded when observing your own-self. Our Cap'n has delivered a message that I shall not have meals in my cabin. Therefore I will take meals at the Cap'n own table. I will send my own stewart to assist in proper setting for an Admiral. (And to watch me back) I would enjoy the company of that erudite one who knows about brass monkeys,square riggin' etc etc , please issue an invitation to the Captains table to that one whose knowledge of boats , she shared. Adm'l Fop

    August 24, 2000 - 07:36 pm
    Boats? or do you mean ships: Admiral,Sir?

    August 24, 2000 - 08:27 pm
    I suppose a sea going vessel should technically be called ship but in the familiar venacular do not seamen call it the boat...? May happen I am wrong but correct me if I am. Fop

    August 24, 2000 - 09:37 pm
    Thanks, Betty G

    That's good to know! I'm glad I asked. To change the subject...who is the weather expert on our ship...er, boat? Actually, I prefer ship. She comes with the ship, right? That's a lot better than it. Do sailors use the Farmer's Almanac like the rest of us, to check out what lies ahead? Does the Mariner ever mention any weather phenomena which were other than unexpected? Or did they even have an FA then?

    Good Night, Captain Yessiree

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 24, 2000 - 10:45 pm
    Avast there and AWAY ALL BOATS - One post is like a link to a memory of another

    Kenneth Dodson's 'Away All Boats' a novel, a study of human nature and the art of command. The charecters of the crew bring this ship or BOAT, to life. (Looks like even the pros sometimes call ships, boats) The story is peppered with strong charecters, Officers and Sailors that we would cross the street to avoid, all thrust into the confines of the attack transport Belinda.

    The captain (Oh Captain My Captain-- of course we must stop and pay homage-- copied below) is a driven man and his goal is to make his ship the best attack transport in the Pacific Fleet. He whittles down the rough edges and shows up the weak leaders and followers. He makes few friends but ultimately gains the respect of many.

    A text of leadership turning what has been given into a cohesive whole. A masculine book, women appear only in letters. A monastic existence as the men serve the Gods of War, a reflection on an era that is rapidly slipping into the realm of memories since we now have both men and woman serving aboard ship/boats. The book inspired the movie of the same name in 1956 staring Jeff Chandler. The best "boat" movies are--
    1. Das Boot
    2. Captains Courageous
    3. Damn the Defiant
    4. Captain Horation Hornblower
    5. Away All Boats
    6. Billy Budd (1988)
    7. Cutthroat Island (1995)
    8. Moby Dick (1988)
    9. Moby Dick (1956)
    10. Mutiny on The Bounty (1935)
    11. Mutiny on The Bounty (1962)
    12. The Bounty (1984)
    13. The Pirates of Penzance
    14. Treasure Island (1989)
    15. Treasure Island (1934)
    16. Wind (1992)
    17. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    18. Wake of the Red Witch (1949)
    19. Titanic

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 24, 2000 - 10:47 pm
    O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done,
    The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
    The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
    While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
    But O heart! heart! heart!
    O the bleeding drops of red!
    Where on the deck my Captain lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
    Rise up for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
    For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths for you the shores crowding,
    For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
    Here, Captain! dear father!
    This arm beneath your head!
    It is some dream that on the deck
    You've fallen cold and dead.

    My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
    My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
    The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
    From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
    Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells!
    But I, with mournful tread,
    Walk the deck my Captain lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 24, 2000 - 10:50 pm
    Sailors food consisted of hardtack bisquit, pork, beef and fish. With no refridgeration a ships meat supply was kept salted in brine and stored in wooden barels. Since nothing went to waste the cook scraped the fat from the sides and bottom of the barrels when the meat was gone. The congealed fat was used as a lubricant for a sailor's foul weather gear. The remainder was portioned out as part of their daily ration. argghhh.

    During a storm the cook had the job of securing all barrals of salted meat and barrels of water and any fruits of vegtables that aboard some ships were kept by floating them in barrels with water. Water taken aboard on the beginning of the voyage was in full closed barrels. Later they were plugged as barrels of beer are plugged. The barrels could only than be refilled half way when the ship sailed into a port or stopped on land to take on supplies. Dripping water spouts kept that part of the deck cool and men would hang out around the "water coolers."

    The crew talked, grumbled and gossiped while "chewing the fat" of their daily portion of brine-toughened salt pork. At the end of a voyage the leftover grease, or "slush" from the fried salt pork would be sold in port to candle and soap makers. The profit from the "slush" was used to buy extras for the crew.

    The term "Turn a Blind Eye" originates from the battle of Copenhagen in 1801, just a few years after Coleridge started Teh Rime... Admiral Horation Nelson deliberately placed his telescope to his bind eye so that he could not see the order to break of battle with the enemy. Withdrawing ment failure and Nelson ignored the order wining a stunning victory and he sometimes commented that he had a blind eye so that he could use it.

    the term "Hunky-Dory" comes from the name of the waterfront district in Yokohama, Japan where a sailor on leave could find anything his heart desired.

    The word "Posh" came from the days when British Officials and their families would travel regularly to and from India. The tickets of wealthy passengers were often stamped with the letters POSH to describe "port out, starboard home" which guaranteed cabins on the cooler, more comfortable side of the ship on both legs of the round-trip journey.

    A solution of alum was used as a fire precaution and seamen douced the sails with the solution when called to action before a battle.

    In the fifteenth century the Dutch developed the use of keelhauling as punishment for sailors.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 25, 2000 - 03:48 am
    Barbara: A beautiful tribute to Abraham Lincoln by, I believe, Longfellow?


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 25, 2000 - 06:45 am
    Robby its Whitman - think of Longfellow writting about our early history.

    August 25, 2000 - 07:16 am
    Oh no! I do not like the available food on this ship. No spinach salad? No pizza? No cheeseburgers? My teeth are not good enough for hardtack. I prefer my fat distributed naturally in the food. I'll bet we don't even have coffee, just grog!

    I think I may debark while the debarking is good.


    August 25, 2000 - 07:48 am
    Don't forget the 100lbs. of potato salad we've got secured away in the refrigerator down below!

    Cook Lorrie

    August 25, 2000 - 08:11 am
    Barbara, Thank you for the total poem as I had to memorise it in school and remember I like it so much but had forgotten most of it. Thanks for the memorises of.
    O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is Won.

    Ursa Major
    August 25, 2000 - 12:07 pm
    This was read to me as a small child. My mother, God be good to her, was a college English teacher. I remember having bad dreams about this, especially the angels working the sails, but I never knew what "Death in Life"was until I encountered Alzheimers. Mother also read me Christabel, and I'm still trying to figure whether it was supposed to be a warning (if so, wasted as I had no idea what it was about) or what. I don't recommend it for kids. I'm still not sure what the message was.

    YiLi Lin
    August 25, 2000 - 12:09 pm
    Lorrie glad for that pot salad- what faire have ye for us veggies? My vote goes to Das Boot as the best of those listed, but what was that recent sub movie, I think with Denzel Washington?

    August 25, 2000 - 03:28 pm
    Welcome aboard, SWN! wheeeoooooo (ship piping SWN aboard)....

    Hope you're in for the duration!

    What? Admiral FOP is already issuing invitations to the Cap'n's table? What? Is this going to be some kind of society ship? Arrrr!

    Barbara thank you for that stirring tribute to Captains everywhere! Brought a tear to the old Cap'n's eye, it did. ARRR.

    And for the great information, I MUST remember that POSH.

    Cookie, did you hear that? There will be no scraping of barrels, on this good ship.......???? Nameless.

    Jonathan, not sure on that FA, didn't think it was that old, the Old Farmer's Almanac, that is. Thought sailors steered by the stars, airwinds will tell us of ancient naviagational weather reports! Great point!

    Do we have a sailor who is willing to be our weather predictor? (chicken?)

    The Cap'n concurs with Admiral FOP:

    Tis the belief of Admiral Fop that the flag ship should run aside the Mariner so as to observe and it is better to observe from outside an arena of action as your powers of observation are blinded when observing your own-self.

    Suits the Cap'n because the Cap'n (being superstitious as all sailors are) doesn't have much hope for the Mariner's ship.

    Avast, throw "Bones" the Doc in the brig for attempting to abandon ship simply because of a rancid lard diet! We shall render it into an tasty seaweed pizza.

    Actually at Christmas my husband manages to make me feel guilty with every bite of mincemeat pie (lard, he says). He's right.

    So fear not, we shall have mincemeat pie and potato salad (Cookie, is that the same potato salad left over from the Fourth of July?) and fresh seaweed pizza and grog a plenty!

    Cap'n Posh

    August 25, 2000 - 08:42 pm
    Perhaps we might all heed the message in Sir Patrick Spence.

    betty gregory
    August 25, 2000 - 08:54 pm
    Never fear, Maryal, plenty of coffee was available---that is, if the Captain was a coffee drinker and approved its addition to the cook's supply list. Ships' "stores" varied according to captains' preferences.

    A commander, the lowest of captains, rarely could afford to lay in stores of fine wines for himself, but a higher ranking captain always did---in case an admiral or other ships' honored persons came aboard. Rum was rarely available for either captains or working crew, so all made do with watered down grog with every meal. But, the captain would often invite the 2 or 3 ranking men on his ship to "dine" every week or so. Then, the finest would be used---china, crystal, bottles of good wine (if any were still available) and good food from the captain's private stores---which were not supplied to him, by the way, but purchased with his own money. Each man attending dinner would dress in his best. It was an occasion and strict manners were observed. All waited for the captain to open subjects for discussion. Later in the meal, after several bottles of wine had been consumed, and depending on the captain's mood, classic battles (usually involving Nelson) would be laid out on the fine linen with utensils, salt bowls, wine corks. Also, poems recounting battles were recited. (In archived diaries, there are some incredible poems written by every level of seaman of the time.) Long after a ship had left port and food stores were depleted, the captain no longer gave dinners but would often gather his top men for coffee just before dawn.

    August 25, 2000 - 08:55 pm
    Cap'n Ginny, Sir!

    Actually it's the same potato salad left over from Memorial Day. A little age gives it a great flavor. Goes well with seaweed pizza.


    August 25, 2000 - 08:56 pm
    Then again, we might be wise to study life at sea during the age of sail HERE before we go a-roving with the good CAPN POSH.

    August 25, 2000 - 09:16 pm
    potato salad is one of my very favorites. Sure beats those "biscuits" that often have bugs in them. And the lard!

    Here's one I found specially for our cabin boy, Robbie!

    August 25, 2000 - 11:47 pm
    wonderful song, maryal...i can almost hear burl ives.

    provisions...one of my jobs on board the 11 meter sailboat was to pick through the potatoes every few days. we usually started out every long passage with the equivalent of a huge wheelbarrow full. we stowed them in the coolest, dry part of the bilge. still, they turned bad faster than i would have liked in the tropics and made a horrible smell. every day at fifteen hundred i started peeling potatoes for our second and last meal of the day.

    betty gregory
    August 26, 2000 - 01:41 am
    Great links, Maryal. Those poor cabin boys. They get no respect at all!!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 03:20 am
    Cabin Boys don't need artificial respect. They are (as is said in the military) "close to the Flagpole", know exactly what is going on, keep their mouths shut, and wield a tremendous amount of power.

    August 26, 2000 - 06:33 am
    Whoa Robby: Maryal has you a- sinking in the Lowaland sea. What great sites she provided us with. I sat here for 10 minutes just a "chantying" along. Beware of Sir W. Raleigh, mates. I had never heard of "keel hauling" and hope that I never am exposed to it along our journey. Thanks Maryal.

    August 26, 2000 - 08:33 am
    You're welcome, ALF and thank you, Betty for the good news about COFFEE. I might be able to man the mizzen mast if the captain called me on deck for COFFEE. I am somewhat alarmed though that I would have to be up before dawn. Alas.


    August 26, 2000 - 08:39 am
    One thing troubles me---Will we have as much fun discussing the actual poem itself as we have been having here in the "introduction," so to speak? I hope so.


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 08:46 am

    What poem?


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 26, 2000 - 09:01 am
    LOL, Robby!

    August 26, 2000 - 09:13 am
    Just a minute here! I signed on for a cruise.

    betty gregory
    August 26, 2000 - 09:14 am
    Oh, Lorrie, you've made me laugh and laugh. Good question!!!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 09:18 am
    Maryal: Apparently you didn't check with Consumers Guide first and didn't read the fine print. CAVEAT EMPTOR!


    Shasta Sills
    August 26, 2000 - 09:37 am
    I found "Selected Poetry and Prose of Coleridge" on one of my bookshelves. It's one of those little hardback Modern Library Books. Inside the dust jacket is the price: $2.45. Can you believe we used to buy books for $2.45? I wrote the date Sept. 1969 inside . Those were the good old days, weren't they?

    August 26, 2000 - 09:38 am
    Robby----oh no! Again, I made the same mistake again? What is this then, if not a cruse? And I've already paid in full. No refunds. Alas.

    August 26, 2000 - 09:40 am
    Shasta---those certainly were the days, but keep in mind that back when you could get a good paperback for $2.45, hamburger was about 59 cents a pound!

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 09:40 am

    I was a regular patron in the 1940s of a book store on Times Square that had a big sign in the window:



    August 26, 2000 - 09:42 am
    Maryal: This is the proverbial "Up the creek without one." nest-ce-pas?

    Robby: THAT is funny!

    Lorrie: As long as I don't have to do another header I'm in for the fun.

    August 26, 2000 - 09:44 am
    ALF-----This aint no "creek." That's the OCEAN out there. I am definitely jumping ship. Tell the Capn you have no idea where I am.

    August 26, 2000 - 09:46 am
    Ocean? What bloody ocean? Somebody said we were going to be up the creek.

    August 26, 2000 - 09:54 am
    And then there's this raven that I brought on board with me. What could that bird mean by saying "Nevermore"?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 09:55 am
    A raven with an albatross? Even Cabin Boys have their limits? You aren't keeping that bloomin' thing in the cabin!!


    August 26, 2000 - 09:58 am
    Robby---the raven never leaves my shoulder. I'm the one with the shirt problem.

    YiLi Lin
    August 26, 2000 - 10:27 am
    Wondering if anyone else would like to join me for a pre-sail party- there will be an attorney present case anyone has some last minute details to iron out.

    August 26, 2000 - 10:46 am
    hahaha Yilin: Yes, ma'am I need another crooked attorney.

    August 26, 2000 - 11:38 am
    My stewards are busy pressing my blue uniform with the gold stars. To bad I can not have Adm.Nelsons diamond clockwork brooch that he wears on his hat. He needs it however for he is a more egotistical and foppish Admiral even than I and he is smaller too. His brooch is on a clockworks so that it may turn it's most beautiful face forward at all times I suppose. ( A futuristic aside 1805 The Admiral was warned by the Captain not to wear all his stars and decorations on the quarterdeck in the battle of Tralfagar defeating the Spanish and French armadas. He was mortally wounded when shot through the massive star that gleamed on his shoulder) I will subdue my medals but the stars are part of an Admirals uniform in the days of the Ancient Marinar and Admiral Nelson. Adm. Fop

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 26, 2000 - 01:26 pm
    Maryal: I didn't know you were a bust. (Pause and think a bit - it's very subtle.)


    Nellie Vrolyk
    August 26, 2000 - 04:12 pm
    Got that Robby

    Someone to predict the weather is needed? I can only predict weather that is already happening so that isn't much good. I guess I could keep an eye on the barometer - did they call it 'the glass' or something like that? - and that should give us some idea of what is coming...or I could just tune this radio I smuggled along on the temporal transporter to the marine weather service LOL. ZZthissszzzthiss...ooops forgot there is no marine weather service in the ancient past.

    What a busy and fun bunch of sailors you are!

    August 27, 2000 - 12:11 pm
    UP Periscope!!!! Ooops, wrong ship.

    Robby---Pallas Athena, right? grrrrrrrrrr


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 27, 2000 - 12:57 pm
    I'm out of my depth (if that's the proper word here) in this discussion.


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 27, 2000 - 01:05 pm
    Wait until we start discussing the poem, Robby! Half of us will be forty fathoms down.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 27, 2000 - 01:20 pm
    Serious question (if you'll forgive such ridiculousness) -- Just how do we approach this poem. Are we to read stanzas together? Are questions to be given us? Are there time limits? Maybe I'm the only one here who doesn't know what procedure we're following.

    But I'm only a Cabin Boy. What do you expect from me?


    August 27, 2000 - 02:40 pm
    Robby, each one of the crew members is to be given a couple stanzas to memorize, and then each crew member must have his/her picture taken, in full costume, with arms waving and mouth flapping, as he/she reads and emotionalizes their allotted verses. That way we'll all be assured of our fifteen minutes of fame, and the knowledge that we have memorized a great poem! Isn't that super? The pictures will be put into an album that we can show our other "highbrow" neighbors! Who says we ain't got kulchur?


    August 27, 2000 - 02:57 pm

    Ahem, Swabbies, and even Doc (Maryal) Bones there in the brig, all the Captain can say is that it's obviously a good thing there IS a Captain aboard. The Captain is already turning green at the thought of his precious ship overrun with landlubbers.


    You had them going there for a while, Cookie! You really had them going! I was, myself, anxiously wondering which lines I should memorize. Geez.

    Welcome, Seaman First Class Shasta!!
    (See what happens when you board late? You get a promotion just for going up the gangplank).

    Robby, in answer to your question, on September 1 when you arrive here, we hope you will have read Part I (or Part the First) depending on which version you have.

    If you look up in the heading on September 1 you will see several new things, including a new box there which will be full of interesting (I hope) thoughts for you to ponder and hopefully give your ideas on. We shall sail as long as we all like on Part I, long enough to be sure we hear every POV.

    Admiral FOP, that was a great story, did the Admiral's flashy medals actually attract the fire? Naturally one should always listen to the Captain, for that tale you get the Captain's special squash casserole at dinner.

    Gangplank going up next Friday, get your last minute shopping done and all fruit stowed away, it may be a long trip!

    Captain Hook

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 27, 2000 - 03:07 pm

    Part I has twenty verses. Isn't that (Cap'n Sir/M'am) a lot to digest at the very start? But I assume you have it all planned out so I'll just go off and shine your boots.


    August 27, 2000 - 04:31 pm
    That's a good point, Cabin Boy Robby, that's one of the beautiful things about our discussions here, their ever mutable form and the way each discussion adapts to the input of those participating. It's a fine and beautiful thing, as has just been seen in the extraordinary Canterbury Tales discussion. Extraordinary and certainly one of the most beautiful headings ever seen anywhere.

    I think, and we can take each part differently, but I think for the benefit of those coming to the experience of the Mariner for the very first time, that they should read the first part of the poem just for the experience of enjoying the poem itself, (maybe they could try a part or two out loud) and then we can come in here and take even a stanza a day and look more closely.

    And it would have the added benefit of feeling, for once, that we were ahead in our reading! (not a small thing) hahahaha

    Then from that point if you all feel it's too fast, we can take it slower, I'm in awe we're finally going to get it read at all, it's amazing to me.

    How does that sound? I hope you sailors are up on your stars and navigational directions, the way the Mariner's ship swings around we'll need our own barometers and sextants, just to run along side.

    Cap'n Bligh

    August 27, 2000 - 06:22 pm
    Right on, Robby! By asking questions.

    August 28, 2000 - 05:06 am
    Robby---You sound exactly like one of my students. "Do we REALLY have to read ALL of that by. . . . .(you fill in the day or date)?"

    Down here in the brig, there is no light. Fortunately I have memorized the first twenty stanzas.

    Making chalk marks on the wall to count the days, I remain, Yours incarcerated, Maryal

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 28, 2000 - 05:33 am

    August 28, 2000 - 05:42 am

    Ursa Major
    August 28, 2000 - 06:47 am
    Take care, MaryAl! In the version of Lowlands I know, the cabin boy sinks the Golden Vanity after the Cap'n refuses to pick him up. "Cap'n, I'll take you with me to the bottom of the sea. And we sank into the Lowlands low...."

    Robby, do we HAVE to carry this dratted albatross around all the time?

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 28, 2000 - 06:53 am
    Cabin Boy: says little - observes much - thinks deeply - plans W I D E L Y.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 28, 2000 - 06:57 am
    And has a lot of fun with html!

    August 28, 2000 - 07:21 am
    SWN----Oh dear, oh my. Takes the ship with him, eh? Wait till the capn (SIR) hears about this.

    August 28, 2000 - 08:09 am
    You know what? You Guys are hilarious, now we have a scheming cabin boy and a Cook with no end of rotten potato salad and a Doc in the Clink (open wide that bilge, Swabbies, and let the poor physician out: we'll have need of All Hands on Deck in a few days.

    Fairwinds, what does the Cap'n cry when the ship is about to disembark??

    Did you all bring fireworks and streamers for the departure? There will be no shore leave after Wednesday and no landlubbers on deck in the final hours: all baggage must be securely stowed in our lockers. (And tray tables restored to their upright and locked positions: electronic equipment off). haahahahaha

    You know what would be fun? hahahahaha At the very end, those who did manage to memorize parts of it could try their hand writing down what they can remember honor code: without looking. hahahaha. I guarantee mine would be a riot. "The....er...water like a witch's fire....er...brew....no....eh...something....burned...ah....blue...no red....no green and.....red...no.....something something and white!"

    THERE!! Who says the mind goes after 50? hahahaahaa boiled!! I get credit for "boiled," I think the water boiled!!! Or burned or something.

    I'm going to get IN to this thing and heck, it's so bouncy I read somewhere they are teaching it to inner city kids because it sounds like rap music.

    Can YOU do it like a Rap Song? hahahahaha

    It IS (dum dum dumm de dummm) (big booming sound box) an ANNN (dum de dum) cient hahahahahaa

    So many possibilities. The Cap'n has no intention of going down with the Cabin boy in any rowboat, but thus alerted, will be on guard for perfidy on the high seas.

    Cap'n Queeg

    August 28, 2000 - 08:14 am
    Bye the bye, who smuggled that palfrey down in the hold, we shall have NO livestock , not even a parrot, on board on this trip.

    Commander First Class Westerdale reports that the roster of the Ship's Crew is up to date but she is having server problems so if it's not changed in a few days, take heart, your berth is assigned!

    The Cap'n who got the best cabin of everybody else.

    Cap'n Hook

    August 28, 2000 - 08:16 am
    Sir!! Capn Queeg, Sir! Where are your ball bearings?

    Cookie with the rotten potato salad, (Humph!)

    August 28, 2000 - 08:21 am
    Rolling all over the deck since they froze off a brass monkey! Even if we never got to the first line I have learned SOO much already from the links you all provided in the heading: what the balls off a brass monkey means, what POSH means, the exact in his own words contribution to the poem that Wordsworth made: heady stuff.

    That's pretty good for a discussion that hasn't even started.

    Cap'n Crunch

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 28, 2000 - 09:18 am
    One question from the sprite, who's nipping at the rum in the captain's quarters. Is a swound anything like a swale?

    Water Sprite Mally who's gonna get in trouble if the captain walks in.

    August 28, 2000 - 09:24 am
    Capn Ginny, SIR-----er, SIR, I believe that the words the Capn should roar out just before we leave the dock are "ALL ABOARD!!!!" probably accompanied by the ship's whistle.

    Thanks for letting me out of the brig. It was dark down there, and SIR, I must report, despite your direct orders about livestock, that there are RATS down there, SIR.

    Not one to tell on another swabbie, but I remember that JoanP was especially fond of her palfrey. You might check the saddle for her initials.

    Maryal, the swabbie on parole

    betty gregory
    August 28, 2000 - 10:22 am
    I'm gettin' worried about this voyage.


    August 28, 2000 - 10:37 am
    I understand while the Cap'n was away over the weekend, she traded our ship for a larger one that will afford us more room... This way we can store more of everything...

    New Ship

    YiLi Lin
    August 28, 2000 - 01:35 pm
    Help! What was that book- hmm ship of Fools? was it was it?

    August 28, 2000 - 01:37 pm
    wow, pat. look at that long bowsprit. that's where i'll go for peace.

    ginny...when we hauled anchor it was just the two of us ...by hand...nothing automatic. and we heard "fair winds" from anyone speaking english on boats near us. that's the kind of weather we want on THIS passage. fair winds doesn't mean calm. just a nice wind pushing us from behind.

    betty gregory
    August 28, 2000 - 02:45 pm
    uh...unless my physician's assistant Maryal has thrown me overboard, I'm still the Doc. (That's why I'm gettin' worried. Our esteemed Captain can't remember who's who. Sheesh!)

    Has anyone checked the captain's cabin for MAPS?

    August 28, 2000 - 03:12 pm
    The Cap'n DOES NOT read maps charts right! (thanks Lorrie)... That task will fall to me the navigator. Unless no one else wants it.

    August 28, 2000 - 05:52 pm
    In the Navy, one neverreads maps!! One reads charts!!

    August 28, 2000 - 06:53 pm
    betty----I would never throw you overboard. Our Capn seems to have made a mistake. I distinctly remember volunteering to be your assistant.

    Ginny---I do hope that your friend Sandy is doing well. So sorry for the awful accident.

    Maryal, not the Doc, just standing on the dock

    August 28, 2000 - 07:25 pm
    Maryal your wages won't be docked... Just c'mon aboard and look busy.

    betty gregory
    August 28, 2000 - 07:37 pm
    To "Maryal, not the doc, just standing on the dock,"


    August 29, 2000 - 04:03 am
    Dickety dockety, the Cap'n is rockety. hahaahaha Hoo boy, TWO Docs on ship? Now why does that not give one security? When you consider the state of medicine in the 1700s I think we would do better to have 10 docs on ship!

    Leeches ahoy!

    All aboard? I thought that was for trains. The Cap'n just knew this trip would end in disaster, there are nothing but landlubbers trodding the boards.

    Sittin on the dock of the bay with two (really three, but who's counting) docs. hahahahahaa

    Thank you, Maryal, I hope she will recover speedily, she was excited about joining us here, but am not sure now that will be possible.

    How are you all enjoying the tapes? Are they still making the rounds?

    FAIRwinds, as Fairwinds says! AWAY all boats and AVAST!

    I'm really going to be interested in how this poem strikes you this time around. I know we have several people who have not ever read it, and some who have it half memorized. That ought to make for a very good mix.

    Friday morning at 5 bells! All hands on deck!

    Cap'n Departure

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 29, 2000 - 04:21 am



    August 29, 2000 - 05:25 am
    Cabin boy Robby: 4 bells for all Cabin boys!~

    Cap'n Courteous

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 29, 2000 - 05:29 am
    I don't know if I'm well enough for that. I hear a ringing in my ears.


    betty gregory
    August 29, 2000 - 11:04 am
    When the Captain is ready to get under way (if I remember from O'Brian correctly), she says to the First Mate, "Take her to sea!!"


    Ah, gee, 5 bells is awfully early, SIR. Seein' that you're such a nice, nice Captain an' all, SIR.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 29, 2000 - 11:40 am
    I assume you seafarers realize that five bells is 2:30 am.


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 29, 2000 - 11:57 am
    I always thought cabin boys stood in the background and smiled to themselves about the fantasies and foibles of landlubbers.


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 29, 2000 - 12:04 pm
    This Cabin Boy is not going to be given the responsibility of waking landlubbers up at 2:30 am!!!


    August 29, 2000 - 08:47 pm
    My steward will cut off the ear of anyone who dares to wake the admiral at such an ungodly hour. Yet he has orders that in case of an emergency he will have me up and dressed in my next best uniform and ready for the quarterdeck in 10 minutes. He is a fine steward as is his helper and our own cabin boy. We call our young one,Dogboy. It is no misnomer as he dogs the steps of his admiral like I was his mother.HeHeHe. Admiral Fop

    betty gregory
    August 29, 2000 - 09:05 pm
    Begging your pardon, Admiral Fop, but I think you might have been an Admiral in your former life.


    August 29, 2000 - 09:14 pm
    Doc do not forget the admiral has the surgical tools in case of emergency and some (small just an ounce or so of) opium. For fixing cut off ears and/or other parts. Admiral Fop

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 30, 2000 - 12:57 am
    Interesting you bring up Opium Faith. The British were making fortunes shipping opium and some Americans got into the act at about the time The Rime... was written.

    I can see another connection not only knowing Coleridge was addicted but all those sailors dead eyes and later they sail the ship although in a death like trance or as ghosts. Could be describing a boat full of opium addicted sailors.

    Here are some interesting dates and facts from PBS FrontLine--
    Ships chartered by Elizabeth I are instructed to purchase the finest Indian opium and transport it back to England.
    English apothecary, Thomas Sydenham, introduces Sydenham's Laudanum, a compound of opium, sherry wine and herbs. His pills along with others of the time become popular remedies for numerous ailments.
    The Dutch export shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia; the Dutch introduce the practice of smoking opium in a tobacco pipe to the Chinese.
    Chinese emperor, Yung Cheng, issues an edictprohibiting the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine.
    The British East India Company assumes control of Bengal and Bihar, opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominates the opium trade out of Calcutta to China.
    Linnaeus, the father of botany, first classifies the poppy Papaver somniferum-- 'sleep-inducing', in his book Genera Plantarum.
    The British East India Company's import of opium to China reaches a staggering two thousand chests of opium per year.
    The British East India Company establishes a monopoly on the opium trade. All poppy growers in India were forbidden to sell opium to competitor trading companies.
    China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
    The British Levant Company purchases nearly half of all of the opium coming out of Smyrna, Turkey strictly for importation to Europe and the United States.
    Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany discovers the active ingredient of opium by dissolving it in acid then neutralizing it with ammonia. The result: alkaloids--Principium somniferum or morphine.

    Physicians believe that opium had finally been perfected and tamed. Morphine is lauded as "God's own medicine" for its reliablity, long-lasting effects and safety.
    A smuggler from Boston, Massachusetts, Charles Cabot, attempts to purchase opium from the British, then smuggle it into China under the auspices of British smugglers.
    American John Cushing, under the employ of his uncles' business, James and Thomas H. Perkins Company of Boston, acquires his wealth from smuggling Turkish opium to Canton.
    John Jacob Astor of New York City joins the opium smuggling trade. His American Fur Company purchases ten tons of Turkish opium then ships the contraband item to Canton on the Macedonian. Astor would later leave the China opium trade and sell solely to England.
    Opium throughout History by PBS FRONTLINE
    The Origin of the Drug Trade

    August 30, 2000 - 02:20 am
    Barbara, that's fascinating on the development of opium, especially the dates, as we know in China with the last Empress, opium was heavily used. Thanks so much!

    Kindly note, Cabin Boy Robby, that the skipper, the Professor,and Mary Ann are all here on Gilli....oops, here before 5 bells this morning (Pacific Time)....

    Yes, day after tomorrow the good ship sails. At departure, everyone must cry out their favorite good luck farewell sayings. I still think "all aboard" is for trains, but if you say it, maybe a train will come.

    Secret intelligence aboard ship informs the Cap'n that the Capt'n has TWO swabbies who really have sailed the seas on board! Of course fairwinds, our international seas sailor is here, and that brig loving Maryal is the Secret Swabbie! Yes, it seems that Midshipman Second Class Maryal is also a sailor, hiding her expertise behind her harmless exterior! Is this a plot? Is the Cap'n about to be thrown over the yardarm?

    Nervous Cap'ns want to know!!

    Sail in tomorrow for some preliminary thoughts on the reading, Crew of 23! More hands needed on deck, the Cap'n will now go visit SeaBee Sandy, who has fallen overboard in an horrific traffic accident, but she's alivee and of good mind and of no paralysis. A miracle!

    See you tomorrow,

    Cap'n Queeg

    August 30, 2000 - 04:08 am
    Queeg????? Oh my... what has our Cap'n had for breakfast?

    August 30, 2000 - 04:23 am
    Cheese toast.

    Water Sprite First Class Mal, I think asked earlier about "swound."

    Here's what the OED says on swound:

    swound: Now archaic and in dialectical use . Originated in 1440. [Later form of swoune SWOON, with excrescent d .] A fainting-fit. So swound as an intransitive verb: to swoon , faint.

    Do you LOVE that "excrescent d?" I have no earthly idea what that means but I liked having said it so well, like Frost, I'll say it again: excrescent d. hahaahaha

    ancient: Middle English from the French ancien late Latin antiannum 4. Of living beings: Old, of great age (archaic): Middle English; having the wisdom, etc., of age, venerable (archaic) 1460; old-fashioned (rare) 1598; veteran, senior (ME).

    It is interesting that definition #2 is: Belonging to the period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Maryal will know, but didn't the Romantic poets lean towards the past in their works? (Ignorance showing now, but that's OK, it would have sooner or later anyway).


    robert b. iadeluca
    August 30, 2000 - 04:39 am
    When I watched the big liners leaving the Hudson River docks, they used to cry "All ashore that's going ashore!!" In our case, however, I guess no one is going ashore.


    August 30, 2000 - 05:18 am
    Hmmm? Miss Barbara has put a new new slant on the "trance-like state" of the swabbies. The dead eyes and the states of narcolepsy might be indicative of something a bit different than what STC led us to believe.

    August 30, 2000 - 05:38 am
    CAPN SIR----Yes, the Romantic poets were much taken with the past, especially medieval times. See Keats. To use slightly archaic language is to distance the tale in time, apparently part of Coleridge's plan here.

    ~Mdn First Class Maryal

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 30, 2000 - 06:05 am
    "It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
    Like noises in a swound!"

    For some reason or other, this watery sprite can't figure out what kinds of noises there are in a swoon.


    August 30, 2000 - 07:42 am
    Mal----must be a noisy sort of swoon indeed. Perhaps the swooning person is making many pre-swoon noises?

    August 30, 2000 - 07:50 am
    Ginny-----Ships first, then trains. All Aboard originates with ships. Stollen by railroads.

    Maryal, the first class Midshipman

    Ella Gibbons
    August 30, 2000 - 10:52 am
    I have never swounded, but if I stay aboard I might - I can look into the future, mates, and I don't like what I see, particularly, with Cap'n Queeq -s/he with the rolling marbles in his hand (at least Humphrey Bogart played him that way).

    When the call goes out "All ashore that's going ashore, I'm going ashore!" But I'll be listening on the ship-to-shore radio for reports now and then (what? no radios back then?). All the more reason to abort this mission.

    August 30, 2000 - 11:05 am
    Aye "all ashore whats going ashore!!" I read some, then some more and some more and the verse's do not tell me where we de-port or should I know. Admirals often know very little. I must send my stewart out to find me some charts or copies of charts without that scallywag (sorry if you think this only a southrn word during reconstruction, I love it and am pre empting it) of a captain who calls him/herself Queeg instead of Queen hehehe, anyway Cap'n Queen, Oh Cap'n don't catch me steward before I get me a set of your charts. Admiral Fop

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    August 30, 2000 - 11:16 am
    No port or destination on this journey Faith-- we just sail and like The Perfect Storm only this time with a lone survivor, the happenings at sea are described. We know they head for and reach the Southern Ocean but no ultimate destination seems to be addressed. I think the destination is alluded to being within the reader.

    August 30, 2000 - 11:34 am
    Perhaps My friend Barb, we depart from Illusions of Immortality to the interim destination of Illusions of Hell, wherin we are marooned and rescued finally and our destination might well be Illusions of Mortality.

    Malryn (Mal)
    August 30, 2000 - 12:06 pm
    Well said, Faith, Admiral Fop. Well said.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 30, 2000 - 04:42 pm
    Somewhere, either on the video or one of the links - perhaps my "treasure" - I think there was a departure city mentioned? No? Will leave that up to the Captain to explain.

    My treasure says:

    How can we reconcile, one naturally asks, this wide reputation (Coleridge's reputation as a romantic poet, romantic critic and a great philosopher) with the general unfamiliarity of the average reader.....The answer is two-fold. In the first place, Coleridge has left only fragmentary records of his genius.........and because of the difficult nature of his style. As a poet, to be sure, he was able to attain a simplicity equal to that of the early ballads, but in prose he seems to have been quite unable to control the vast activity of his mind.........He qualifies, defines, and digresses, until the reader - and perhaps Coleridge himself - forgets that which was orginally under discussion.

    An interesting journey indeed!

    August 30, 2000 - 04:51 pm
    Admiral Fop---You certainly give me a few chuckles. How right you are about Admirals. Sometimes they know almost nothing about details, but they make large and weighty decisions. With our CAPN/SIR, you may well have to make some.

    August 30, 2000 - 05:07 pm
    Here is a MAP I found on one of the searches I made.

    August 30, 2000 - 05:15 pm
    PatW---thanks for the cool map!

    betty gregory
    August 30, 2000 - 05:36 pm
    When reading about morphine from opium, from a medical perspective, no other substance on earth has been found that alleviates pain in such a direct, uncomplicated way. Many artificial compounds have been designed to mimic the properties of morphine, but all have potential dangers to the body. Morphine has none. When reading about many natural substances and artificial substances designed to treat various illnesses, many have risks to other body functions over time, such as the liver, etc. Morphine is one of the few medicines that have no such risks. (I'm speaking beyond the back and forth controversies of whether it is addicting, etc.)

    Also, there are other natural substances that reduce pain, but none are in the class of morphine. It stands alone as the one clean, direct method of treating, for instance, post surgical pain.

    August 30, 2000 - 08:35 pm
    att: Admiral Fop

    re: our destination

    Isn't it gratifying that the alarming news that our ship is hell-bound has not set off a rush to disembark? That would seem to indicate that everyone on board is prepared to enjoy the worst. Indeed, STC remarked, early on, that The Rime was selling well among seafarers.

    Your Post brought back the following enjoyable memory: my early years were the last years (and not much more than a memory, even then) of a railway line, the TH&B, which served the area around the western end of Lake Ontario, with the letters standing for Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo. We kids, however, regaled ourselves, and strangers, with the idea that the little railway line provided for a trip --- To Hell and Back.

    All Aboard!!!


    Malryn (Mal)
    August 30, 2000 - 10:42 pm
    I love it! This joyous and happy crew has not once thought about their dire future, so well spelled out in the poem.

    Now do you understand why I am a water sprite?


    August 31, 2000 - 05:19 am
    Golly Moses, what great stuff!

    Ella, thank SOOO much for that. Some people, including those in Coleridge's day, said that you should not read anything into the poem, but I think Coleridge disagreed, will post that later. Wonderful thing, thank you so much.

    Please, Everybody, continue to bring here everything you can. Like a buffet supper, we'll have a lot on the table to choose from.

    Maryal, great stuff, thanks so much, I love the way you put that about distance, can you explain further?? I want to be sure I don't miss a thing here.

    Pat W, thanks for the absolutely SUPER map but...it doesn't show the ship returning to England?????? Interesting!

    I've always driven myself nuts trying to figure out WHAT port of England the ship sailed from. NUTS! That's why the Cap'n rolls the balls, he/ she's nuts.

    But I love the map even tho it's incomplete, can you put it in the heading? We do see clearly the South Pole and I love the zizzag course it takes!

    Barb, and Admiral Fop: great thoughts, so you all see this perhaps as an allegory, another Dante's trip, hah? Now that is interesting too.

    Great thoughts here as we disembark and remember, ONLY RATS DESERT THE SHIP, Radio Operator Ella, sinking or not!!

    Noises in a swound, Mal? You know how things sorta roar and seem to blur sometimes, , and things come in and out, strange noises when you feel faint? I know where he's coming from, I think. I think maybe as you lose consciousness some people might hear a sort of roaring in their ears.

    I love that about the crackled and growled and roared and howled of ice, I have never heard icebergs, have any of you? They say they make an unbelievable noise, I'd like to hear how it sounds!

    Begin loading, the gangplank goes UP at 5 bells tomorrow morning, All Hands are Welcome on deck! Taking applications for more Shipmen #24 and up! Bed and Board, join the Navy and see the world!~!!!!!!

    Cap'n Courageous

    August 31, 2000 - 06:46 am
    My fellow swabbies, Your attention, please. This midshipman does not think it is good that our beloved CAPN (SIR) would like to hear how iceburgs sound. Next thing you know, we will find the ICE all around us.

    Maryal, the muttering midshipman

    August 31, 2000 - 06:52 am
    CAPN Ginny, SIR--Certainly I will expand on the idea of distancing. Remember the original pact between Wordsworth and Coleridge. Wordsworth was to contribute lyrics based on ordinary life while Coleridge was to focus on the supernatural. "The Ancient Mariner" contains supernatural events, to be sure. One way to make the supernatural more acceptable, if not more believeable, is to distance the events in time, to put them safely in the past. One device Coleridge uses to distance the poem is archaic words. We have already commented on a few of them---swound, kirk--and we will encounter others.


    August 31, 2000 - 06:14 pm
    What time is FIVE BELLS??? Anyone know? I am not an early riser.

    Ella Gibbons
    August 31, 2000 - 06:23 pm
    Methinks the way to becoming a famous writer or poet is to be so confusing that for decades afterwards people are still debating what was meant. Or perhaps write when drunk or on hallucinogenic drugs, as many authors have done - seems to expand the imagination.

    Loved the email of the ship passing by. I waved!

    P.S. If some of you are sailors possibly you know of the class of Interlake racing sailboats? That's what we had many years ago and although we never got very good at it, there is definity no thrill like the wind filling up your sail and you feel like you are going down a highway 100 miles an hour and you are one with nature. No gas, no motors - just you and the wind! It was a marvelous experience and I loved many aspects of it, even though the lesson book was so worn out, particularly the chapter on "getting away from the dock" that we were too ashamed to give it away when we sold the Interlake.

    robert b. iadeluca
    August 31, 2000 - 06:29 pm
    Five bells is 2:30 a.m.


    August 31, 2000 - 09:11 pm
    The Royal Navy has a number of specific toasts which are used on each day of the week. It is the job of the newest officer or midshipman to propose them. Traditionally they are given no help and should they forget then they should buy drinks for all those present.

    Monday Our ships at sea. Tuesday Our men. Wednesday Ourselves (as no-one else is likely to concern themselves with our welfare).

    Thursday A bloody war or a sickly season. Friday A willing foe and sea room. Saturday Sweethearts and wives (may they never meet).

    Sunday Absent friends.

    So let the midshipman learn the toasts to lead us in our toast properly at our main issue of rations at 8 bells forenoon.


    August 31, 2000 - 10:55 pm
    hi faith...interesting about the toasts. ella, i don't know your specific boat but i can see you have fun remembering the wind in the sails like i do.

    here it's almost eight in the morning of september first. and i've got to go to cannes right away... can't wait around until five bells which is eleven thirty...so here goes.

    once we were at sea for 52 days. we knew it would be a long passage and thought we'd prepared for it. but our water tanks got algae in them and the canned duck that we bought in indonesia and saved for a morale booster consisted of duck beaks packed in thick yellow fat.

    other than each other's company, the main thing that brought joy to our days was knowing our course was correct. that and the contact we had with animals...other than the fish we caught and the dolphins who swam alongside now and again.

    we discovered two cockroaches on board who had survived a ruthless boric acid powder treatment in a previous anchorage. in the middle of the south atlantic we were so happy for their company that we named them, tracked their wanderings around the galley and imagined they knew we embraced their company. the day we noticed their absence we felt twinges of sorrow.

    during a period in the doldrums we noticed hundreds of portuguese man-o-wars sailing by us like a miniature armada led by bartolomeo dias. i scooped one up in our black rubber bucket. they are slightly larger than fortune cookies, have shocking pink, highly poisonous tentacles that reach down about 18 inches below the surface of the water and, the part that you see, these puffy little sails that look like a blown bubble from fleer's "double bubble" gum. they died after 24 hours in the bucket, even with constant renewal of their water.

    the third animal was a seagull who landed on our boom to rest. he closed his eyes for a couple of days while we talked softly to him and sang until the sad hour he or she took off again.

    during the almost sacred time of a long passage on the sea in a weensy boat we felt great awe and were completely taken with and at the mercy of mamma nature...the currents, the shooting stars, the winds, one's personal demons. killing an albatross with a crossbow is beyond me.

    so the "rime" is a metaphor for christ. right? his purity and innocence. right?

    i wish i could remember what my teacher said 46 years ago. i wish i could remember my teacher.

    Joan Pearson
    September 1, 2000 - 04:24 am
    ah, but fairwinds, I'll bet that teacher never forgot you!

    I am not a sailor, but am an amimal lover. Cockroaches, I'm not so sure about, but can see that after days at sea, any living, moving, four-legged(?) creature becomes at first something of interest, and then a fellow-companion in the journey...

    I'm sitting here thinking how I probably could accept your cockroaches, but draw the line at worms. Does that mean that I limit my attachments to that which walks - or flys? I think so.

    The albatross! The boy with the crossbow! The instant remorse! As the mother of four - boys, the scene brought back, not so much a memory, but the awful sinking feeling!

    "Why did you DO that?"
    "I don't know." (Tears, he really didn't know!)
    "What do you mean, you don't know?"
    "I didn't think."

    So many reasons run through my head...WHY did he do that? He didn't shoot the bird for food...that would have been understandable. But this was more - "I wasn't thinking".

    I think it is a "boy" thing...they have to throw balls, sticks, rocks, and see if they can hit a target. If the target is moving, like throwing a snowball at a car or a bus, all the better. Not thinking about the target, really, not even certain of his ability to hit it, but measuring his skill.....and surprised when he does hit it!

    Early morning musings...I miss those "boys"! And can't think of a better reason why that bird was shot!

    Friday ~ To a willing foe and sea room!

    September 1, 2000 - 05:09 am
    A bright good morning to you all today and I believe the Cap'n will now call out

    All ashore that's going ashore! Wheeoooooooooo! Stand by to Cast OFF! Raise the gangplank!

    We're off!!!

    Fairwinds, what a fabulous first post for our journey! The Cap'n is extremely supersitious and thinks your lyrical post about how it feels to sail that long is a good omen!

    Duck BEAKS??? ickers ickers. I loved your point about the cockroaches, it's marvelous to get that perspective, especially in light of what happens in the first part. Thank you so much for that!!

    Ella, glad you liked the ship and your descriptions of leaving port were so funny, PortMaster Ella to the front of the ship to direct our departure!!

    Maryal, so Coleridge used the archaic words as a technique for "distancing" and thus enhancing his supernatural effects? The Mariner is not so "ancient," tho, as he stands there before the Weding Guest. Just that one little thing makes the reader realize that there is a LOT more under the surface of Coleridge's seemingly simplistic poem here, his sea of words you might say (ouch!). Thanks for that, please do not let us miss another floating treasure box, the Cap'n expects to come back from this trip richly rewarded!

    Admiral Toast Master FOP: Thou art hereby in charge of watching out for the daily toasts, maybe we could have one special one when we introduce each part, too!

    Joan P: aha! THE Question! Especially in the light of what Fairwinds has told us, it seems even more impossible, to me. So for you, the killing of the bird stuck out the most in this first section?

    So many good posts here already this morning, I'll be back with my thoughts on the beginning lines here a little later.

    Mind that dingy!!!


    September 1, 2000 - 05:15 am
    OK, I'm here. I'm not awake, but I'm typing and reading. Loved the preceeding messages. Robby, thanks, too early for me! Faith, ADM, SIR! Live long and prosper! Joan P--morning. Yes on boys. fairwinds--I completely understand the cockroaches and the seagull. When life is stripped down like that, the smallest ordinary things take on enormous significance. OK, back to bed. Time to take a nap before class. Just kidding. Have to sign up for the courses I want next semester. It's always something. IRK.


    Joan Pearson
    September 1, 2000 - 05:20 am

    Good morning, early birds! Maryal, you are signing up for courses? Do tell when you get back what you signed on for?

    No, for me the thing that sticks most in my mind is not the shooting, but the fact that the poor old guy still hasn't gotten past it after all these years...and is trying to explain himself to every stranger he meets....I hate to say this, but I feel more and more like that Mariner than the poor young fellow trying to get away from his story.....

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 05:47 am
    Even more to me than the Mariner's compulsion to tell and re-tell his story is his hypnotic "glittering" eye. The guest is unable to resist. He must listen. "The Wedding-Guest stood still and listens like a three years' child. The Mariner hath his will."

    September 1, 2000 - 05:48 am
    Before I deliberate the above questions I would like to ask this.  If the albatross is one of the largest and fiercest of the south Seas birds, ( gull species), takes its prey on the wing, NEVER coming on land except for the purpose of breeding, WHY did STC opt to use this massive bird as his analogy to-- whatever ?

    HMM?  Which actor do I portray?  Definetely the Wedding Guest, for me.  I'm a sucker for drama, new conversation and mystery.  I would lend an ear to an insistent wanderer telling his tale of redemption.  I am drawn to the lonely and the humble.

    I can not imagine myself infringing on someones courtesy as the mariner has done at the wedding feast.  He's obsessive, his emphasis  is on himself and his tale.  He forces his alienation on the guest.  Pooh on him!

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 05:52 am
    We must be understanding. When someone has gone through the events that the Mariner experienced, it is drilled deep into his psyche and it is almost impossible to remove. Furthermore, he finds relief (which we all seek) by sharing. Not to change the topic, but that is the whole principle of Alcoholics Anonymous which has been most successful for 65 years. Sharing is healing.


    September 1, 2000 - 06:12 am
    Heer Dochkter! You are correct, but the question was which role would I choose? I guess at this stage of my life, obsessed or not, I figure noone really wants to hear it anyway. So little time left for fun, frolic and frivolity I still choose the guest. "The guests are met, the feast is set." That would be my cue. The wedding guest stood stillTime remains to listen and to learn, no time to be remorseful, for me.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 06:27 am
    I have read several analyses of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner which attempt to explain the poem in various ways. One stated that Coleridge hated his mother and that the albatross was a representation of her. Others have mentioned his sense of isolation and stated that he played on and fed his fears in this poem. Another analysis I read suggested that the poem is about the "sin" of turning against Nature.

    I believe the albatross was used because of a discussion about that bird between Wordsworth and Coleridge.

    Coleridge covers a lot of territory in Part I of the poem. The ship has gone into very a very cold area when the albatross, a sign of hope and warm life, appears. The Ancient Mariner kills that hope, thus designating hopelessness and death as the guide and fate of man.

    The obsessive guilt of the Ancient Mariner is expressed early on when he demands that the wedding guest listen to him, and, as Robby suggests, hypnotizes him into doing that. There is purification in confession and a relieving of guilt.

    Coleridge said poetry should be unclear and remain an enigma, so it would be amusing if what he did in this poem was to confound the reader in a way to discussions and analyses like this. I have known poets personally who do exactly that. In fact, I could show you a box of poetry in my possession which I wrote in code deliberately to tease and disturb my readers.

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a fine puzzle, indeed, which I suspect will never be resolved, since we cannot ask its author what he truly meant or whether this poem was simply an exercise in clever writing.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 06:30 am
    I may be the only person here doing this but I made it a point not to read any analyses. I intend to look at each stanza and read into it whatever I read into it.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 06:42 am
    I am doing exactly that, Robby, but a look at analyses won't hurt or influence my opinion, part of which is expressed above. If I was not clear I'll say that I think too much is read into this poem which Coleridge never intended. He was telling a story, not setting forth his neuroses or psychoses or preaching a sermon, in my opinion.


    Jerry Jennings
    September 1, 2000 - 07:41 am
    Oh Cap'n, as we make ready to grope our way from the Shores of Quotidian Bondage to the Transcendent Isles of Freedom, we await your guidance. We are scared. This perilous journey of the soul is fraught with danger. We can get lost, we can take a wrong turn and be devoured by devils, we can wreck upon the rocks.

    Speak to us! Comfort us. Tell us what to do.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 07:53 am
    Jerry: But we do have a First Mate.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 08:25 am
    Aha me thinks we are the captain of our own souls and for me I see the albatroos a symbol of ones soul and yet in the An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols the Albatroos is symbolic of long, tireless flight and distant oceans; forecasts bad weather and high winds; embodies the soul of a dead sailor, hense killing it is unlucky.

    There is no symbol indicated for wedding only marriage. The poem specifically says 'wedding' guests which my dictionary says 'wedding' is the act of marrying; the ceremony or celebration of a marriage. Since we have wedding guests I think the concept of celebration of a marriage fits and again the dictionary speaks not only to observing the ceremonies of respect, festivity or rejoicing but to extol or praise publicly, honor and to perform a religious ceremony.

    Whether the guests are notorizing so to speak the union or just observing the union they are representing the communities honoring and giving respect to the marriage as well as rejoicing, adding to the festivety.

    This all says to me the tug to enjoy life and mark the union of opposites feels pleasing and joyous but they are compelled to stop and listen to a tale that I believe highlights the great personal struggle that is the union of our souls with our faith or higher power or God.

    Since the symbolic meaning for marriage is: a union of opposites, the union of the devine and earth, the mystic union of heaven and earth, solar bull and lunar cow on which the vital forces of the sky and earth and fertility of the cattle and crops depend; attaining perfection and completion by each partner 'giving up' to the other, and with that death forming a new life. The concept of the celebration of a union that invloves death to your self in order to from a new life could be a way to foreshadow the story of the mariner's journey of soul.

    The arrow is symbolic for the piercing, masculine principle; a solar symbol depicting the sun's rays; Martyrdom, suffering, the nails of the cross; and an arrow loosed from a bow represents the consequesnces of actions which cannot be recalled or revoked. Homer uses arrows as a symbol of pain and disease, shot at mankind by the gods.

    When I have more time, hopefully this weekend, I will copy the symbolic meaning for as many of the words from the poem that I can find listed in An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols as an addition means to help us get more from the poem.

    Ella Gibbons
    September 1, 2000 - 08:40 am
    FAIRWINDS! Enjoyed the tale of your sea journey - how big, actually, was your boat? I'm not sure I could enjoy ever seeing cockroaches, but then again in the middle of an ocean with nothing but surrounding water, a living thing onboard might be pleasurable to watch - and they don't bite!

    But why a wedding feast? Why did Coleridge choose such an event to begin his poem? A beginning, perhaps? Where the Ancient One is at an end? The contrast, possibly? I don't know.

    Do we see ourselves as others see us? There are older (actually, my age, hahaha) people who do go on and on when attempting to tell a story and it is very boring. They can't seem to get to the point, instead of beating around a bush, they are beating around giant redwoods!

    I hope I'm not like the Mariner who must keep the wedding guest seated until his tale has been told in its entirety.

    September 1, 2000 - 08:42 am
    Not to worry Miss Ella: You always come right to the point.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 08:44 am
    You folks are way ahead of me. I'm still on the fifth stanza and wondering why Coleridge described the Mariner as "bright-eyed" after all he had been through.


    September 1, 2000 - 08:57 am
    It is better described as demonic possesion, Robby- the eyes being the "window to the soul." You feel the malignancy almost, don't you?

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 08:59 am
    No, I don't, Andrea. I see a sick person.


    September 1, 2000 - 09:00 am
    Yes, sick! A malignant spirit. He continues with his tale as if he hopes to exorcise this spirit within.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 09:04 am
    I'm interested in how others see this Mariner.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 09:08 am
    Hmmm I don't see bright-eyed as sick. A child is often described as bright-eyed and not just when they have a fever either.

    Again the book on symbols give much symbolism for Eye.

    The eye is omniscience; the all-seeing divinity; the faculty of intuitive vision; the sun gods and their life-giving power of fertilization by the sun; the eye is the power incarnated in the god-king; the mystical eye; light, enlightemnent; knowledge; the mind; vigilance; protection; stability; fixity of purpose, but the limitation of the visible; the all-seeing God; the light of the body in the eye.

    There are many other symbolic meanings for many eyes and eyes applied to architecture and the heart as well as single eyes.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 09:12 am
    Barbara: But, as you indicate, fever (at any age) can cause "bright"eyes. It is also seen in some people with schizophrenia who have delusions and/or hallucinations.


    September 1, 2000 - 09:24 am
    Tu-whit-- To-Whoo

    The ship was cheered,

    The harbour cleared,

    Merrily did we drop

    Below the kirk, below the hill,

    Below the lighthouse top.

    YiLi Lin
    September 1, 2000 - 09:34 am
    -Simplicity is thy (mine) name....

    A tale of marriage (not a wedding feast)- launched into waters unknown- aha the albatross- in flight- escape? freedom? a chance to NOT "die as an individual and resurrect as one"- shot down by the bright-eyed (wise as in bright-eyed child) knower of things to come.

    September 1, 2000 - 09:40 am
    I like the contrast between the wedding and the tale of the old mariner, who does seem to HAVE to tell the tale. He catches just one wedding guest out of a party of three and "holds him with his glittering eye," spellbound against his will. The wedding has already taken place since the bride is seen pacing into the hall in the eighth stanza. She is preceeded by "merry mistrelsy" who are piping her into the hall for the reception. The wedding guest who is stopped by the mariner is "next of kin" which means that he really should be going into the hall. He may have to give the toast to the bride or something. He belongs INSIDE with the partiers but is held--by the mariner's eye alone--OUTSIDE and IN the story.

    The wedding guest can tell that something is possessing the old man. Note the final stanza in part !---

    "God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee thus!

    And then, right away, the mariner tells that he shot the albatross. The wedding guest can tell by the glittering eye, the obvious obsession of the mariner, a man he does not know. I imagine that the mariner has certain facial gestures also, or perhaps gestures with his arms or body that alert the wedding guest to the fact that something awful happened.

    (By the way, Ginny, you can see the archaic language in a lot of the marginal notes. For example, look at all those -eth verb endings as in "And lo! the Albatross proveth a bird of good omen and followeth the ship as it returned northward through fog and ice." The "And lo" sounds Biblical as well as archaic.)


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 10:00 am
    Without any symbolism, I see the Ancient Mariner as a man who has been through hell. He is scarred and wounded, so much so that he is obsessed by things that happened to him. I see a man who needs relief, who wants purging. If he buttonholed someone who just happened to be a wedding guest, he could just have well coerced someone in the supermarket today to hear his tale.

    This happened to me two days ago with the young clerk who walked out with me to help me put my groceries in my car. Just making talk, I asked how she was. We stood in the rain, both without raincoats or umbrella, as she told me about the baby she had lost the previous week. She was three months pregnant, went for a checkup, and there was no heartbeat. In the process of delivering this dead child, my young acquaintance nearly died.

    She told me these things, though we have had only a kind of "hi" supermarket relationship before. I could not say, "Listen I'm getting soaking wet out here in the rain." I could not leave. I was compelled to listen to her story and share her pain.

    Scarred and wounded like the Ancient Mariner? Yes, she is. This leads me to believe that Coleridge hit on something that is quite common among human beings. People try to unload the burden they carry and relieve the pain they feel.


    September 1, 2000 - 10:02 am
    sorry for that last long post. i wrote it last night on my notepad without even having noticed the skipper's questions. merde. my face is red as i identify with a one eyed, skinny fingered ancient mariner.

    ella, our boat was a steel hulled, eleven ton, 36 foot sloop. steel hulls are slow but prove useful in the reef-ridden south pacific.

    now, joan. you think the mariner just shot the bird for the hell of it? just a dumb mistake? and spends the rest of his life talking about it? well, why not. that sounds better than some convoluted christ theme.

    but mariner's bright eye, to me, means off kilter, not wise. not like the description of a child-like person who is bright-eyed and bushy tailed. and maybe the mariner even has One eye. my younger brother is a paranoid schizophrenic. though he has two eyes, they definitely scare me. and when he speaks i am riveted...like you, mal, in the rain at the supermarché.

    September 1, 2000 - 10:02 am
    Mal---I agree, and your example is interesting. It is often easier to tell terrible things to strangers than to family and friends.


    September 1, 2000 - 10:05 am
    Hi fairwinds! I don't think you're allowed to use that French word. Hehehehehe. One of the fascinations of this poem is that we don't know why the mariner shot the Albatross. Because it was there? Because he could? Because it was a handy target? Because he had been secretly resenting its popularity? Whatever it was, bad idea, should have aimed at a target instead.

    September 1, 2000 - 10:12 am
    hi maryal...if anyone deletes my merde then i'll have to explain that the meaning in france is not offensive as its closest relative, s***, in north america. even little children (bien elevé) use it here in front of their parents without anyone blinking.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 10:15 am
    I agree with Mal. She said it much better than I did.


    September 1, 2000 - 10:38 am
    I think Mal has given an excellent example of "Why the wedding guest" yet, as a metaphor "Wedding guest" and "Member of the Wedding" show that this is an insider at a life affirming event,yanked unceremoniously out into the Death story.. The Guest is there to witness a life affirming. a joyous occasion, the very beginning of Happiness, in fact he is startled by the intrusion of this story of death. Why does Colridge place the "glitter eyed" hypnotising mariner at the Wedding except as a dire example again of death in life etc his whole theme and life in deathAdmiral Fop appreciates the Friday toast and offers the Toaster a tot of rum with 2 waters, which is a very exclusive offer. Adm'l Fop

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 11:08 am
    Coleridge was an experienced writer. Writers use devices. One device is to use and play on sharp contrasts. What better contrast to the hell the Ancient Mariner had been through than a light-hearted wedding?

    I do not believe The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a philosophical statement about life and death. Rather, I believe the main focus of this poem is on a very deep study of the main character and what made him as he is. Coleridge was a master at this, and he certainly did it very, very well in this poem.


    Joan Pearson
    September 1, 2000 - 12:54 pm
    Adm'l Fop "a tot of rum with 2 waters", is recognized as an exclusive order and much appreciated!

    I'm going to confess that I have no memory of THE RIME, except the title...and have not read more than Part the First today...so like several others, am totally in the dark as to WHY was shot the GOOD OMEN. There is something about the situation and fairwinds' early post that reminds me of my frustration years ago at attempting to elicit a response from sons for incomprehensible behavior.

    I wouldn't be surprised if we don't ever get a response, an answer from our Mariner either. But whatever happened, it weighs on him and he feels compelled to corner the young man, the "next of kin" to the bridegroom, and tell HIM the tale. The "sharp glittering eye" to me is an intense eye, scrutinizing the young man's face for some sort of response, some sign that he is listening and can give some sort of satisfying response. It is interesting that the EYE alone is enough to compell submission...surely the "skinny hands" are not strong enough to restrain the young man...

    I'm not so sure the Mariner is "sick" and not even sure he is evil at this point...although he has done something incomprehensibly, needlessly destructive!

    Has the Mariner chosen this wedding guest as his confessor or did he collar him at random? Has Cooleridge chosen a wedding guest for the reasons some of you are reading into it..

    Lots of questions...very few answers, and a masterful beginning!!!

    Ella Gibbons
    September 1, 2000 - 01:28 pm
    The word "loon" reminded of "looney tunes" or a "looney" - one we commonly referred to as "a bit off." So I looked the word up in the dictionary and find two meanings: "loon n. Any of several diving birds of the genus "Gavia" of northern regions, having a laughlike cry......" interesting that one, eh? (even has a picture of the loon.

    Second meaning: "looney" adj. - So odd as to appear demented"

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 03:33 pm
    Ella, have you never heard the cry of a loon? The call of a loon is much like how you'd think a crazy person's laughter would sound. It can be very startling at night when you're sitting on the porch in the darkness at a cottage on a lake in Maine.

    They're amazing to watch. They'll be swimming along on top of the water, then suddenly dive for a fish. When they come up, they're far, far from where they went down.

    Now I'm homesick. Wish I could go up to my sister's house. She lives on an inlet of a bay not far from Bar Harbor.


    September 1, 2000 - 03:39 pm
    Mal---Your sister lives near where my sister lives in the summer. My sister and b-i-l have a house on an island off Bar Harbor. And you are so right about loons. They are shiny black birds with a really strange laughing cry and when they dive, you never know where they will come up. When I was a kid in Maine, we used to try to guess where the loon would next appear.

    I think the most important happening in part one is the shooting of the Albatross. All the trouble begins there, and what he has done continues to haunt the ancient mariner.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 03:45 pm
    Maryal, you were a kid in Maine? My paternal grandparents had a farm in Brooks. My ex-husband's grandparents lived in Unity. I once knew that area quite well. Actually, my sister lives in a little town called Franklin. Perhaps you know it. It may be closer to Blue Hill than it is to Bar Harbor. My three nieces all have houses in Lubec, though one is an M.D. in Bangor.

    You're right. The climactic thing in part one of the poem is the shooting of the albatross. Now I'm going to look at the poem as a writer and see how Coleridge works up to this shocking event.


    September 1, 2000 - 03:56 pm
    Mal---I was born in Maine, went to Chicago when I was three, back to Maine (Bangor) when I was 14. Sure I know where Franklin is, roughly. My former husband lived in Unity for a while when he was little. Like you, I get homesick for Maine. This summer my daughter and I did get up and stayed in my sister's house for nearly two weeks. Absolute heaven. The winters are something else though, as you know. I can take the cold but the really early dark of winter afternoons, almost an hour earlier than here in Maryland, really gets to me.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 04:27 pm
    I've read some critiques that say the wedding guests are there to show a kind of joy that is temporary as compared to the spiritual joy the mariner experienced after he wished the sea serpants well and because of that love expressed he was on course again and magically sailed home to be rescued.

    There are so many interpretations of this poem. Every web site and every book I've scanned at both Borders and B&N each have a different interpretation. Amazing that one poem can touch so many and probably in their most vulnerable spots.

    Sounds like some are comfortable with the eye of the mariner not being wise but compelling and in order to be compelling he isn't whole or the word loony has great meaning. I vaguley remember that loony ment that since the loon birds song was sumg at night rather than during the day they were out of sink with 'normal' and therefore, anyone that acted different than others was called loony.

    I guess we all bring to the story our own experiences. Also, for some they had interpreted the poem in years past. And that study weighs strongly. For me this interpretation, like all great traditions and great writtings, can be enlarged with time and my additional life experiences.

    When the majority believed that heaven and hell were outward places than it seems the poem worked on a Religious Christian level. Now that many believe that heaven and hell are within and we experience our heaven and hell on earth the poem can still work its spiritual magic.

    As usual we all bring our experiences to the read and for me I see the mariner's rime much like the tales of knights, having been on a soul quest. I see him without the chuckle of the Dali Lama but a man as riveting, who is describing the journey of his soul rather than a real life experience with the implausable but rather, he is describing his tortured soul journey peopled with two woman of death, a ghost or death ship and the dead sailing the ship home after he lives for 7 days longer than all without any water.

    For me I see the Kirk, the church, the steeple, the discription of the place at the start of his journey as the safety and comfort of a spiritual home. Almost like the arms or a mother wrapped around just as I am imagining the bay a semi-circle of safety.

    And I see the guest, all those that read the poem and have not taken yet their soul journey riveted by the strength of character this man possesses. The wedding guest is anxious but not rude or so filled with revelry that he completly brushes the old man off but sits on the stone. I don't sense he is afraid of the mariner. I see him impatiant to hear the story quickly. He wants to go on but yet feels compelled to hear the story before rushing off to carry out his responsibility at the wedding celebration.

    For me I see the eye 'bright' as one who is clear and strong in his knowledge of love and his belief in his God and like I could imagine Saint Peter, staunch in his belief that it is more important hearing, so that you could experience the knowledge of a soul journey as more valuable than celabrating anothers embarkation toward what may or maynot be a successful soul journey.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 04:34 pm
    I also researched my copy of Dictionary of Symbolism cultural Icons and the meaning behind them by Hans Boedermann for additional insight.

    Eye: the most important organ of the senses, symbolically assoociated with light and intellectual perspicacity. Also, a transmitter of "Beams," the image of spiritual expressivity.

    Sun: the supreme cosmic power, the all-seeing divinity, the center of being and intuituve knowledge, the intelligence of the world, the eye of the world, unconquerable, splendid, just and royal; the universal Father, God the father, ruler and sustainer of the universe, the abode of Archangel Michael, Christ as the sun of righteousness.
    The sun shines coming up on the right, the side of honor and sinks in the sea. Higher till over the mast.
    The Ship of life, the cradle, saviour, protector, the Ark, the ship of salvation, setting out on the sea of life, crossing the waters of death like crossing from this world to the next, has an axial in that the mast shares the significance of the Tree of Life.
    The Wedding-Guest hears the loud bassoon.
    A phallic symbol of nature in her transitory and ever-changing aspect, falicity , great happiness, an instance of appropriate and pleasing manner.
    He beat his breast his protection, love, the nourishing aspect of the Great Mother and yet he cannot chuse but hear.
    As if he is slipping anchor and being carried on the adventure away from his protection. Because, next the storm is described.

    Storm: the creative power, the bringer of fertilizing rain. Waves, water in chaos and the everchanging manifest world. Wind, the Spirit; the vital breath of the universe, elusive, messengers of God, symbolizing the presence of divinity, the power of the spirit sustaining life and holding it togetheras the wind is associated with cords and ropes.

    The Mist and Snow.

    Mist: the condition of error and confusion. The soul must pass out of the confusion of the mist to the clear light of illumination.

    Snow: the hardening of the heart.

    Ice; rididity, frigidity, brittle, impermanence, the goss waters of the earth as opposed to the fresh and living waters of Paradise. An absence of love.

    Green: ambivalent as both life and earth in the vernal green of life and the livid green of death; youth, hope. A mystic color; a green flag signafies a wreck at sea; the color of the trinity, the growth of the Holy spirit in man.

    The ice, it cracked and growled and roared and howled like noises in a swound!

    Sounds to me like the typical way of describing someone who is frozen and ridged with an absense of love.
    The albatroos through the fog or mist it came.
    A Christian soul coming through the error and confusion.

    Bird: The soul; a spirit, devine manifestation, spirits of the air, spirits of the dead. Birds frequently accompany the hero on his quest; the bird symbolizes heavenly communication or the help of celestial powers, winged souls. Birds symbolize the power that helps people to speak reflectively and leads them to think out many things in advance before they take action. The soul in the body is elevated by thought and spreads its wings everywhere. Birds are purer and colder than animals that live ont the earth, because they are not conceived in such intense and heated desire and they do not emerge naked from their mothers' bodies but rather covered by a shell.

    Large Bird: indentified with thunder, the voice of the sky gods, divine wrath at a disturbance of cosmic order and the wind as the messengers of God.

    Eating: imparts the quality of that which is consumed.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 04:35 pm
    Cloud: the unseen God, veiling the sky; coulds veil God, as with the cloud on Mt Sinai.

    Vespers at Nine: the triple traid, completion, fulfilment, attainment, the bginning and the end. A Celestial number' an incorruptible number. the triple triads of choirs of angels and the nine spheres and rings round hell.

    White, night, moon. I like the way that sounds...dat dat dooon

    Night: pre-natal darkness preceding rebirth or initiation and illumination; chaos, death, disintegration; the maternal feminine power figure holding a child, one black - death and one white - sleep, on either arm.

    Moon: the Queen of Heaven; the rhythm of cyclic time; universal or realm of becoming; The dark side of nature; the spiritual side of light in darkness; time, measurment; the weaver of fate; the abode of the archangle Gabriel.

    White: transcendent perfection; simplicity; light; purity; innocence; holiness; the triumph of spirit over the flesh; the purified soul; virginity; integrity; baptism, all seven sacriment; Saints not suffering martyrdom; Easter, Epiphany.

    Crossbow: masculine in prowess, feminine as the crescent moon. dispatching the masculine arrow;

    Arrow: wordly power; sadism; speed; determination; impulse.

    I shoot the ALBATROSS

    I see so many that shut off their spiritual life often as if shooting themselves in the foot. If their heart isn't dead it soon becomes dead by some who shoot up drugs, others alcohol, still others caretaking other's feelings at their own expense, and many trying to control their enviornment as the mariner controlled the enviornment with the loss of the albatroos changing the enviornment, a bird no longer feeding, playing, flying with the sailors.

    Seeing a bird as a mythical creature that is the messanger between God and man and now the mariner broke the path to God as the messanger is dead. I like the association that by shooting the Albatroos it is similar to man eating of the fruit and being caste out of the Garden of Edan.

    If God is within than, as mankind as the body of Christ the albatroos could be the Holy Ghost/Spirit.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 04:45 pm
    Well, Barbara, you sure find a lot of things in a book or a poem. As far as I'm concerned, this is not a spiritual journey. Romantic, yes, with the ghastly crew and Coleridge's use of words, but spiritual, no, at least for me.

    I still maintain that the poem is about a man who continues to suffer because of his experiences, one who wants relief from that suffering.

    I can't remember a single thing that was said by teacher when we read the Rime in high school, so this "trip" feels brand new to me.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 1, 2000 - 05:03 pm
    Malryn isn't this great-- we all have a different perspective having lived each of us different lives with different experiences. I love it. We really ought to be enriched by this sharing.

    Have you ever read so many different interpretations?? I thought at first they were written at such different times in history since Coleridge penned the poem but no, there is just this palaver of interpretation.

    I seem to see "On the wings of a snow white dove" in so much of what I read, this included.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 1, 2000 - 05:18 pm
    I'll tell you something, Barbara, there aren't too many writers today who would do the kind of research you do simply to understand a work. I can think of only one, A.S.Byatt. That's to be expected, since she's a professor at a university. Now, that's where you belong instead of selling real estate!


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 1, 2000 - 07:01 pm
    I like the way Coleridge moves us along as the storm comes -- the Storm-Blast came (not just the storm), struck with his (not its)o'ertaking wings, chased us (not blew us), pursued with yell and blow, now came mist and snow and the cold was "wondrous" (not just "very"), as green as emerald. Coleridge must have been in this area of the ocean or became knowledgeable in some fashion. Most people wouldn't know that the icebergs could be green.


    September 1, 2000 - 08:53 pm
    It looks like we might as well agree to disagree on the meaning or interpretation of The Rime. And anyone having a problem with it, should keep in mind that Coleridge himself kept monkeying with it for the next twenty years...changing, emending, adding the Gloss, to meet criticism, or reflect a change in his own thinking...etc, etc. The resulting masterpiece has something for everyone. How you think about it, will depend on whether you are a christian, a psychologist, a marxist, a psychoanalyst, a magician, a storyteller, or...a poet!

    Let's not lose sight of the poetry, as we listen to the Mariner 'tell all'. After all it was his creator who preached the sermon at Shrewesbury, in January, 1798, which left William Hazlitt 'well satisfied' at hearing the 'eagle dallying with the wind', and sounding out 'the music of the spheres'. The Rime was conceived and completed in the two months before and two months after that date.

    My own starting point is a feeling of sympathy and eagerness to hear more. I too killed a bird. As a boy. With my slingshot. It left me feeling miserable. That the other kids were impressed didn't really do much for me. I was never overcome by guilt as the Mariner was. Why not? The rest of you? Haven't we all 'killed' something? Or committed an act which might just set off a chain of inner turmoil...experienced as dream, swoon, or vision...etc,etc?

    It must have been the memory of the horror, the aloneness, the ugliness of everything, the terrible thirst, the desolation, the spectres, which showed on the Mariner's face when the Wedding-Guest asked him, 'Why look'st thou so?'

    Why the endless retelling? My guess...that he wants to experience again that wonderful peace and ability to pray (to commune with Nature or God) which followed the act of love. What better place than a Wedding to look for human kinship, intimacy, love, and communal togetherness? Or at a Kirk nearby?


    September 1, 2000 - 09:46 pm
    jonathan, have you ever known anyone with the need to keep saying the same stuff over and over again? i have. and now i understand it has a clinical name...obsessive compulsive disorder. they can tell you something on the telephone, hang up, call you back and say exactly the same thing again. the person who used to call me in the states, however, won't pay to do it long distance. the mariner may not have cared Where he happened to be to tell his tale...wedding, supermarket, anywhere.

    September 1, 2000 - 10:00 pm

    Well done. The wedding, could he be telling of the Wedding in the Bible of Christ and The Church?

    You never cease to amaze me with your research, No matter where you are posting. Thank You for all of your research everwhere you post.

    Joan Pearson
    September 2, 2000 - 04:27 am
    Jonathan, your bird. How long did it take to get over the deed? What did it take? Time? Admission? Did it change you in any way? I'll bet you NEVER did it again! At least you had no personal relationship with the bird as did the Mariner - except of course your relationship with Nature.

    So the Mariner killed something magnificent and pure and good. The Mariner owed his life to the Omen and then turned on it. A real or imagined curse must be attached to such a deed? Consequences. The act must be a BAD OMEN of things to come.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 05:24 am
    For all averred, I had killed the bird
    That made the breeze to blow.

    Going on to verse three of Part 2, this is what is said about the killing of the albatross.

    Jonathan's statement about Coleridge's editing of this poem many times over a long period of time interests me. As a writer, I can say that even if just one word is changed, such editing can change the meaning of the whole piece.

    Rarely have I heard of a work that was so planned and discussed beforehand. Wordsworth and Coleridge met many times to talk about this work. I read that the original premise was to continue a theme both of them had used before of crime, punishment and redemption. It seems as if Wordsworth came up with many of the ideas for this piece, the albatross, the mariner himself, etc. These ideas included Wordsworth's great interest in Nature and what happens when one turns against it.

    As you know, Coleridge's and Wordsworth's collaboration did not work well, so Coleridge went on to write The Rime of the Ancient Mariner himself. Because of this, there is much more that is supernatural in the work than there probably would have been otherwise.

    As far as I can tell the poem is written in iambic tetrameter, a very usual meter. Please tell me if I am mistaken about this.

    It is also interesting to note that many of the descriptive words and phrases such as the "glittering eye" Coleridge used in the Rime were used in his poem, Christabel.


    September 2, 2000 - 07:10 am

    AHOY there, Jerry J! Welcome aboard!!!

    The Cap'n was in the wheelhouse and saw your heroic leap from shore across the expanse between the dock and the ship, and is glad to have such an athletic Crew Member!

    Fear, not, fear not, thou Venerable Crew Member, these bodies shall not drop down!

    Well, we're at sea (the Cap'n in more ways than one) things are going splendidly, and the Cap'n is taking notes on the 50 posts that have occurred since the Cap'n last peeketh in here. MAZELTOV!!!!!!!

    SUCH points. Each one of you has made points that whole graduate theses could be written on. The Cap'n in taking notes and frantically adjusting the heading.

    Look UP Mariners, look UP. SEE the new questions and the quotes being changed as we speak!

    LOOK UP!

    This is a good time to thank Pat W publically for her sterling work in that beautiful "dream like" heading, to mention Swabbie Sandy who is definitely a Man Overboard but who is coming home from the hospital today from her horrific traffic accident (but who will be out of work a month and who has to go back for overnight stuff) who sends to you the message that she is clawing her way up the side of the ship and will be on deck soon.

    This is also a good time to tell you that your brig loving Midshipman Maryal has come up with a diabolical "Survivor" like contest for the Mariners on this trip and you will hear more anon. Perhaps she will be back IN the brig!

    This is also a good time to tell you that you have started out here absolutely perfectly! You are talking amongst yourselves, you all have different opinions, but you support the opinions of the others and you are doing a whale of a great discussion here. My concern this morning is with some of the little throw away lines which some of you contributed and which are breathtaking in their perspicacity, am taking notes (not used to that and can't read them) as fast as I can and in the midst of a lightning storm hope to get them up as soon as possible.

    The role of the Cap'n here is to provide the framework for this discussion. This simple appearing poem has produced, as many have noted, tons of scholarship, books, theories and debates, and some of it is really enticing, let's not be too quick to move on, we've not even scratched the surface of Part I?

    But I will venture my first opinion here and say the thing which jumped out at me the most (not the same as what was the most important thing) was the rigid structure of the words, in other words, the form of the poem. It's very carefully crafted, and while the theme is what's important, I also hope we can look at the form because Coleridge is doing some very interesting things and we will need the help of those of you who do know to tell us what they ARE as we progress.

    More anon!

    Cap'n Queeg

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 2, 2000 - 07:13 am

    How can I have "more" anon when I didn't have any to begin with?

    Cabin Boys make ignorant remarks like that.

    September 2, 2000 - 07:15 am
    You had a LOT, Robby, yours is one of the posts I hope to get back to!

    Captain Crunch

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 2, 2000 - 07:23 am
    Malryn there is where I really would like to learn more - can you suggest a text that would help me understand what the significance is when poets use a certain meter. I have found texts that explain the meter as a journey man would want a 'handbook' but not one that describes what the affect of the meter chosen is on the reader or how it affects the thoughts shared by the poet.

    Joan I love your questions to Jonathan. Since I see this poem as more of an interior or soul journey the questions you pose really hit as i realize how as many of us do, I've not always been my own best friend and did not always honor who and what I am, in affect killing off a piece of myself.

    Ginger thanks - by now everyone must realize it seems to be just an automatic part of my nature. As a little kid I drove my Mother to exasperation with my questions and in fourth grade the students actually groaned as I would ask just one more question. That was neat though. Sister, oh I forgot her name now, just said without my questions many in the class would not have understood well enough to pass the tests. Hurrah - my curse was given merit.

    fairwinds sounds like someone feels so safe with you, they feel they can repeat their story or maybe hehe they do not feel you have 'correctly' hehe or up to their standard understood and want you to answer with something different?? I am teasing - because I have not experienced someone repeating something that bores me. I have experienced someone repeating a theme with a new example of that theme but it is usually one that I also have an interest.

    Gotta run - showing property before the temp gets over 100 again. Yesterday it was like the deck of this ship without water. The red sun had us up to 109.

    September 2, 2000 - 07:35 am
    Please check the roster and make sure you are listed with the crew so you will be allotted your portion of rum and grub.

    Welcome to Jerrj, who came aboard just as we were pulling away.

    YiLi Lin
    September 2, 2000 - 08:31 am
    Thinking again from my perspective- with an enhanced view from Barbara's research- marriage or not, i believe this is a tale of the inner journey- and achieving what i call aha moments. I think the captain (remember he is telling a tale- an insinuation of past tense happenings) like most of us who have had an aha moment come out of the experience or the illumination changed. It is that change I see in his eyes and in his riveting postures. Why shoot the albatross- he had to- an important aha moment that many people achieve is the notion that we make this journey alone- locus of control shifts to the innner and we become compelled to have our fellow humans understand. Often we don't realize that an OTHER can't understand they must experience the journey.

    As we read further though I am glimpsing the journey of the shaman, particularly those of the tribes that board the canoe and travel to the spirit world. This shamanic practice is fraught with danger- those who return with the information necessary bring back the power to heal.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 09:47 am
    I must say that I do not share Barbara's and YiLi Lin's assessment of this poem, and I don't think this is what Coleridge had in mind at all. Note my previous post in which I said that Wordsworth's and Coleridge's original premise for the poem was crime, punishment and redemption. There is documented evidence of this fact. I'll try locate to the source where I read it and tell you where to find it.

    Obviously, readers put their own interpretation into what they read. That fact really came to my attention recently when I published a short story of mine in The WREX Pages called The Leaning Tree. This is the fictional story of a hurricane. All some people could see was the meeting of the man and woman in it and a potential romance between them, of which there was none written or ever intended by me. Because it is written in the first person, some readers also persisted in thinking it is a true story about me and experiences I had, despite an author's note which said explicitly that the story is fiction. Oh, the frustrations of being a writer who is trying to get a point across to an audience!

    Barbara, the person to ask about books which might have what you want to know in them is Jim Olson. I know another poet who also would know.

    All I can say is that iambic tetrameter is the meter in which most English-speaking people speak. It, therefore, is a loose, easy rhythm for a narrative poem or story. Sonnets, of course, are much more structured than the Rime is, since they have four lines for three verses and one verse with two lines. That has nothing to do with meter, and I've read some very good and interesting blank verse poetry written in sonnet form, usually written in iambic tetrameter.

    I've been trying to remember the meter of Evangeline. Is it iambic pentameter? Have to look that up, since it's been nagging me for quite a while. That's the musician in me. I have to know how many beats there are in a measure!


    September 2, 2000 - 10:44 am
    Barbara is not alone in her interest in finding out more about this type of poem by Coleridge or his works. I personally recommend a book titled Approach to Teaching Coleridge's Poetry and Prose by Richard E. Matlak, which has an extensive and very satisfying bibliography of 338 books on Coleridge's work, life, and individual poems.

    In this book, if it so moves you, you can thrill to the imponderable disagreement over why the bird was killed by two of the most quoted critics, Robert Penn Warren, and Edward E Bostetter, who are in direct opposition to each other.

    There is a nice article on "metre" and how it enhances poetry in the reference book The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English and the Introduction called "The Study of Literature" in the college text Theme and Form has a wonderful interoduction to all aspects of a literary work: including under THEME: the subject, the situation,the speaker, attitude, tone, and FORM: sound and sense, structure, style, etc.

    There is an extensive examination of meter in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, with many examples even of such interesting things as the anapestic dimeter catalectic or Paroemiac.

    But we can talk about meter and we can talk about rhyme scheme and we can talk about figures of speech. Coleridge has a great cute example of the effect of meter in this first section.

    I hope we can hold off just a tad on the questions of why WE THINK (because here we are about what WE think) the bird was killed till we get some of the great points already brought up by our readers.

    Still adding your questions to the heading, almost there, back in a mo!

    Cap'n Crunch

    September 2, 2000 - 11:02 am
    Admiral Fop requests that the Medical Officers aboard ship peruse and reflect on the experience of the royal navy. As we follow along with the Rime, keep a sharp eye out for signs and symptoms in our Cap't and Crew. Adm'l Fop LUNACY ABOARD SHIP It is often reported that the relatively high incidence of lunacy within the Royal Navy was due to the men continually knocking their heads on the low beams between decks especially when intoxicated. The ratio, according to Blane (an eminent naval surgeon),was one madman for every 1,000 seamen, an increase of sevenfold over the civilian population.

    Perhaps rather more surprisingly we find that the Navy cared for its lunatics in its own mental hospital at Hoxton in London. In 1813, for example there were 140 inmates listed with a fair spread across the social spectrum. 1 Captain, 4 Lieutenants, 3 Lieutenants of Marines, 1 Surgeon and an assistant, 2 Carpenters, 1 Gunner, 1 Master's Mate and a Midshipman were incarcerated there, the rest being seamen. This would suggest that the level of insanity was greater among the officers than men although this cannot really be supported as the officers relatives may have had greater influence as to their treatment or that medical authorities were more inclined to perservere with them. Some men were discharged cured, or into the care of their relations and some died while in hospital. The great reformers of mental institutions had barely begun their work at this time and the majority were therefore discharged into the living hell of the Bethlehem Hospital or Bedlam as it was better known.


    ou are at: Home : Nelsons Navy : Lunacy on Ship

    Unless otherwise stated all text and images are copyright The Historical Maritime Society 2000

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 2, 2000 - 11:09 am
    Coleridge speaks of the albatross coming through the fog "as if it had been a Christian soul, we hailed it in God's name." These men had been through unbelievable storms, mist, snow and ice. They were ready to show gratitude to anyone or anything that was a change in their lives. As Fairwinds indicated in an earlier posting, it could have been a cockroach.

    Furthermore, such gratitude would have been shown by Christians, Budhists, Jews, Muslims, Zoroasterans, and atheists. There is nothing leading to gratitude more than relief from an incessant pain, whether it be physical or emotional. Ask anyone whose long-standing headache suddenly stops.

    Of course, they "hailed it." They would have hailed blue skies with soft white clouds and a gentle breeze.


    Jerry Jennings
    September 2, 2000 - 11:10 am
    As I go at the poem, it is important to me to see the connections it makes with the broader outlines of the human enterprise, rather than to search for one to one correspondences between symbols in the poem and particular events or phenomena. The Mariner's glittering eye may have symbolic value, but I fear that in concentrating on insolated symbols I'm likely to miss the real story. And to me, the provenance of the poem is the story. Rhythm and rhyme, stanzaic structure, and imagery, though carefully worked out and effective, are adjunctive. This is not to say that form is not important in the poem. It most certainly is. But form makes the poem only on a superficial level. The story of human life that it reiterates is what makes us read the poem and the poem to stay with us.

    We know the story well, recognize it wherever it appears, and never tire of hearing it again and again. The retelling of the old, old story of the spiritual life cycle, whether by story tellers of the ancient world, the Greeks and Romans, the Bible, English 18th Century novelists, or our own contemporary George Lucas, evokes the search for transcendence common to all peoples of all cultures. In reality, this is what great literature (and other arts, too) does for us.

    Fundamental though the search for transcendence is, we sometimes, nay often, fail along the way and fall into a bog and lose our way. When this happens, we have to pick ourselves up and start again. This is what had happened to the Mariner. He had become bogged down, just as Dante had bogged down midway in his three score years and ten. Just as all of us have at one time or another bogged down in everyday cares and forgotten the transcendent journey. Perhaps the Mariner got lost in his own self-importance, his own so-called knowledge, forgot that he was part of a universal enterprise and lost contact with the One Life. We don't know the details; just that he felt isolated, alone, forgotten by man and deserted by God.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 11:26 am
    There is the argument, Jerryj, that without form there is no poem, only a jumble of meaningless words.

    In my opinion, the Ancient Mariner was a prisoner of a kind of obsessive mental illness, the experiences which caused it and the pain they created, and himself. I agree completely with Robby's post above.

    "The Ancient Mariner was originally conceived (by Coleridge and Wordsworth}, it must be remembered, as a Gothic horror-ballad, inspired by the popularity of such works as Bürger's Lenore and written with the intention of earning 5 pounds from the Monthly Magazine." Quoted from the Coleridge Companion.



    Jerry Jennings
    September 2, 2000 - 11:33 am
    Malryn, don't forget that the poet probably knows less about the poem than anybody else. The psychology of the poet is only one small part of what goes into a poem. Usually it adds nothing to an understanding of the poem.

    Do you think Stephen King commits all those atrocious acts? Or even wants to?

    betty gregory
    September 2, 2000 - 11:36 am
    I've been reading all posts with great interest. The poem's original intent, a la Coleridge and Wordsworth, is no less interesting than our projected meanings.

    To answer Cap'n's first question, with whom do I identify most, the wedding guest or the ancient mariner, I have to say that a balance of both identifications eludes me, even though I'm often aware of trying to avoid "being" more one than the other. You can't spend your life transfixed by the compelling tales of others to the exclusion of your own, nor can you lurch from listener to listener with your tale without ever knowing the peace that comes from listening.

    I sent an email to a family member today, years overdue, whose tone is even unprintable here, saying I'm tired of being the only listener of the two of us. So, just for today, I don't identify with the mesmerized wedding guest.

    Thanks for the heads up (pardon the pun), Admiral Fop. I already have my eye on a potential loony seaman or two. WATCH THOSE BEAMS!!


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 11:37 am
    Jerryj, speaking as a writer and based on a great deal of experience, I disagree with your first statement.

    Stephen King is a writer of immense imagination who has an understanding of human nature, as well as being a very hard worker who hit on a genre that sells.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 2, 2000 - 11:41 am
    In my opinion, if we want to, we can find symbolism in every single poem, every single bit of prose, every remark made.

    "I have a little shadow
    Who goes in and out with me
    And what can be the use of him
    Is more than I can see."

    A simple childhood poem that I recited as a boy. If I look hard enough, I can see that this shadow is indeed my alternate personality -- that I cannot see the use of him because his meaning is deeply repressed in my psyche -- that my conscious mind is not capbable of "seeing" what the subconscious mine sees -- etc. etc.

    I am not trying to be funny or sarcastic here. I truly believe that there are works of literature in which the author is merely telling a story with no hidden meanings.

    Composers go through this, too. Beethoven probably tried to imitate the sounds and feelings of nature when he wrote his Pastoral Symphony. Tchaikovsky also told a story with the "1812 Overture." The name tips us off. deBussy tries to imitate the calm of the ocean with "La Mer." But aren't there other pieces of music which have no meaning behind them? The composer merely wanted to delight the listener.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 11:47 am
    Songs Without Words, various sonatas and concerti which no one has named. The list is endless. Not all music is program music, and not all literature has a deep, hidden message. In fact, the contrary is true more often than not.


    betty gregory
    September 2, 2000 - 11:52 am
    SO, why has this particular poem drawn so much interpretation/interest? Why does one piece of art do this and another not?

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 2, 2000 - 11:54 am
    Betty: The answer, I believe, is not the poem but the people who see poems wherein they can make interpretations. Some people like to take songs, such as Mal's "Song Without Words," and put words to them.


    September 2, 2000 - 12:00 pm
    Golly, I don't think there is anything more frustrating than to lose a long post aborning, is there? Especially with a horror storm raging outside.

    Since I totally forget what I said, let me just hit the high points:

    We are HERE in our Books & Lit book discussions, to talk about what WE see in a work of literature, our own impressions. Through the generosity of our fellow adventurers on this trip and the knowledge some bring to share (fabulous information on lunacy aboard ship, Admiral Fop! I think I have hit my own head one too many times!) we can go away from our discussions not only enlightened by the view points of others, but also perhaps enriched by new knowledge, too. We all have different approaches and viewpoints, and the more we hear from each other, the better off we will be in the end.

    I hope that those who have some experience with some of the more arcane parts of the poem will help us out when I stumble here, so nobody misses a thing?

    Some of us have never ever seen it before this time: I do especially hope they will speak up boldly: I want to hear from them as to how it strikes them at our age, or if you have forgotten ever having read it, how it strikes you now.

    I'd like to remind everybody that it's just as if we were in a room talking to each other: it's always polite to address everybody else's points before getting on with your own.

    Jonathan was right, we will probably strongly disagree, that's OK, your opinion is yours and mine is mine, we are all entitled, without any providing of credentials: the only credential you need is your presence here.

    Let's look back a minute at some of the great thoughts that you had:

    Barbara, what a neat take on the reason for the mention of the kirk, I love that, always kinda half wondered why it was mentioned, that "kirk" sure stands out. You said, "For me I see the Kirk, the church, the steeple, the discription of the place at the start of his journey as the safety and comfort of a spiritual home. Almost like the arms or a mother wrapped around just as I am imagining the bay a semi-circle of safety. " I love that thought.

    Ella and Mal, thanks for that great info on the loon, who would have known? I know that the derivation of loon is from the Latin luna meaning moon because people once thought that too much exposure to the moon caused madness, but am curious now as to its introduction, I will look it up between lightning blasts in the OED.

    I have really enjoyed your discussion on the "glittering eye" of the mariner and all the ramifications it might have. Often times you can see it in evangelists, a religious fervor which is startling to view, could this be by any chance, such a manifestation?

    Joan P, what a wonderful question on the wedding guest, put that one in the heading also, I have read that the end of the poem makes clear why this particular guest. I have never noticed that fact before, I am anxious to see if I agree now!

    Fairwinds, please do not apologize for one of the most lyrical posts I ever read, there were NO questions up when you posted, and, in fact, I was LATE with the topics to launch the discussion (which has happily soared on its own) and your eloquent post provided the answer to the upcoming question: "Why would the sailors hail the bird as if it had been a Christian soul?" Your eloquent cockroach post covered that one nicely, and sets the stage for the horror that was the Mariner's act.

    I'm not sure I agree with Barb that the Wedding Guest was not rude, I've always thought him excruciatingly rude, "Hold off, unhand me, greybeard loon." That's pretty darn rude, especially as I get older.

    I loved Maryal's contrast of the wedding and the somberness of death and her mention of the Gloss and the archaic and Bibical language was teriffic stuff. As we go on, notice how YOU tend to read those little prose explanations? I think the answer might be very interesting.

    I did not realize till I read Maryal's post that the wedding was OVER! And the Wedding Guest is the next of KIN! BUT Next of Kin to Whom?

    In a phone conversation with Joan P yesterday she said it was the bridegroom. I thought that was fascinating. I thought the wedding was just beginning. Does this mean that the Wedding Guest was late? Could the procession and the pacing into the hall mean arrival FOR the wedding, if not, he was REALLY late, wasn't he?

    more on YOUR thoughts.........

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 12:01 pm
    Sometimes I think these interpretations are instigated by challenges among academics to see who can prove himself/herself right by writing a paper about a work and publishing it. Publish or perish.

    I'll hazard a guess and say that one good reason The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has been read through the years is because it has the same kind of goose-bump horror appeal that above-mentioned Stephen King's books have, or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or some of William Blake's poetry, for example, or Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs. All of these give readers the feeling that they are darned glad what happened in the work did not happen to them.


    September 2, 2000 - 12:06 pm
    As to whether Coleridge intended any meaning to be gotten out of his poem, I'm going to go out on a limb and say he did. Let's hear from him:

    In a response I don't have time to type to a woman named Mrs. Barbauld who complained that the Rime had no moral, Coleridge disagreed and said

    "as to the want of a moral, I told her that in my own judgment the poem had too much; and that the only or chief fault, if I may say so, was the obtrusion of the moral sentiment so openly on the reader as a principle or cause of action in a work of such pure imagination. It ought to have had no more moral than the Arabian Nights' tale..."

    I believe that here Coleridge himself is saying this poem does "mean," as well as "be." But I am open to correction.

    Cap'n Queeg

    September 2, 2000 - 12:31 pm
    Jerry, I really like your viewpoint about the mechanics being necessary but not obscuring the theme or point, "the provenance of the poem is the story. Rhythm and rhyme, stanzaic structure, and imagery, though carefully worked out and effective, are adjunctive. " That's good stuff!

    I also like your take on this so well, I put it in the heading along with Jonathan's great quote," Perhaps the Mariner got lost in his own self-importance, his own so-called knowledge, forgot that he was part of a universal enterprise and lost contact with the One Life. We don't know the details; just that he felt isolated, alone, forgotten by man and deserted by God."...(Jerryj)

    I would like to keep that balance of keeping the story paramount, which we have certainly done to this point, while not neglecting for one moment the physical structure of the poem.

    For instance, Robby made a delicious post some time back: "I like the way Coleridge moves us along as the storm comes -- the Storm-Blast came (not just the storm), struck with his (not its)o'ertaking wings, chased us (not blew us), pursued with yell and blow, now came mist and snow and the cold was "wondrous" (not just "very"), as green as emerald."

    Are you all aware that those lines are full of figures of speech? Would anybody like to point one out?

    I think that Robby also said something I really have wondered about too and don't know the answer to, do any of you? " Coleridge must have been in this area of the ocean or became knowledgeable in some fashion. Most people wouldn't know that the icebergs could be green."

    I didn't know they were, can anybody address this great point?

    How about Ginger, with her two very important contributions here, one in this set of lines:

    The ship was cheered, the harbor cleared,
    Merrily did we drop
    Below the kirk, below the hill,
    Below the light-house top.

    Ginger, have you read this poem before? If not you have an intuitive grasp of what Barb was asking. Here we have a perfect example, and a cute one, of meter in action. As well as something else. Anybody care to take a stab at what we see here?

    Ginger also advanced a theory on the wedding I have never heard before and want to keep hold of: that the wedding symbolized the wedding of Christ and the Church, now THERE's an interesting analogy, let's keep it in mind as we read on...

    Betty, so you can identify with neither the guest nor the Mariner. Imagine what it must be like to have something to SAY but nobody seems to want to hear it? I used to identify with the Guest but I'm afraid now I am more in the Mariner's camp.

    How about the rest of you? Do you know how it feels to want to be heard?

    I love Jonathan's question in the heading and his experience with his own bird reminds me of the old Andy Griffith series, remember that one, where Opie killed the bird.

    I think a person might be obesessed by guilt especially in the case where he was the only survivor of a bad wreck, weren't there more than 200 men on board? That's like having everybody on a plane die because you opened the door. I can see where he would feel bad about it and want to tell how carelessness, if that's what it was, caused bad results.

    I loved Andrea's question of WHY an Albatross, why not a gull, a loon, a dove, a?????? Bird doesn't land on land to come to the mariner's hollo! Somebody wise in the ways of birds fill us in here! WHY an albatross??

    YiLi Lin: Shamans? That's a new one and a great analogy!! "shaman, particularly those of the tribes that board the canoe and travel to the spirit world. This shamanic practice is fraught with danger- those who return with the information necessary bring back the power to heal. "

    I know nothing of this, can you be watching thruout the poem and see if there are other parallels? That's marvelous!!!

    Robby I have found the perfect explanation for your lines of doggerel and the difference and I may not get them typed in here now but will tomorrow, weather permitting!

    What of the rest of you sailors, what are your thoughts on any of the questions or issues raised here?

    Cap'n Courteous

    betty gregory
    September 2, 2000 - 12:39 pm
    No, Ginny, I was saying that I try for a balance of perspectives---but often fail.

    September 2, 2000 - 12:43 pm
    Sorry, Betty, you posted as I was writing; I wanted to include you , too. I believe I read your post too hastily and will go back and read it again!

    Cap'n Flubber

    betty gregory
    September 2, 2000 - 12:45 pm
    That's ok, Cap'n.

    Doc Irritible

    September 2, 2000 - 01:02 pm
    captain ginny...says:

    "More than a few of our number have taught the Mariner AT ALL LEVELS. (caps mine) We will depend on them for their deeper knowledge of the hundreds of layers present, both in form and in theme."

    who, pray tell. what have i missed? how long do we have to wait for full knowledge?

    September 2, 2000 - 01:07 pm
    Fairwinds, I think maybe I should have stayed in bed today, hahahaa, I will go amend that immediately.

    I did not mean to imply that...well, whatever it implied, I'm sorry, I meant no harm.

    So I'll take that one out!

    Cap'n Foot in Mouth

    September 2, 2000 - 01:11 pm
    OK, have replaced the sentence quoted above with this one:

    "I hope that those who have some experience with some of the more arcane parts of the poem will help us out when I stumble here, so nobody misses a thing?"

    Cap'n Wrong Turn hahahahaa

    September 2, 2000 - 01:19 pm
    hahahahaha...while you're at it, take out the question mark, captain. we are looking for a leader who is Sure of herself.

    September 2, 2000 - 01:22 pm
    You need a leader who is sure of herself?

    You're sunk, Swabbie? hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Oh boy these long voyages really DO make one looney, don't they??? Duck bills, I'm still reeling over the duck bills. What did you DO with duck bills?

    Cap'n Question Mark

    September 2, 2000 - 01:28 pm
    Robby, here is an answer to your query over "The Little Shadow" poem: and it may be interesting to others, what are your opinions of this:

    Not all verse is poetry. For we do not call it poetry unless is involves some sustained multiple meaning. A verse that is a simple direct statement:

    Simple Simon met a pieman
    Going to the Fair.
    Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
    "Let me taste your ware,"

    is not yet poetry; it is metrical fiction. But when, however simple the verse-pattern may be, there is metaphor or simile, or a pervasive irony, or an emergent theme that is carried by the imagery, then there is poetry....

    Poetry, then, is fairly concentrated verse, verse rich in meanings.
    Theme and Form: "The Study of Literature."

    I like that?

    Cap'n Lightning

    September 2, 2000 - 01:30 pm
    chucked the duck beaks without remorse. and damned the indonesians who'd canned them. and decided to take a can opener with us next time so we could pay for and open anything strange before buying fifteen cans. space is so limited. we really felt stupid.

    the litchie (sp) nuts were great. slimy and too sweet but edible. but we only had two cans.

    Jerry Jennings
    September 2, 2000 - 02:54 pm
    We chucked the duck beaks without remorse,
    And damned the Indonesians who canned them,
    Then tied the Cap'n to a horse,
    With a Chinee cook behind him.

    Oh well.

    Shasta Sills
    September 2, 2000 - 03:03 pm
    Someone mentioned earlier that the Mariner is written in iambic tetrameter. That's da-DAH, da-DAH, da-DAH, da-DAH, right? It seems to me the lines alternate between four-foot lines and three-foot lines. ( What is a three-foot line called?) But I don't know how to scan meter so maybe I'm wrong. I sometimes wonder if poetry doesn't force language into an unnatural form, like a ballet dancer dancing on her tiptoes. But maybe that's not true. After all, the human heart beats in iambs, doesn't it?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 2, 2000 - 03:23 pm

    "Iambic Tetrameter (4-meter)

    [My love] [for you] [will al] [ways be,]

    This verse has four iambic feet.

    Iambic Trimeter (3-meter)

    [I kiss] [you in] [my dreams]

    This verse has three iambic feet.

    You can also have five iambic feet:

    Iambic Pentameter (5-meter)

    [Thus soon] [I'll need] [the warmth] [of your] [em brace]"

    September 2, 2000 - 03:44 pm
    Shasta---Yes, the poem is composed of four line stanzas made up of iambic tetrameter alternating with iambic trimeter (see Mal above).

    Let u= unstressed and / = stressed. An iamb = u/

    The second stanza scans well:

    The BRIDEgroom's DOORS are Opened WIDE u/ u/ u/ u/
    and I am NEXT of KIN u/ u/ u/
    the GUESTS are MET, the FEAST is SET u/ u/ u/ u/
    may'st HEAR the MERry DIN u/ u/ u/

    As with any meter, there are sometimes exceptions. But Coleridge stays very close to this model. You can beat out the four stress line followed by a three stress line on your fingers.

    Here's one more:

    it ATE the FOOD it NE'ER had EAT
    and ROUND and ROUND it FLEW
    the ICE did SPLIT with a THUNder-FIT notice extra unstressed syllable

    The easiest way to determine meter is to slightly exaggerate the line when you read it aloud with stresses. Listen for where they fall and how many there are.

    How many of you are now asleep??????

    ~Midn Maryal the Meterist

    betty gregory
    September 2, 2000 - 03:50 pm
    how MANy of YOU are NOW asLEEP.

    Not ME.

    September 2, 2000 - 03:54 pm
    Hi Betty! very good!

    September 2, 2000 - 04:21 pm
    Midshipmen and Docs better watch out for those wood beams!! Don't go knocking your heads I don't want to see you wind up in Belfrey hehehe I like to read narrative poetry for the imagery, the story next then catchs me (or doesn't and I quit reading it) and the rhythm is the rail upon which the train of the story is carried.letting me roll along into the poet's illusions. If I go to mark up the meter and the ryhme pattern with my ab aa ab aa etc then I dont think of meaning and or story while I am at that task. Robbie Burns himself denied he was a poet, just a versifier..
    I am nay poet,in a sense,
    but just a ryhmer like by chance,
    and hae to learn nae pretense;
    Yet, what's the matter?
    When e'eer my muse does on me glance,
    I jingle at her.
    from A Epistle to J. Lapraik by Robert Burns.

    Ella Gibbons
    September 2, 2000 - 06:03 pm
    To answer one question Ginny posed - back there aways - Mercy! one has to love to read and learn to get through this many posts in a day and I'm loving it; however, Ginny asked why the bird showed up, didn't she? It's getting late and I'm tired, but will make this brief.

    We have always fished Lake Erie in boats big and small! My husband is a fisherman from his youth and the seagulls always follow boats there because they know people throw out food and they are hungry. It has always been fun to tear up pieces of bread and throw them up in the air and the seagulls will catch them before they hit the water; sometimes they come frighteningly close. However, we have never had one land on the boat. The birds will eat most anything, but most of all they love the "leftovers" from cleaning the fish. This is not polluting the water as fish parts are a natural substance.

    I'm sure Fairwinds knows this from her experiences - but duckbills may not have been very familiar to the birds?? Did any dive for those?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 2, 2000 - 06:39 pm
    Ok here is what I learned about the possible reason the albatross was chosen. Feathered White, which we know is a color used celebrating many Christian holy days, a solo trekker as is our ancient, across the trackless ocean or for our Ancient the journey of..... (his soul?? don't yell at me) the albatross covers super-natural distances that during Coleridge's time they would not yet know the actual distance since it was only learned in the 1970s.

    A solo trekker the albatross finds its own way across the trackless ocean. On wings spanning two meters, these giant seabirds ride storms that would overwhelm most other living things.

    Designed for big winds, albatrosses cover almost super-natural distances simply by holding their long thin wings outstretched.

    A body about the size of a Canada goose, wings three times as long and only a third as wide, salt glands near the base of their bills enable them to drink saltwater.

    The mid-Pacific is albatross territory. They fly 40,000 kilometres in 90 days, back and forth between their nest sites on Midway Atoll and Tern Island in the mid Pacific and our west coast waters to the continental shelf. Gliding at 30 knots, three times the speed of a fast sailboat, they slice across the remote expanses of the ocean to feed at the shelf's productive edge and return to feed the chicks left on MIdway Atoll and tern Island.

    An essay about Melville that says: Sailors once called these birds goney or gooney (dumbbell) birds rather than by their name Albatross. It was considered a grave sin to harm these birds; yet, many were caught by sailors with baited hooks, in order to get their beautiful white feathers.

    In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, albatross feathers became the preferred style of the French millinery trade. So Japanese feather hunters landed on the birds' breeding islands and slaughtered them to sell their feathers for high fashion French hats. Historians estimate that more than five million were killed by collectors. The slaughter of albatrosses by feather collectors was finally stopped by Teddy Roosevelt.

    They were believed extinct in the 1940's. Since then, short-tailed albatrosses have crept back from the brink and now number about 1,000.

    September 2, 2000 - 07:45 pm

    September 2, 2000 - 08:02 pm
    The idea of a "canon" of the Great Books of the Western (Occidental as opposed to Oriental) tradition was first broached with a course at Columbia University in the 1920s. The course was called Classics of Western Literature; I've forgotten the name of the educator was taught it.

    This idea emigrated West to the University of Chicago in the 1930's. Robert Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer J. Adler taught a course at the downtown Chicago branch of the University; the course was mostly attended by businessmen who stayed in town for a few hours one night a week to attend it. It was known as the Fatman's Club, for the avoirdupois of the students, who were mostly in their 40s or 50s. Hutchins and Adler were struck by the interest of the students in the "classics"; the books to be discussed were chosen by the participants. They agreed, after 12 years of teaching the class that there was a strong unexpressed and interest in "average" folks in the Western classics. Eight years later, they produced the "Great Books of the Western World" collection, starting with Homer and ending with Freud. The ending point, or author, was chosen because Hutchins-Adler felt that it takes 50 years for a book to prove lasting. Adler also produced an acompanying "Syntopicon" of the 102 "Great Ideas" of thr Western world; this was a hefty two-volume listing, and cross-listing of the major ideas of the West from Homer to Freud.

    This grouping is still vital and strong today, despite the "dead white men" denigration of it. Therer has since been a 1990 revision, which received minimal attention.

    September 2, 2000 - 10:19 pm
    martindale...ahhh, so those brown books we bought as recent college undergraduates in the early sixties were a canon. we fell for our first salesman's pitch and paid for them every month on our meagre salaries. it seemed like such a good idea at the time. soon discovered that we owned every work of shakespeare withOUT the benefit of footnotes.

    jerryj...nice effort on the poetry...our boat was so small that we barely had room for ourselves, let alone an extra cook...and we can forget the horse.

    ella...we deep-sixed those little cans without opening them...the contents were so vile i don't think we ever considered pawning them off on the poor seagulls, only rarely around our boat...they could usually be seen about a mile offshore, dipping and diving behind a fishing boat coming into port.

    September 2, 2000 - 10:42 pm
    Here I am late and so many posts I will have to read to know what you are thinking. I apologize for arriving late...but my duffle bag is ready ..full of dramamin, sun lotion PF45( I am not called fair anna for nothing)and if the Tstorms will only cease I will read all the posts this weekend and re read the Rime so I can hopefully share some insight (unlikely but I will try) Long ago I did ask if albatross and gooney birds were one and the same and I am glad to find out they are. Mercy I just noticed my printer is printing ALL of the posts..it was my intention to just to print the questions...ah must stop it or I will run out of ink and paper..well it was too late it printed 8 pages I am not sure what but at least I dont have to worry about a storm to read whatever I have. Do we have plenty of provisions aboard?

    Ready to sail...anna from Virginia

    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 04:34 am
    martindale, we hope you stick around for our next Great Books discussion going into its fifth year now. (can that be right, Ginny?) We've done The Odyssey, Othello, Hard Times, Jude the Obscure, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Absalom, Absalom, Canterbury Tales....what else? Oh yes, lots and lots of footnotes. (Barb's been with us!) We haven't all agreed on the next, but would love to have you join us!

    ...and now fair anna, just in time! er, ah, provisions...well there are some tins with Tasmanian indications of contents...I'm sure we'll be pleasantly surprised!!!

    Barbara, thank you so much for the information on the Arbatross! This huge white, majestic bird, rarely ever seen on land, (by mortals) had built up quite a reputation among sailors who had seen him...and so when our Mariner hit the ice threatening to destroy the boat and the Albatross arrived at that very moment ...well, it seems Cooleridge made the obvious choice! No dove, no gull, would have been flying out there in that storm...
    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!

    Easy to imagine the terror of the crew! And their feelings when the arrival of the Albatross saw them through to sailing room...it must have been a near-religious experience, to say the least.

    The White Albatross

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 04:54 am
    Joan: That was a powerfully "strong" picture of the White Albatross, almost as if he (she?) were in the room with me. I didn't know they had black wings.


    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 05:12 am
    I can't tell from the photo if those wings are black, Robby. There are dark albatrosses, but these white-plumed birds were prized among "plume-hunters" in the 60's/70's...

    Yeah, it jumped at me too...that breast is a big target for Mariner's arrow, I think. The bird is so large, the size of a man? It isn't the same as Jonathan's bird with the slingshot...it is much more deliberate...intentional or something. I'm thinking now that the Mariner meant to kill the albatross for a reason! And it wasn't a difficult target, the bird was unaware, having enjoyed the adulation and friendship of the crew members. Did the Mariner share their feelings, or did he resent the fact that they attributed too much thanks to the bird's presence and not enough to his own ability to stay the course?

    September 3, 2000 - 06:20 am
    The killing of the Albatross was a man-thing. The Mariner had the weapon and there was the bird. So he killed it.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 06:33 am

    But all the rest of the crew were men, too!! And not only did they not kill the bird but they protested its being done.


    September 3, 2000 - 06:39 am
    They may not have had the weapon... The Mariner was in charge? a 1st Mate or Captain?

    September 3, 2000 - 06:40 am
    I found another picture of an albatross.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 07:26 am
    How interesting that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Travelers pay good money to visit Arctic and Antarctic waters where they can "ooh" and "aah" at the beauty of the icebergs. But the Mariner says that "through the drifts the snowy clifts did send a dismal sheen."


    September 3, 2000 - 07:34 am
    Love those photographs of albatrosses. They look something like a cross between a seagull and a duck--check out those feet. Only much, much larger. This is one BIG BIRD.

    Here is part of the entry on Albatross from the Encyclopedia Britannica:


    any of more than a dozen species of large seabirds that collectively make up the family Diomedeidae (order Procellariiformes). Because of their tameness on land, many albatrosses are known by the common names mollymawk (from the Dutch for "foolish gull") and gooney. Albatrosses are among the most spectacular gliders of all birds, able to stay aloft in windy weather for hours without ever flapping their extremely long, narrow wings. In calm air an albatross has trouble keeping its stout body airborne and prefers to rest on the water surface. Like other oceanic birds, albatrosses drink seawater. Although they normally live on squid, they also are seen to accompany ships to feed on garbage.

    Albatrosses come ashore only to breed. This activity occurs in colonies that are usually established on remote oceanic islands, where groups and pairs exhibit mating behaviour that includes wing-stretching and bill-fencing displays accompanied by loud groaning sounds. The single large, white egg, laid on the bare ground or in a heaped-up nest, is incubated by the parents in turn. The growth of the young albatross is very slow, especially in the larger species; it attains flight plumage in 3 to 10 months, then spends the next 5 to 10 years at sea, passing through several pre-adult plumages before coming to land to mate. Albatrosses live long and may be among the few birds to die of old age.

    Seamen once held albatrosses in considerable awe; they held that killing an albatross would bring bad luck, a superstition reflected in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." In spite of this superstition, the birds were often taken on baited hooks by sailors for meat. The foot web could be fashioned into a tobacco pouch, and the long hollow bones were used as pipestems. At one time professional plume hunters even raided breeding grounds. The North Pacific species were slaughtered in large numbers for their feathers, which were used in the millinery trade and as swansdown.

    Can you imagine having a tobacco pouch made out of an albatross' foot? I think I would make a fountain pen pouch instead.

    ~Midn Maryal

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 3, 2000 - 08:12 am
    There are two conflicting myths about albatrosses. One says they are a good omen. The other says they are a bad omen.

    I really wonder whether knowing the reason why the Ancient Mariner killed the albatross is important in an attempt to try and interpret the Rime. To me the important thing is the fact that he killed it.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 08:15 am
    Mal: And the fact that the other seamen attributed their bad luck to that action. That is often called "magical thinking." If I step on a crack and my grandmother indeed breaks her back, there is no doubt that there is a connection.


    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 08:24 am
    I don't know if it is important that we know the reason why the Ancient killed the Albatross, but clearly the reason or lack thereof is consuming the Mariner. That is what interests us and that is why we continue to look for the reasoning behind the deed!

    Interesting background stuff, Maryal. Confirms the fact that the albatross is a creature of the sky (the heavens?), coming down only to breed and not for long.

    The fact that the men are feeding this bird is indication of their attachment to him. No wonder they are dismayed at their captain! No doubt they want an answer to the question, WHY? as well - even before the spate of bad luck kicked in!

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 3, 2000 - 08:33 am
    In my opinion the "reason or lack of" is not what is "consuming the Mariner". He is distraught and behaves in a terrible, compulsive way because he did, indeed, kill the bird.

    Surely, if the "why" is important to the seamen, that will be revealed in succeeding parts of the poem.


    September 3, 2000 - 08:53 am
    The comments, the photos, and the EB info, certainly make the albatross an interesting and loveable creature. Are we agreed that killing an albatross is a cruel, or an immoral, or even a criminal act? Does its death justify the death of two hundred men? Were they accessories somehow, to the act? Does it justify the Mariner's agony? Is anyone aware of other accounts of dire consequences in nature following the killing of an albatross?

    The Storm-Blast got us into the world of ice and snow in a dozen lines. In reality, weeks or months? And with that a great need for something fresh. It has also been suggested that the mariners fed the albatross biscuit-worms. Were there extenuating circumstances?


    YiLi Lin
    September 3, 2000 - 08:55 am
    A number of thoughts-

    Mal- I think disagreeing in the sense that engenders further discussion is what these posts are all about. So I'd like to respond to a few of your points:

    -the purpose of writing- the purpose of writing (and therefore reading) often varies with the needs of both the writer and the reader. I do not deny that there is a craft involved here for good writing- but the notion of how one addresses themes, the characters used to get points across and the situations and events that explore meanings in life - are individual experiences for both writer and reader. It was not my understanding that we were discussing this poem only within the confines of historical academic literary critiques.

    -crime, punishment and redemption- now there's an interesting look at the work and perhaps a significant intention on the part of the author- but to me- the notions and events that suggest crime, punishment and redemption can occur in any individual life. crime is not necessarily a transgression of a social or legal norm- crime can also be a transgression against the self- and thus crime, punishment and redemption as with the Buddhist view of cause and effect is LIFE. This often is our journey. For me, I still like the idea that this poem is asking us to reflect on our individual journey.

    -frustrations as a writer- yes, I agree. however, an important aspect of writing for readers and then authorship is knowing that each reader will read from his/her experience or world view, especiall in fiction. Probably the most difficult challenge and sometimes amusing is writing non-fiction or even a factual news article and later surveying all the interpretations of the facts. Aahh sweet diversity- makes life so interesting and fun.

    Pat- love that "man thing" and of further interest to me is how the other people on board are caught up in anOTHER's action.

    Shasta Sills
    September 3, 2000 - 09:11 am
    I wonder why Coleridge added those prose comments to the poem. Most of them don't add any additional information, and the lines of the poem are perfectly clear without them.

    YiLi Lin
    September 3, 2000 - 09:11 am
    PS- cocktails at sunset a ladle of rum with a squeeze of lime- bring your own cup.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 3, 2000 - 09:17 am
    My posts are in no way meant to imply that I think my opinions about this Rime or any other literary work are the "right" one or what Coleridge or any other author intended. I am not self-important enough or bold enough to think this ever could be possible.

    As has been mentioned here, there are numerous ways to interpret this poem, and thousands upon thousands of interpretations have been done. I've read that the most popular interpretation is a more or less Christian one, that of the journey of the soul, an interpretation several people have mentioned here. My interpretation is different.

    Right at this moment I am going to steal away in the lifeboat called "Minority of One" and spend some time back in port.


    September 3, 2000 - 09:17 am
    More on Metrics-----For the most part Coleridge uses four line stanzas. Such stanzas belong to the ballad. However, in a long poem, one wants some variety. From time to time, Coleridge interjects six line stanzas to provide variety, a break from the pattern.

    The rhyme scheme is simple: a b c b-----only the short lines, the ones with three metrical feet in them (trimeter) rhyme.


    betty gregory
    September 3, 2000 - 09:35 am
    Why the albatross was killed is important, though. It's the hook and the collective "we" are hooked. The unthinkable, the unexpected catches us, then slowly, we're reminded of how it's more familiar (expected, thinkable) than at first glance. It's like a child. It's a "man-thing." We still don't understand it completely, but we've seen it.

    September 3, 2000 - 11:45 am
    Wow, what great posts here, and it does appear that everybody wants to move on to WHY the Mariner killed the bird. So with apologies to Annafair who has copied out the topics in the heading, let's add that quote and question, too. We've done a great job on some of the old ones.

    So was it just a "man thing," (love that, Pat). Could it be indicative of something else? Are men that much more irresponsible and impulsive than women?

    Joan P points out that in addition to the things we have learned from Fairwinds, the coming of the bird actually heralded a good turn of events, a change in fortune for the good, didn't it? They were in the ice, it growled and howled (surely not very pleasant sounds) and here came the bird, and what happened?

    The ice did split with at thunder-fit;
    The helmsman steered us through!

    Wow. That's kinda like the parting of the Red Sea, isn't it? The ice parted, a good south wind sprang up behind?

    The bird came when called, pretty tame, and then attended services, too:

    In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
    It perched for vespers nine;

    I was struck by the bird's attending church services, did you catch that one? Did you catch the VESPERS NINE?

    What does that mean? Vespers is not the ninth hour service? I thought it was the sixth canonical (there's that word again) service? What's going on here, I wonder?

    Anyway, here's the bird just like a person and what happens?

    Why look'st thou so?"---With my cross-bow
    I shot the Albatross.


    Quite an ending to Part I??

    So the question asked is why? For example, if the Mariner has no reason to shoot, why does he do it?

    Where does human malignity come from?

    Does every human act require a trangression, a breaking of harmony, as some have argued?

    Is there a possibility that an uncaused will to violence or desire to break away from "virtue" exists in persons who might think themselves basically decent?

    Wicked outbursts cannot always be blamed on upbringing, neighborhood, class or society, can they?

    What do you think of this statement? Agree or disagree???

    It is useful to know that "opposed opinions on human malignity already existed and were being debated suriong the Romantic period. Coleridge is not alone in finding that human beings are sometimes freely and deliberately evil and that original sin operates in each individual life as a moment of origination." ---Taylor

    Welcome aboard, Martindale!!

    We are delighted to see you here and enjoyed your post. Joan P is SOOO right, our Great Books are the jewel in our crown here in the Books and we invite you to pull up a hammock and keep some company with us here until they begin again.

    Cap'n Crunch

    September 3, 2000 - 12:15 pm
    Permission to come aboard, Midshipman Annafair, but you'll need to dry off below, methinks! Glad you remembered the sun tan lotion, what provisions did you think we might have on board, we've GOT tins of duck bills, what more would anybody want??

    Joan P, Pat W, Maryal, and Barb, thank you so much for the great information on the albatross and the photos, they are spectacular, what a beautiful bird MUCH prettier than the Dore engravings, a beautiful bird, must, as Joan P mentioned, have seemed like a vision coming out of the ice as it did, not to mention the result of its appearance on deck.

    YiLiLin: what a beautiful post, I agree that each of us will bring different experiences, and I love to hear other points of view. We have room for all points of view here, I love the way you put that. That was beautiful.

    Thank you, Mal, and Maryal for that great example of iambic tetameter and trimeter, and thank you Maryal for telling us about the rhyme scheme and the ballad form of this poem.

    One of my favorite things occurs in the first part and if I can just stay on long enough in this storm (AGAIN) to mention it, I sure will.

    But now thanks to Mal and Maryal we see that this poem is:

    In the form of a ballad:

    Which normally consists of stanzas of four lines each, traditionally alternating one line of iambic tetrameter ( 4 stresses to the line) with one of iambic trimeter (three stresses to the line) and of which the second and fourth lines rhyme. The rhyme scheme of these four lines is abcb, if you wanted to indicate it with letters. The second and the fourth lines rhyme with each other, that's pretty much it: pretty straight forward.

    Now why is all that important, and Faith wondered if it hampers the poet at all to have to confine himself to such strictures? Coleridge was very clever in his use of these boundaries, I hope we can see a couple of instances in a moment.

    Should we actually we call these stanzas quatrains, Maryal? Or is that word confined to another form? We can get up an HTML page here in the heading for reference for those of you who might like to learn these terms for the first time. A nice reference.

    You all have raised some excellent points, Jonathan and Joan P in particular on the death of the bird and I thought Robby raised a very important point with his "magical thinking." We cannot know at this point of the effect on the other mariners, as we're still in Part I, but we sure need to watch them closely in the next part, thanks for the head's up.

    Were those of you who read this poem for the first time shocked at the last two lines? Was that what you expected? What did you think was the cause, is there any hint whatsoever that the Mariner himself might be jealous of the bird's popularity or???? People are often jealous of the craziest things, even dogs that get attention. Could this be some kind of pent up anger?

    OK look at what Coleridge does here, it's very neat:

    You're going along in your bouncy iambic meter, de DAH de DAH de DAH de DAH,
    de Dah de DAH de DAH,


    And you come to these lines?

    The ship was cheered, the harbor cleared,
    Merrily did we drop
    Below the kirk, below the hill,
    Below the light-house top.

    "The shp was cheered, the harbor cheered:" de DAH de DAH, de DAH de DAH.....

    and then what happens?

    Merrily did we drop.

    Say that one. Merrily/ did we/ drop.

    See what Coleridge did there? He made the actual words, the actual meter drop, too.

    Merrily (3 syllables) did we (2 syllables) drop (1 syllable).

    So physically as well as in meaning the ship dropped out of sight.

    I love that, and I love Coleridge for doing it. I'm sure it has a name but I don't know what it is, but I love looking at it.

    Just so you don't miss it, Coleridge throws in anaphora for the first time, I think.

    Below the kirk, below the hill,
    Below the light-house top.

    The repeated use of the word below here to emphasize a point, is called anaphora. It's not a mistake or sloppy writing, it's pure confined cleverness.

    I love the man, myself, and am enjoying the discussion no end.

    Why do YOU think the Mariner killed the bird? Putting some new topics in the heading and some of your comments also.

    Cap'n Thrilled

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 12:19 pm
    How does Annie Oakley fit into the "man thing?" How do the pioneer women who killed various birds and animals fit into the "man thing?" How do all the women in the Revolutionary War who masqueraded as men fit into the "man thing?"


    September 3, 2000 - 12:29 pm
    I agree, Robby, no point in saying "It's just a guy thing." That is a little too easy. After all, as you point out, none of the other sailors shoots at the albatross. In fact, they are upset when the bird is killed. And they fed it and played with it. The albatross on land is a pretty tame bird and must have been on this ship as well. There is something--to me--more wrong about killing that which you have befriended than killing a wild bird.

    The mariner is not hungry, does not need a tobacco pouch made from bird foot, has no reason to kill the tame bird who has kept the sailors company and who may be a good omen. What he does is wrong. He acts thoughtlessly and quickly, or at least the action is quick in the telling.

    I'll throw Ginny's question out again---Where does evil come from? How do we explain it? Is this an evil act or a thoughtless one?


    Shasta Sills
    September 3, 2000 - 12:30 pm
    Taylor mentions original sin, and that is the thought that crossed my mind. The Mariner does not explain why he killed the albatross. Probably he does not know why he did it. At first, his shipmates thought it was a good thing to do; but when trouble descended upon them, they looked for somebody or something to blame. The human mind is committed to cause and effect. When something happens, we ask why it happened. When I was a child and the Catholic Church told me about original sin, I refused to believe it. No human could be born guilty; we had to do something wrong before we were guilty. As an old woman, I now believe in original sin and consider the Church very wise to try to deal with it. In psychology, it's called primordial guilt, and it comes with the genes. It's part of being human and it makes no sense at all. For me, this is what The Ancient Mariner is about. The terrible things that happen to human beings, and our efforts to justify them. We carry an albatross about our necks, and we try to figure out what we did to put it there. Did we shoot the thing? Did we commit some terrible sin that caused all our suffering?

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 12:56 pm
    I would guess off hand (and I could be most wrong about this) that there are those in this forum who say: "Oh, Robby is a psychologist and so he is naturally going to keep thinking and talking like a psychologist rather than examining a poem." From where I stand, however, whether as a psychologist or a human being, I find it necessary not only to look at the poem and its meaning (if it has one!!) but to also look at the poet. For example, what was there about Coleridge to begin with that he chose such a topic? Almost nothing happens in this life without there being a reason for it happening.

    I commented upon Mal's remarks earlier and now see Maryal and Shasta speaking of the psychological approach. To repeat Ginny's question: "Where does evil come from?" "How do we explain it?" And let's go past that. Was what the Mariner did actually evil? Is it part of being human? Does it come with the genes?

    From my point of view, the shooting of the Albatross was the actual start of the story, not the ship's voyage. Never mind why he did it! To me, that's almost irrelevant. The true story is the reaction of the seamen and the Mariner's later reaction.


    September 3, 2000 - 01:24 pm
    Robby---Yes, the shooting of the albatross is the real beginning of the story. Someone called it the "Hook," the incident that keeps us reading to find out what happened. Everything that happens from now on goes back to this one starting point. By the way, here too Coleridge is following typical ballad form where incidents occur quickly and have a powerful effect.


    September 3, 2000 - 01:47 pm
    shasta...for what it's worth, i don't believe in original sin or primordial guilt and certainly don't look at the ancient mariner as evil. he did something stupid and became a victim of OCD (now that obsessive compulsive disorder has a name i enjoy naming it).

    mal...we're sailing at ten knots...you can't get into the dinghy yet. we have to lower the sails first, put the dinghy into the water and you need to climb down the back of the stern. i've just made some hooch. may i offer you a cup?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 3, 2000 - 02:08 pm
    Never could refuse an offer like that, fairwinds, especially since I'm soaking wet and shivering with cold from trying to crawl in that there boat you call a dinghy. Gimme a blanket, too, would ya?

    Ahhhh, that tastes good. It burned all the way down. I'm warming up in hurry.

    Now that I'm no longer blue with cold and drying off a bit, I'll stick my neck out and my two cents' worth in again. Remember, this is my own personal opinion, which I guess I'm allowed to have as much as you are allowed to have yours.

    What the Ancient Mariner did was an unthinking, rash, impulsive act, nothing more or less. Haven't you ever in your life done something impulsively for no particular reason and regretted it afterwards? Sure you have. The angry reaction of the superstitious crew, their placing of the albatross around his neck, his feeling that he had gone against Nature, and the events that followed caused his OCD, especially the death of the crewmen and his total isolation with no hope of rescue. I love that OCD. Thanks, fairwinds.

    Impulsive behavior like this has nothing to do with original sin, primordial guilt or anything else. I suppose it could be a reverting back to a more primitive state, but how do I know? I do know it's happened to me.

    Why did Coleridge choose such a topic, Robby? Well, I'll tell ya. A neighbor of his had a dream about a ship manned by a crew of skeleton ghosts. That's where he got the idea. He and Wordsworth talked about it; the subject of albatrosses came up because Wordsworth had been reading about them, and off Coleridge went.

    The ghastly crew certainly worked well with Coleridge's fixation on things supernatural, which come into this poem like the woman who is death, whatever she's called and the various spirits on the ship. Don't ask me. I never claimed to be an intellectual.

    More hooch, fairwinds, my mug is empty and I've started to shiver again.


    Shasta Sills
    September 3, 2000 - 02:20 pm
    Fairwinds, I don't think of the Mariner as evil either. What I was trying to say is that he thinks he must have done something evil because so much bad luck descended on his ship. I think of Original Sin as an effort to explain the pervading sense of guilt that humans feel. I don't really believe the human race is born evil; but I think we are born ready to believe in guilt. I really shouldn't call that Original Sin, but the concept of Original Sin tries to justify this readiness to feel guilty.

    September 3, 2000 - 02:31 pm
    hmmmm, shasta. i think i understand this version better...and i'm reflecting on it. sometimes i think my heart is hardening. just the other day i posted in the democracy thread that labor day didn't mean a thing to me. and that made my heart feel hard...and maybe a tiny bit evil for not caring about celebrating with the workers of the world.

    malryn...here's another blanket. and some more hooch. i sure like your two cents worth.

    September 3, 2000 - 02:31 pm
    Welcome back, Mal! I think Robby's question #8 in the heading now and Jonathan's questions #5 and #7 are very good and I would be interested in hearing everybody's opinions.

    The nature of "evil," has been brought up. Was the Mariner actually evil or just careless, rash and impulsive?

    Have you ever seen a cross bow? Is that as easy to raise and fire as a slingshot or does it take a bit more effort? Why the cross bow?

    Do WE all agree (#7 above) that it WAS wrong for the Mariner to shoot the bird? It's just a bird right? Or was it? People shoot birds everyday but not pet birds. Not birds which come to church services.

    Is it important why the mariner killed the bird? Well, I guess that depends on your own take on the poem. My personal opinion is that I think for the Mariner it was very important.

    There is a good bit about the origin of the poem, Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Reader Supplied links in the heading? They are fascinating, why not take a moment to read them over?

    Cap'n Having Fun

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 02:37 pm
    Ginny: You give me credit in Question #8 but it was actually Shasta who pointed out that concept.


    September 3, 2000 - 02:46 pm
    OK, I will give Shasta the byline, thanks, Robby, great question, Shasta!

    The link to the Coleridge/ Wordsworth collaboration has mysteriously (skulduggery?) disappeared from the heading, I will contact the HTML Team and see if we can get it back up there, I wondered why everybody was not quoting it.

    Cap'n Quote

    September 3, 2000 - 02:47 pm
    ginny...there are scads of crossbows embroidered into the famous eleventh century tapestry of william the conquerer's invasion of normandy. it's on display in the city of bayeux, near where the allies landed in WWII. crossbows look Heavy. surely someone here knows what weapons were used during coleridge's time. i can't imagine why the crossbow was used or where it was stowed while sailing.

    September 3, 2000 - 02:51 pm
    While we're thinking about the cross-bow, what was that important battle (or war or campaign) that was won (I think by England) because they had crossbows and the other side didn't? I know that you can shoot an arrow further and with more deadly force with a crossbow than a plain one.

    Maybe it wasn't the English. Oh dear. . . . .

    September 3, 2000 - 02:52 pm
    fairwinds----maybe that's it---the Norman conquest. Which would mean that the Normans had crossbows and the English didn't.

    September 3, 2000 - 03:14 pm
    Ah the human condition. Guilt. IMHO there are many reasons ie: excuses. The mariner shot the albatross intentionally,to kill it for the sake of killing, He was careless of life itself. He had no feeling for the life force. Until he suffered in the throes of the death force that overcame the ship, ah, then his guilt would not let loose. Guilt for his crew of 200, tore at his throat and he could not stop talking about it. Of course poets have the license to exaggerate and that is why a hundred years later we are still wondering why he shot the albatross.As an illustration of what can happen when we ignore the "moral" laws of the universe this is a good story. As a Ghost story which The Author intended it to be, it lacks much. Fop

    September 3, 2000 - 03:21 pm
    ADM Fop, SIR---I like the way you put that--"careless of life itself"--yes, he was, wasn't he? Almost as if he had no idea of the value of life.


    Jerry Jennings
    September 3, 2000 - 04:00 pm
    In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve commit the most irresponsible and defiant act of which they are capable, eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evel, which God had specifically forbidden them to do. On the ship the Mariner similarly commits the most irresponsible and defiant act in his power, killing the Albatross, the one positive event on the whole fateful journey to this point. It is a wanton act of defiance that repeats mankind's earlier defiance in the Garden of Eden. But there is a powerful difference in the consequences of the two acts: the fall in the Garden leads to banishment to the land to the East (presumably forever?); the fall of the Mariner leads to redemption. Why is this? Why should the consumate act of defiance of the Mariner lead to redemption, while the similar act of Adam and Eve led to banishment?

    I think the answer is that a paradigm shift in religious belief occurred (at least among some) between the two events: the vengeful God of the Old Testament was replaced with the redemptive God of the New. In the New Testament, the wanton killing of Jesus led, through His resurrection, to the redemption of mankind. As a thoroughly Christian thinker, Coleridge would have been among those who made this shift from a vengeful to a redemptive God.

    How does this work out for our poem? I submit that the Albatross is Jesus. Coleridge himself makes the connection between Jesus and the Albatross, "Instead of the Cross, the Albatross / About my neck was hung" (lines 142-3). We need only push this thought a little further to see that since the Albatross was hung about the Mariner's neck, then the Mariner must represent the Cross. Fairly standard symbolism identifies the Cross with the world, or more precisely, Sinful Man.

    Thus it is easily seen that (I love that phrase!) Coleridge's poem parallels the crucification story of forgiveness and redemption, not the Old Testament story of punishment and revenge. Again, it's the old, old story. If we are unhappy that the Mariner is not punished as we wish, perhaps we are too hung up on the Old Testament. If we can't break that hangup, then remember that "'The man hath penance done, / And penance more will do'" (408_9).

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 3, 2000 - 04:09 pm
    Rather than symbolizing Jesus, I sincerely believe the albatross symbolized Nature. Remember that Wordworth was fervently interested in Nature. In fact, part of his role in the collaboration with Coleridge on the writing of the Ancient Mariner was to bring in verse about Nature, while Coleridge's job was to focus on the supernatural. When Wordsworth left the collaboration, Coleridge continued on a similar route.

    This is my opinion only, based on some research, but I do not believe this is a religious or Christian motivated work. I believe one reason it has lasted so long through history is because its "message" is universal and applicable to Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists and others. It is directed toward all of humanity, not just one particular group. Robby said something like this in a previous post.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 3, 2000 - 04:47 pm
    Jerry is certainly entitled to his Christian beliefs but I cannot see any connection between the poem, "The Ancient Mariner," and the Garden of Eden or the Crucifixion or sin or the Old Testament or the New Testament.

    I continue to say, as Mal reminds us, that the story here -- whether it is merely a story or whether it has a moral -- is applicable to all human beings of whatever religion or to human beings who have no religion at all.

    Each of us is entitled to our own interpretation of any form of art but that does not necessarily mean that our interpretation is what was in the mind of the artist.


    September 3, 2000 - 04:57 pm
    I disagree with Jerry's Christian symbolism. I think though that I better wait until we get to section two of the poem to state my case.

    Oh, and I agree with Mal. The meaning is broader than one religion's take on sin/ wrong action.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 05:07 pm
    We may be jumping ahead speaking to the hanging of the Albatross around the mariners neck but that so reminds me of that movie some years ago where the Jesuit missionary (famous actor cannot remember his name nor the name of the movie) at any rate, the priest, a new missionary to the Indians, is climbing through the mountains of South American, I believe Brazil with this load of garbage tied to himself. Only after he cuts the rope is he able to proceed and do God's work as he understands it.

    I cannot pull out the shooting of the albatross as the beginning. For me I agree it is the crisis or it could even be the change from one world to another, as a fantasy story uses that devise but for me the beginning is the safe harbor that the mariner full circle returns.

    OK with the concept we all see things differently and not to be disagreeing - please to each his own here - For me trying to explain away each incident is like the many who take the Bible Literally - many do and are comfortable with that approach - for me the Bible stories are parables at best and like Joseph Campbell's writes, I see the Bible as the Christian mythology.

    This poem gives me a similar message as some of the poems of St. John of the Cross, a fifteenth century mystic. For me the poem is like a parable and many of its phrases are part of our mythology.I have many thoughts-- here goes.

    Why the word ancient to describe the Mariner rather than old and the skinny hand? The hand reminds me of the 'grim reaper.' Could the guest feel the fear of that hand and therefore be responding with fear masked as anger? "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

    The guest chosen is one of three.
    The number one symbolizes unity, the beginning, the sum of all possibilities, the essence.

    Where as three symbolizes: Multiplicity; creative power; growth; forward movement overcoming duality; synthesis; the first number that all can be appropriated; the beginning, middle and end; the Trinity; the three phases of the moon; heaven, earth, water, the union of body and soul in man and in the church; even Maryal's crime, punishment, redemption with crime being the concept of sin. The Chinese see Three, a yang number, meaning sanctity.
    The Catholic church is One, Holy, Apostolic. Is the mariner the apostle, the guest one and the albatross holy?

    The guest sits on a stone, not a bench or step nor does he stand. A stone which is durable, static, and symbolically marks some sacred place or event, the sure foundation or rock on which is described as the basis on which the church is built. Where as to the Chinese stones are a fertility symbol.

    The "ship was cheered, the harbour cleared" like a life entering a new phase just as we cheer and clear a couple symbolicaly from their parental ties at a wedding ceremony. These sailors are embarking on a new life "below the Kirk" and "below the light-house." We often use the symbol of a light-house as the directional light to God.

    The next bit talks of the sun-- the divine essence of man, the natural supreme power, the heart of the cosmos. Not the artificial, man made although, representative of ‘the way’ as is the light-house but, the almighty natural power of the sun coming up out of the sea, a place of chaos with the potential for rough waters and danger.

    Than I got the picture of the ancient telling how higher the sun at noon is over the mast like the host raised by a priest and the guest beats his breast as those in attendance at the consecration of the host, beat their breast as saying the Agnus Die three times. ( Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world; have mercy on us)
    The rose is a complex symbol both heavenly perfection and earthly passion, Time and Eternity, fertility and virginity, typifies secrecy. The red rose is desire, passion, joy, beauty, consummation, flower of Venus and the blood of Christ.
    Paced into the hall is she being sacrificed, led by the minstrels playing and the guest again beats his breast as those at mass honor the sacrifice of Christ.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 05:08 pm
    Then this whole ominous bit describing the cold and ice storm-- as the whole universe is in a piece of sand, to me this is describing the mariner's inward self, as each of us is a reflection of the universe. His feelings are frozen and filled with anxiety. The iceberg is deep beneath the still sea of chaos.

    The frozen "emerald" green icebergs go deeper than what is observable from a ship. Ice, this hardness of heart that goes deep and is like feeling dead.

    And than this great bird comes through the fog. (Fog-- God's hand shielding from the light) The bird ”as if a Christian soul.” A Christ like soul-- a soul of mercy and love. The bird is greeted “in God's name.”

    The hallo-wed bird that came to eat “food it had not ever eaten.” If you become what you eat than this Christian soul becomes like the souls of the sailors, filled with anxiety and friendship but also, with the deep frozen feelings of the mariner.

    The bird flys round. Round symbolizes the round of all phenomenal existence, ceaseless change and becoming held by the Lord of Death.

    "The wind sprung up behind." Almost like the old Irish proverb about the wind at your back and being in heaven before Peter finds out.

    In all weather, partly hidden in mist or cloud and on various parts of the ship the bird perches.
    1. A ship-- that can convey to other shores or realms;
    2. "on mast"-- a symbol of the Tree of Life;
    3. perches "at night"-- the night precedes rebirth, a time of disintegration;
    4. "glimmering in the Moon light"-- the moon controls destiny and fate, brings change, suffering and decay representing mans condition on earth.
    In this foreboding atmosphere someone, not the Mariner cries out--
    "God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee
    Why look'st thou so?"

    Fiend: an evil spirit, a devil, demon. Satan; an intensely malicious or wicked person with a cruel diabolical spirit; an enemy or foe; on unduly devoted to some theory or adept at something; or morbidity addicted to some deleterious habit like the use of a narcotic drug.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 05:09 pm
    The killing of the Albatross I see no different than someone in a family for instance that losses himself to drugs or alcohol or another addiction. They are killing their connection with themselves, their spiritual self. They are acting out of their need and their addiction is temporarily making them forget that great need. Like the mariner is no different than the other sailors, the addict is no different than the others in the family and yet, the addict starts down a road of self-destruction that may take a long number of years before they are in safe harbor again. They successfully seperate themselves from their authentic selves or distance themselves from their soul.

    They not only kill off a piece of themselves but, their subsequent behavior satisfying their need affects the rest of the family. They may isolate while under the influence or become the martyr or even the scapegoat for all the family's woes as the mariner becomes the scapegoat to the lack of power that allows the other sailors to reach their goal.

    Or as Robby reminds us of the old childhood saying, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." If they mother were to brake her back and everyone looked hard at the child who sang the rhyme the child becomes a scapegoat for what was not determined by the child's actions or words.

    I see the guilt of the ancient as self imposed and supported by the other sailors eyes.

    Ella Gibbons
    September 3, 2000 - 06:27 pm
    Perhaps if I were listening to a lecture about this poem, I could understand all of these aspects to it, but being a factual person as opposed to a romantic, I have a few questions for the Cap'n.

    Why was there a crossbow on board? What need was there for weapons of any kind? What was the purpose of this voyage anyway. Were they to discover new lands, catch whales, what?

    Men have been killing for centuries, long before Coleridge's time - all the way back to the beginning of recorded time. Often it was for food and often just for the sport of it. Why was it so unusual for the Mariner to pick up a weapon and shoot the albatross? It was a sport, perhaps he was showing off??? And why do we assume there was plenty of food onboard - perhaps he wanted fresh meat for dinner.

    Of course, I know these questions are too simplistic; still I wonder. If a feeble old fellow had stopped to tell me this sordid tale, I would have asked him all of the above.

    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 06:59 pm
    And was the feeble old fellow an old fellow when he committed the act? For some reason, I feel he was young to be out on such a mission...what was the mission, Ella?...Where was he going, trying to go? Did he seek out the young man, the wedding guest, simply because he was a young man, who might provide some understanding, some insight as to why he would have done such a thing so long ago?

    And look at the young man, sitting on the rock, with his head slumped to his chest! He wants to be at that wedding. Why doesn't he just go? What could the old Mariner be saying to him that compels him to listen? The glittering eye, stunning him to submission - or is it something else? Have they a previous relationship? Is that the reason the younger man is missing the wedding, or the toasts? He owes the time to the Mariner?

    I'll say here that I have not read this poem for forever and a day, and don't remember anything about it...but from the number of you who continue to speak of later Parts, it is clear that we are not to find the answers we seek...and that's too bad, but I plan to continue to search anyway.

    Ella Gibbons
    September 3, 2000 - 07:08 pm
    Joan, I might sit and listen out of respect for the poor old feeble fellow - didn't you get the feeling that the young man was very impatient but felt he must be kind? Are the young still kind to the old today - I can answer that in part. I've had doors opened for me kindly by young people and helped a time or two that I believe had to do with my age (even though I didn't need the help and inside I was resentful of the kindness, but grateful) - yes, people are still kind to older folks.

    As you say, perhaps the ancient one is seeking understanding from a younger person? You think the age of each has something to do with this encounter?

    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 07:14 pm
    I'm still trying to figure it out, Ella! I do know that if MY SISTER were getting married and a total stranger stopped me on the steps, I'd NOT sit down and listen to him tell a story, no matter how old. Am I just not as respectful as you are? You are really a nice person, Ella!

    Ella Gibbons
    September 3, 2000 - 07:28 pm
    No, I'm not that nice either, Joan. How do we know it was his sister? The book is in another room, I thought it was a wedding guest. I'll look later. I remember the festivities were going on behind the young man.

    Joan Pearson
    September 3, 2000 - 07:35 pm
    No, I meant MY SISTER, KAY, whose wedding I did miss too, but for a different reason. I understood the young man to be "next of kin" to the bridegroom...but may be wrong...it is vague.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 08:30 pm
    The killing of the albatroos is the vehicle to addressing the mariner's fiend.

    Who calls out to the mariner?
    "God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee"

    Then the voice says,
    Why look'st thou so?"
    What are the mariner's fiends? How was the mariner looking? Angry, rageful, fearful, confused, astonished, something about the reminder to the mariner about his 'fiends' makes him look in a way Coleridge does not described to us. In response to this prayer to God to save him from his fiends the mariner has a look and shoots the Albatross.

    If we are looking for cause and effect-- the cause is the reminder of his fiends-- The effect is an indescribable look followed by, the mariner shooting the bird. Is it the bird that speaks? who speaks?

    From that part of the poem onward till his return to the kirk the poem has all the earmarkings of a fantasy or super-natural tale.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 09:20 pm
    Maryal how can you tell who is speaking? This is what I have and I am trying to figure out how I could tell it was the wedding-guest that spoke - it all appears to be of one piece.
    In mist or cloud, on mast or
    It perched for vespers nine;
    Whiles all the night, through
    fog-smoke white,
    Glimmered the white Moon-shine.

    "God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee
    Why look'st thou so?"--With my
    I shot the ALBATROSS.
    The versus preceding these all seem to be spoken by the mariner also. It sure makes sense if it is the guest speaking and the
    --With my cross-bow I shot the albatross.
    all on the same line without a breath between "Why look'st thou so?" would be like the part that speaks of the ice between. No room to feel-- just a quick answer about what he did in response to being reminded of his fiends and the subsaquent look.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 09:37 pm
    OK so than his fiends would have to be associated with what happens after he shoots the Albatross??

    September 3, 2000 - 09:46 pm
    ...damme it's cold up here tonight...more rime on the ropes than in my heart. I'm shivering with cold...while YiLi Lin serves the rest of you drinks. Sick to my stomach, hanging over the raging billows...without any sea legs, being offered help to get four, six, eight, and sometimes a tricky three feet to work in metrical harmony ...getting agitated over a dead bird...listening to a crazy old man, who has been found to be a walking, talking OCD...wondering if there's a moral to a lot of gothic improbabilities... get real!

    You say that soon we will be leaving the real world? Oh, yeah? Oh,yeah! When do we get to see the red gossamer sails in the sunset!?... and the snakes made to look seductive in the moonlight!? Oh, boy! am I going to have a tale to tell!

    By the way, that wasn't an albatross, really, that was shot down...just someone's pet theory...I hope that I'll be allowed my symbols... all perfectly legal, by one with a poetical license... by one who is about to ask us to do an enormous 'leap of imagination'... because truth lies in that direction... must be some of that new Romantic nonsense.

    Parting of the Red Sea! Indeed! G'vald! Cap'n Ginny, you got a license?

    ah, i must fill the bird-feeder outside my window...strange, that i should never be allowed to forget that

    thank you one and all for today's amazing, thought-provoking posts.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 09:48 pm
    Ok I understand that but I think I have to give this a bit more thought because those happenings somehow I want to fit the definition of Fiend that I found in the dictionary.
    Noun 1. evil spirit; demons 2. the Devil; Satan 3. a diabolically evil or wicked person 4. One who is addicted to somethig a dope fiend 5. One who is completely absorbed in or obsessd with a given job or passtime a crossword puzzle fiend 6. One who is particularly adept at something a fiend with computers

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 3, 2000 - 10:03 pm
    Shoot Jonathan and where are you sailing tonight that you are shivering with cold? After a day that hit 109 again there is no shivering in these parts and like stepping on the crack I keep thinking if I get this poem down maybe the gods will look favorably and send a cool breeze along with some-- water, water everywhere, if I float out to sea, that bird will sing and I will fling my AC bill yippee

    September 3, 2000 - 10:46 pm
    A poem about Grog

    While sailing once our Captain
    who was a jolly dog,
    One day sarv'd out to every mess a double share of grog,
    Ben Backstay he got tipsy all to his hearts content,
    And being half-seas over why overboard he went,
    A shark was on his larboard
    sharks don't for manners stand,
    But grapple all that they come near like lawyer-sharks on land,
    We threw out Ben some tackling of saving him in hopes,
    But the shark he bit his head off so he couldn't see the ropes,
    Withou a head 'is ghost appears all on the briny lake,
    He piped all hands ahoy and cried 'Lads, warning by me take',
    By drinking I lost my life so lest my fate you meet,
    Why never mix your liquor lads but always drink it straight,

    Click here to go back to Nelson and his Navy


    Unless otherwise stated all text and images are copyright The Historical Maritime Society 2000

    So me pretties, beware of grog with 3 waters. And take a tot of this Admirals reserved grog up to the Crows Nest for our stowaway. Goodnight to all.Adm'l Fop

    September 4, 2000 - 05:38 am
    Friends, the Cap'n who does have a license has only four things to say this morning:

  • We are still in Part I, could we please confine our observations to what happens in Part I, just for a little while longer?

  • If you are interested in how Coleridge came to write the poem, please check Wordsworth on how the poem came to be written: in his own words

  • It's somewhat evident to me that some of us are skipping a lot of posts, could we try to read what others have said also? I believe it would avoid duplication of points that others have already made. This is a conversation.

  • I think everybody here is entitled to whatever interpretation or lack of interpretation they choose to put on the poem, to use research or scholarship or not to use it, as they so choose, without any recrimations? I personally always want to know all I can, I KNOW WHAT I THINK, I want to hear something different. Let's be careful not to dump on any one theory or any one process here?

    Cap'n Back in a Moment, Who wants to read the 30 new posts carefully.
  • patwest
    September 4, 2000 - 05:45 am
    Martindale... You have been assigned to the crew and and the Roster can be seen here.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 05:57 am

    Wordsworth's comments (from your link) place a whole new perspective on the poem - for me, at least. Wordsworth was right there while the poem was being conceived and knew his thoughts or those of Coleridge or the combination of the two.

    1 - "Tutelary spirits" -- The terrible things that happened after the "crime" (as it was defined) were caused by those spirits that hovered in that area and protected natural beings such as albatrosses.
    2 - "Dead men" -- they were not under the influence of opium or any other drug and their actions while being dead were made possible through the power of the protective spirits.

    So if you will permit me to be a Psychologist for a moment, the Ancient Mariner was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This comes about from having gone through an extremely stressful event often involving death and, as a result, constantly having flashbacks. The PTSD sufferer goes through this pain often for years and receives a degree of relief from sharing with others. And believe me!! The PTSD sufferer CAN hold the listener spellbound as he goes through his experiences! He holds him spellbound because he is actually re-living the experience, not just reciting it from memory.

    Maybe Coleridge (and Wordsworth) didn't know that term or its cause but the syndrome has existed for centuries and they may have been acquainted with it.

    The more I read the poem and the more I read Wordsworth's comments, the more I am convinced that this is a class case of PTSD being presented in poetic form.


    Joan Pearson
    September 4, 2000 - 06:00 am
    Aha! So that's how the "albatross" was chosen, as opposed to another type of bird. Very, very good choice of bird, Mr. Wordsworth! Thanks for the link, Capn. We were so busy with preparations below deck, there was no time for adequate perusal of the good information above.

    Yes, there are many interesting interpretations of the poem in yesterday's posts. Jonathan, you are a hoot! Come down from the crows' nest for a break, sir! You'll catch a death of cold up there! You are so right, there is so much information given here, that ultimately, we will each have to choose what the poem means to us, according to our own perspective. No one else can do that for us......not even Cooleridge!

    Can we talk about the "rime" in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner... and Coleridge's choice of title? One of you, Jonathan? caused me to stop and think about that.

    And in answer to your question, yes, I agree that the shooting of the albatross was cruel, immoral and well, maybe not criminal, unless there was a law protecting the species...

    Robby, your perspective is very clear-cut. Will keep an eye on that as we move forward...

    September 4, 2000 - 06:23 am
    The information in the link came from one of my earlier posts, #162, to be exact, on August 18.

    Cap'n Caffein Deprived, pass the grog, Admiral FOP, the Stowaway is not in the Crow's Nest, he's not yet made an appearance!

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 06:26 am

    Yes, now that you remind us, I remember that. But I was not thinking too carefully that day. I either needed more sleep or a psychologist.

    Have a Happy Labor Day!!


    Joan Pearson
    September 4, 2000 - 06:26 am
    Some of us are slothful laggards, sir! Does that excuse us from swabby duty?

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 06:28 am
    I didn't know that a First Mate was allowed to be a slothful laggard. Cabin Boys don't have occupational specs.


    Jerry Jennings
    September 4, 2000 - 06:39 am
    Like many other works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" harks back to earlier, usually hoary stories and myths. Greek mythology and the Bible are common sources of structure for even contemporary writers. Eurora Welty, still living but not writing, I think, is a good example of a writer who uses deep structure on occasion. See for example her stories "The Worn Path" or "Why I Live at the P. O."

    I would argue that Coleridge's deep structure for the "Rime" is the Christian story, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Although one usually cannot identify a one to one correspondence between all of the events or symbolism of the earlier deep structure and the events and symbols of a text under examination, the earlier plot structure, actions, and even characters can often be discerned.

    As to the problem of moving ahead in the poem, I think that is sometimes impossible to avoid. After all, the various parts of the poem are not isolated from each other, but closely interrelated. To discuss one part, it is often necessary to make connection with a part that may come later. Poems are not straight linear texts with each event dismissed as it is related; rather the parts interrelate and at times may even become recursive.

    In the meantime, I'm going to continue working out the deep structure, because this is what adds so much depth to the poem.

    September 4, 2000 - 06:48 am
    Many people, Jerry, think the Christ Crucified analogy does not hold out till the end, it will be interesting for us to look at it closely when we get there.

    You can post as you wish, but I think it's unfair to those who have not read beyond Part I to refer to things which have not yet happened, let's let everybody make up their own minds. I agree it's hard to take it in parts, but that's how it was written. Not everybody agrees with Robert Penn Warren, and I'm not saying for now who I think is right, only that you have the right to your opinion and I want to see, at the end, if the analogy holds.

    I am glad you are here, and I look forward to your remarks! But I still want to continue with the facts we have before us, there is a lot we have not looked at in Part I that does matter.

    Cap'n Reasonable

    YiLi Lin
    September 4, 2000 - 08:31 am
    human malignity?- i believe comes from within our individual selves, often eminating from ego, attachments and desires. when one or the other is thwarted it engenders fear and we employ to adapted survival instincts. these instincts are not always based on simple need to survive- man struggling to overcome an unseen force or event- often we socialize our instinctual drives and harm others.

    is it universal- this may not be a popular opinion, but i don't think so. i think we see more human malignity because violence and other ego driven behaviors (including definitions of success in modern wester cultures) have become acculturated into modern society. yet i strongly believe each human act is based on choice. there's a long history of humans who act as nature intended- these are not necessarily special people- but people who had either the courage to honor their innate character or the wisdom to understand that human nature is inherently benign. (i acknowledge that sometimes a benign choice leads to physical peril or even death, but there is still choice)

    is this all a product of environment- i don't think in every case, there are too many documentations of various sensory system dysfunctions that lead to unique perceptions of the world which at a neurochemical level often engender violence- or if not- sure add to that person's frustration and without compassion and love often spend lives railing against the rest of nature. aha- is there choice here?

    The Ann Taylor quote reminds me that so much of modern history and the cultural depiction of it (poetry, art, etc.) is based on the judeo-christian dogmas eminating from a male-dominant cosmology. Too me the invention of original sin was an excuse for man's trangression- a weakness in the individual character or an historical perspective based on an external locus of control. 'Geraldine' says it best,"...the devil made me do it."

    Human existence in some cultures accepts that our time here is fraught with pain and suffering- the measure of the man (woman)is the ability to transcend that suffering and create an inner happiness through one's actions and good deeds. I think if we look at the cultural and social developments that occurred in leaps and bounds from the Roman era to the present we see that it almost became a moral imperative to exonerate those in power and we did this by creating evil (often nature itself) and either sanctifying those who conquered evil or providing a scapegoat for those chosen who succumbed. We certainly needed an excuse for the Inquisition!

    (I truly value these thought provoking questions you present.)

    YiLi Lin
    September 4, 2000 - 08:33 am
    "I hate common humanity. This oafish crowd which tramples the ground whence my cloud-capped pinnacles might rise. I am tired of humanity- beyond measure. Take it away. This gaping, stinking, bombing, shooting, throat-slitting, cringing brawl of gawky, under-nourished riff-raff. Clear the earth of them!" --Professor Keppel in H.G. Well's "Star Begotten"

    Shasta Sills
    September 4, 2000 - 08:53 am
    I told a friend of mine that he should join the book discussions on Senior Net. He said, "How can you have a discussion on a computer?" I said, "It ain't easy; you have to talk fast." When you log off, the discussion goes on without you, like a fast-moving river, and when you log on again a couple of days later, they've brought up 15 different fascinating topics, and you missed the chance to put your 2 cents in.

    I think it's an indication of the power of this poem that it brings out so many profound observations from so many different people.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 4, 2000 - 08:59 am
    YiLILIn what a fabulous quote - that one I plan on copying and pasting on my door. Yes, I have a Zooey door.

    To describe the act of shooting the albatross after the fact to me is to react based on the reaction to that shooting that Coleridge employs. Was the act itself thought out as that cruel or did it only become cruel because of the reaction to the act?

    I can't help think of how Innocuous we believed we were taking Bayer asperin during WW2 never dreaming we were supporting the Nazi war mashine or the concentration camps. Now we are trying to justify dropping the bomb that at the time seemed the logical thing to do. After the fact with other information we learned we had other options.

    Years ago boys used to carry sling shots and aim at birds, any animal or snake not thought desirable was shot by farmers and ranchers without too much thought. The western relationship with the enviornment has been one of aggression and control. The romantics were a 'back to nature' group. Yes, with a veneration attitude rather than 'what can we do' to preserve nature.

    Is this just another example of a typical reaction to-- 'there is something to shoot and as sailors we know it could be bad luck but this bird is circling, I am feeling spooked with all this frozen sea and I need to let off some steam and besides the feathers are great, we all collect them'-- with the ramifications to his shooting making it more the crime than what he actually did.

    If we all do shoot birds at sea than YiLiLin's quote is so right. Personally I think there are many things we all do without much thought till it turns around and bites us someplace.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 09:03 am

    "You have to talk fast." I love it!! Now I know why I am often glued to the computer. Not because I am addicted but because a dozen of you might be saying something and I am not there to catch it.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 09:08 am

    "You have to talk fast." I love it!!


    September 4, 2000 - 11:01 am
    I'm going to post Part I as it originally appeared in the 1798 edition of Lyrical Ballads. As, I think it was Jerry, pointed out, Coleridge continued to polish this poem. The differences between this original published version and the one we are reading interest me. One thing I notice is that Coleridge originally used archaic spelling, even for "ancyent", thus making the word even older.

    Yet some stanzas remain as they first were, the one about setting out and dropping below the Kirk, the hill, the lighthouse top remains as it was in the beginning.

    If it doesn't post in one post, I'll try to break it up.

    September 4, 2000 - 11:05 am
    It is an ancyent Marinere,
    And he stoppeth one of three:
    "By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
    "Now wherefore stoppest me?

    The bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
    "And I am next of kin;
    "The Guests are met, the Feast is set, --
    "May'st hear the merry din.

    But still he holds the wedding-guest --
    There was a Ship, quoth he --
    "Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
    "Marinere! come with me."

    He holds him with his skinny hand,
    Quoth he, there was a Ship --
    "Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
    "Or my Staff shall make thee skip.

    He holds him with his glittering eye --
    The wedding guest stood still
    And listens like a three year's child;
    The Marinere hath his will.

    The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
    He cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent man,
    The bright-eyed Marinere.

    The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd --
    Merrily did we drop
    Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
    Below the Light-house 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.

    Higher and Higher every day,
    Till over the mast at noon --
    The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
    For he heard the loud bassoon.

    The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
    Red as a rose is she;
    Nodding their heads before her goes
    The merry Minstralsy.

    The wedding-guest he beat his breast
    Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
    And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
    The bright-eyed Marinere.

    Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
    A Wind and Tempest strong!
    For days and weeks it play'd us freaks --
    Like Chaff we drove along.

    Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
    And it grew wond'rous cauld:
    And Ice mast'high came floating by
    As green as Emerauld.

    And thro' the drifts the snowy clifts
    Did send a dismal sheen;
    Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken --
    The Ice was all between.

    The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
    The Ice was all around:
    It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd --
    Like noises of a swound.

    At length did cross an Albatross,
    Thorough the Fog it came;
    And an it were a Christian Soul,
    We hail'd it in God's name.

    The Marinere gave it biscuit-worms,
    And round and round it flew:
    The Ice did split with a thunder-fit;
    The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.

    And a good south wind sprung up behind,
    The Albatross did follow;
    And every day for food or play
    Came to the Marinere's hollo!

    In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
    It perch'd for vespers nine,
    Whiles all the night thro' fog-smoke white
    Glimmer'd the white moon-shine.

    "God save thee ancyent Marinere!
    "From the fiends that plague thee thus --
    "Why look'st thou so?" -- with my cross bow
    I shot the Albatross.

    September 4, 2000 - 11:53 am
    Greetings from the Stowaway:

    I have been on board from the start of the journey and have enjoyed all the various interpretations,whether theological or allegorical.

    To offer a different perspective,I paraphrase two people:

    (1)Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

    (2) A poem is a poem is a poem

    If STC wrote this as a pure narrative,as a series of statements which inform us that certain events occurred in sequence,it would be of no interest unless you were interested in reading a ship's log.

    Since narrative poems have been told and written for all ages,then probably the most permanently interesting thing in the world is people in action and the tale of the A.M. shows us HUMAN experiences that are permanently interesting.

    There is no question that the A.M. has definite individuality and, in my view, this is what gives the poem its dramatic interest.The combination of a unique person and the dramatic element of this poem,come together,in varying proportions,to make a poem of a person in action.

    From my perspective,to constantly analyze or to look for something that may NOT be there,leads to a lot of wheel-spinning and perhaps some personal pique.

    T.S.Eliot once remarked that emotion is evoked by'objective correlatives,' which may be'a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events.'

    For me,in this poem,the emotion of the poet (whom I perceive to be the narrator) is a part of the experience that we should re-create.

    And now, I retreat back to my hiding place to have my meal of sauerkraut,which was used on Captain Cook's triumphant second voyage in 1772..when he found out that the pickled cabbage prevented scurvy,because of its high content of Vitamin C and it could be stored (without spoilage) for the entire journey. The use of sauerkraut proceeded,by a number of years,the use of lemons & limes to prevent scurvy.

    September 4, 2000 - 01:15 pm
    Ah, lookee there, our Stowaway makes his first appearance with yet another perspective, too. I hope we can all remember or somebody is taking notes on the different perspectives here, I think it will be interesting. Doth the Stowaway know of the side effects of sauerkraut? hahahahaha Watch out down there, by the way, where ARE you hiding, Stowaway, I was just down there and didn't see you!

    For those of us who do want to look at what's here tho, let's proceed, Shasta, thanks so much for telling your friends about us, I know a lot of people don't understand an online book club, until, as you and Robby have said, they get here! THEN you can't pull yourself away, and if I may say so we here in the Books & Lit have mastered the art of agreeing to disagree cordially.

    Maryal, thank you for that stunning thing, so THAT is the finished version? I like the first one much better, "Listen, Stranger...." and "Or my Staff shall make thee skip. .." are not as good, to me! What say you all? Thank you for bringing that here. Was that done about the time the gloss was?

    Shasta had a great thing on the gloss for later.

    Barbara, this was a great thought: "Personally I think there are many things we all do without much thought till it turns around and bites us someplace. "

    Thanks to Pat Westerdale, by the way for that great new illustration in the heading, I think it loads fast?

    Fairwinds is right, and I have not been lucky enough to travel to Bayeux, every time I plan something falls thru but I do remember now that the Crossbow, you are right, caused the end of the Knight in Shining Armor as it could penetrate almost all armors. As you can see it's pretty complicated. That stirrup at the bottom is for rewinding it and you can see that in the tapestries Fairwinds mentions. I was of the opinion that it was tremendously awkward and heavy to manage.

    Barb, I'm not seeing any evidence so far the Mariner is any kind of addict, are you?

    And to answer Seaman First Class Ella's questions, the Cap'n has no idea why a crossbow would be on board? Why was there a need for a weapon? Where was the ship going and what was its purpose? I love your take on this, Ella, wonderful questions. Would you have gotten a word in, do you think, if YOU had been talking to him? He seemed to greet all interruptions summarily.

    Great questions, I have no clue. Maybe that adds to the mystery? What do the rest of you think? Setting out on a mysterious voyage with no Captain (always a mistake) and no Admiral FOP, no Stowaway and no Jonathan in the Crow's Nest, pitiful.

    We know, however, that he did not shoot the bird for food and we shall see how we know that presently. But in attempting to assign a reason for his seemingly inexplicable act, aren't we echoing the "WHY" asked after any other catastrophe? The Oklahoma City bombing? Why?

    Have you seen the new National Monument there? The chairs all sitting facing the reflecting pool? One for each person, arranged on the floor they would have sat on in rows? The children's chairs smaller than the rest?

    Why did that happen?

    Admiral FOP, that's a splendid thought, he had to struggle in the throes of the death force, can you remember that at the very end? I think it holds a key, myself, to one way to look at what we think the Mariner (whom Coleridge called the "Navigator,") (now we know he was NOT the Cap'n) actually symbolized, IF we think he symbolized anything at all.

    Jerry, you said that the Mariner "similarly commits the most irresponsible and defiant act in his power, killing the Albatross."

    Wouldn't it have been more irresponsible to shoot another sailor?

    Have any of you wondered why the bird seemed to be attracted to the men in the first place?

    Mal, your take on the Albatross as Nature nicely contrasts with Jerry's Albatross as Christ. Please remember these at the end, I hope we will all either have something we think it symbolizes or be equally determined it symbolizes nothing but as Maryal's second line says, we shall be on the journey anyway, and hopefully we will enjoy it.

    Maryal when you say the "meaning is broader than one religion's take on sin/ wrong action," I hope you will explain further as we get into this. DON'T FORGET YOUR POINTS, EVERYBODY!!!

    Joan P, you scare me with your brilliance, what do you MEAN here on the eve of your beach trip, saying why was it called the RIME? Hoo boy, that's scary! I loved your take on why a YOUNG man! Why indeed?

    Is Coleridge saying that it would be wasted on an older man? Let's try to remember that point, too.

    OO, Crow's Nest Jonathan, you say it's swinging up there, what an addition you are, you say that the enormous leap of imagination we're about to take will lead us to the truth? You say it wasn't an albatross at all? Wow.

    I tell you if I put up every valid and fascinating thought uttered here so far the heading would not load, I hope and pray you all are keeping sharp track of your own points.

    Admiral Fop's cautionary ballad is interesting in this case, no??

    Too long a post, more anon....

    Cap'n Amazed

    September 4, 2000 - 01:34 pm
    Joan P says, "I agree that the shooting of the albatross was cruel, immoral and well, maybe not criminal unless there was a law protecting the species."

    It is important, Mariners, for you all to decide right now for yourselves, can you do it? Whether or not you can go on record as thinking the Mariner's killing the bird was wrong? Do YOU think it was wrong?

    YiLiLin said, "Yet i strongly believe each human act is based on choice." Do you agree with her? Because just as it's important to the Mariner, it's important to us, too.

    IS this an evil act, do you believe in evil at all? IS there such a thing AS evil?

    Did man as YiLiLin said in another breathtaking sentence create evil or did it exist alone ?

    Robby, I really appreciate your post as a pyhchologist because it gives an entire different perspective to this tale. So in this case, a psychologist would tell the Mariner that he was suffereing from a case of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? Yet the Mariner caused the trauma himself, by his own free will he shot the bird. He was not in a war, he was in a peace situation about as peaceful as you can get, this bird, this church (nobody has leaped on the Vespers NINE thing) going bird, this friend of the sailors, he killed it.

    Must have been hard to miss the sailors, actually, the cross bow is one of the deadliest things ever invented. Certainly it would have gone thru a bird and whatever was behind the bird and maybe thru another sailor too, if he happened to be there. I'm saying it was not a casual thing here. If the bird was on the ship (as it must have been, in the video it falls....where? Into the ocean.....) how could THAT be? What, they went swimming after a few days and hauled it back in?

    Why didn't they throw it overboard in the first place? Think about it......

    Robby, is there "guilt" and "sin" in psychology or is that exonerated by....I'm asking if guilt even exists or sin or evil when you look at it from the point of view of a syndrome or disease?

    Cap'n Grog

    Ursa Major
    September 4, 2000 - 01:35 pm
    I have come in very late because of a personal crisis, and I haven't done much more than skim the earlier posts. But I wanted to comment on the above expressions/ explanations. Once I got old enough to see how a tenderly cared for and beloved two year old treats another twoo-year-old (without provocation), I had a sudden vision of what I think original sin means. It doesn't have anything to do with Eve getting in trouble with that snake. It is the innate propensity of the human animal to do what she KNOWS is wrong; that which we do to our neighbors which is hurtful to ourselves. Man-thing used as an excuse for evil/mischief is just another name for it. It's just plain cussedness!

    September 4, 2000 - 01:38 pm
    I wonder if somebody would volunteer to keep a ship's log of all the different points everybody has brought up? I think it would be very instructive, in the end?

    Double rations for anybody taking on the job and no night watches.

    Cap'n Queeg

    Ursa Major
    September 4, 2000 - 01:38 pm

    September 4, 2000 - 01:44 pm
    SWN----You came to the same conclusion about original sin that I did, while watching small children. The propensity that is in all of us to do that which we know to be wrong.

    GINNY -- CAPN,SIR----The part I that I posted is from the Original version of the poem, the first one. And Coleridge changed it and omitted the weak parts and eventually added the gloss and altogether improved it.

    I compared the original to the one we are reading now, and in every case the poet has improved the 1798 version. You are completely right--that business about the wedding guest's threat to make the old man skip with his staff is NO GOOD AT ALL. It doesn't fit the tone of the poem, for one thing.

    September 4, 2000 - 01:55 pm
    Ah so the poor pixilated Captain had it totally backwards! WELL I'm glad because the first version was the pits, Listen, Stranger, indeed.

    Thank you for that, and for that explanation, too, so then Coleridge must have continued to improve it, and added the gloss much later, right? My books here say the gloss was added in 1817. So in a way it was a continuing work???

    SWN, we are so glad you are here, no there is not really any way to omit the heading the second time you come in, if it's any comfort, the questions change almost daily, so you'll want to see it, is it slow loading for you?

    I'm sorry to hear of your crisis but glad you are here.

    Do you think the killing of the bird was wrong? That's Labor Day's Question du Jour!

    Cap'n Crunch

    September 4, 2000 - 02:10 pm
    mais oui, killing is wrong.

    any killing. exceptions are fish and other animals when you do it for food.

    didn't you ever read the story of albert schweitzer in lamberené...in africa? he wouldn't even kill an ant. (this highly impressionable person poured over a book of black and white photographs that impressed her thoroughly as a child.)

    Shasta Sills
    September 4, 2000 - 03:03 pm
    Maryal, how do you think the original version compares with the one we are reading? It seems to me our version is better because it is clear and to the point, but maybe that's because it's the one I'm used to. I've always thought the simple, direct words of the poem gave it a lot of force.

    September 4, 2000 - 03:29 pm
    Human side of poem.

    By thy long grey beard (older man) being older and wiser,

    glittering eye?

    Was he perhaps Proud of the killing of the ALBATROSS as they had been feeding it Bisquit's with worms in them, so maybe he thought the ALBATROSS would like meat (worms) and might fight for the meat (dead bodies) If there were to be any dead crew. Preservation of self so he killed the ALBATROSS.

    Things changed and even the crew changed there minds about the killing of the ALBATROSS.

    He continues to tell the story like it was a victory.

    I am not a writer as you can tell but have my own thought's Yes I have read the book.

    Ginny, Thank you for encouarging me to post by saying we all have our thoughts and should post them.


    September 4, 2000 - 04:11 pm
    Human side again.

    The Cross Bow could be a means of protection OR used for fresh fish harpooning which supplies the juice and the substance needed for our human bodies.

    September 4, 2000 - 04:38 pm
    Wicked outbursts cannot always be blamed on upbringing, neighborhood, class or society, can they?

    NO A lot of times it is greed. I want, I want, I want, Whatever the human wants


    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 4, 2000 - 04:40 pm
    This swabbie has been so busy polishing the decks that I have not had much chance for reading and thinking. But taking the first question on the list: Why did the mariner kill the albatross?

    I think he shot at the albatross to prove to himself that the bird was as magical as it appeared to be. The ice cracked open when the albatross flew round and round over it and to me that implies an act of magic. The mariner shot on impulse and believed that the arrow would do the bird no harm. (Note, I have never read this poem before and have only read part 1 as per the Captain's instructions, so I could be totally wrong about this way of thinking).

    September 4, 2000 - 05:01 pm
    Nellie, It is so good to see you here but I must think a bit on your post.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 05:10 pm
    Were the spirits bad? They killed the men.


    September 4, 2000 - 05:15 pm
    Malryn, we must have food to survive, My daughter told me one time even a tomato squeese's (sp) when we cut it, so I do not know what to do as we must eat to survive.

    Please talk to me about this.


    September 4, 2000 - 05:20 pm
    Robby, I must be missing something here.

    Were the spirits bad? They killed the men.

    explain Please.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 05:23 pm

    I guess that is not in the First Part so I should not have commented on that.


    September 4, 2000 - 05:52 pm
    SWN in Tennessee,

    To get passed the heading is to scoll to the last post and then go back up but you will miss alot as the heading change's often.

    Your senior net friend.


    September 4, 2000 - 05:57 pm
    Robby, You are so special to understand so much in this disscusion and other discusions.

    with much apprieciation for your knowledge.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 4, 2000 - 06:08 pm

    Look what you did to my face!!


    September 4, 2000 - 06:13 pm
    Shasta---Trust your own instincts. They are good. Yes, I think the version we are reading is much better. Coleridge made many changes as the years went by and every time I think he changed the poem for the better. I posted the early version because I thought the differences were interesting. But our version is better.

    Ginger--Interesting that the crossbow might be used to get fish. I hadn't thought of that. I think the mariner killed the albatross for no reason at all. We do know, from the expression on his face which causes the wedding guest to say "Why look'st thou so?" The mariner's answer is, "With my crossbow/ I shot the Albatross. Thus, at the point where he is telling his story, he certainly feels bad about what he did.

    September 4, 2000 - 06:22 pm
    GinnyHow have I got so involed with this discussion I do not know.

    OH CAPTIAN MY CAPTIAN Where are you?

    Me thinks I am out of here and leave room for you more intelligent people.

    September 4, 2000 - 06:47 pm
    Stowaway. I have some nice duck beaks for you that FAIRWINDS has thrown away, Where shall I put them for you.

    September 4, 2000 - 06:58 pm
    Maryal, Do you mean the glittering eye, of maybe the triump of killing the ALBATROSS.?

    Just another point of view. OK?

    September 4, 2000 - 07:56 pm
    Hi Ginger---I'm not sure what you mean. The killing of the albatross happened sometime in the past. The glittering eye is the description of the mariner as he talks with the wedding guest.

    September 4, 2000 - 08:57 pm
    I surely dont know how to discuss the meaning the poem has for me without going at it as a "whole story". I just spent about two hours reading University Texts on Colridge and Wordsworth and also a long treatise on Mary Shellys use of The Rime in her Frankenstein and a comparison of the two stories. My old mind is reeling with stuff and I must sleep on this. Colridge was never satisfied with this poem. Why I dont know. Maybe when we look at the gloss etc we can discuss his working it over so many times. I also read some more of his poetry just to get an angle on his general themes. All about death, and sin and redemption, some about love but I would have to read all his collected works I think to understand him better. I thought I sent the stowaway some rum, I hope he got it since some swabbie said he was not in the crows nest. Maybe Jonathan (seagull) got it instead. Admiral Fop

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 4, 2000 - 09:11 pm
    I was thinking about the Rime tonight. What Joan said is interesting because Rime, of course, means "a poem or verse having a regular correspondence of sounds, especially at the ends of lines". It also means "a coating of ice". Those two dictionary definitions have created some thought for me.

    I was also thinking about what Robby said about Post Trauma Stress Disorder. This subject has been discussed in the Greatest Generations folder, and those discussions led to some thought about myself and symptoms I have had that resemble the Ancient Mariner in Part One of the Rime.

    In 1935 I had polio. Because my parents were separated and my mother was poor, I was given away to relatives. Though terribly sick and completely paralyzed at first, after nearly a year in bed I regained the use of my neck and back muscles, my arms and one leg.

    In 1936 a full leg brace was made for me, and I learned to walk all over again with crutches. I have worn such a brace since that time.

    In 1938 a muscle was transplanted from my left leg to my back. I was in a hospital miles away from family and the house where I grew up for four weeks, and even farther away than that for the following five weeks at a nursing home type convalescent home. I was unable to bend or sit down for five months at the risk of damaging the muscle transplant. I was ten years old.

    In the summer of 1940, a plaster torso cast from my armpits to my hips was put on me by suspending me in a head harness held by chains from a ceiling at a children's hospital. When the cast dried, it was cut down the middle and held together with steel bands, so it could be taken off at night. I wore this cast a year.

    In 1941, my mother died of appendicitis. It is a loss from which my brother, sisters and I have not even now fully recovered. There is more which I won't detail here.

    Throughout nearly all of my life, I have suffered from Post Trauma Stress Disorder, though it never really had a name for me until now. My reaction was very similar to that of the Ancient Mariner in Part One of the Rime. From time to time I had to tell someone my story in order to find relief from the emotional scars and pain I felt. I also said, "I'm sorry" much too often, as if apologizing for some crime I had committed. I was not really aware of what I was doing until I was nearly 55 years of age when I caught myself telling my story to a clerk in a supermarket I had never seen before, and began to take steps to change this behavior.

    The mind and the body apparently can stand only just so much stress. When the stress is prolonged, behavior is affected in ways described in the Rime and as I have described. I suspect as we read on that we will find that the Ancient Mariner went through extreme stress for a prolonged period, thus causing him to tell his story to anyone at hand.

    I don't really know whether what I am posting tonight is relevant to the poem in your eyes as far as this work is concerned, but it most certainly is to me.


    September 4, 2000 - 11:36 pm
    Was it you, dear Admiral Fop, who sent up the rum? Many thanks. I feel so much better after that.

    Mal, I sat down here hours ago to read today's posts. Everyone's was interesting; but the best one came at the very end. God bless you. Your post is very relevant. Not only for sharing your experience with the reader, but for your own understanding by using your experience in getting at the heart and soul of the Mariner, in searching for the motivation which drove him to his eternal wandering and retelling and reliving the nightmare of his voyage.

    I loved The Leaning Tree. It rings true. You'll never convince me that it's fiction.

    And getting back to Faith's beautiful post. Why was Coleridge never satisfied with his poem? Like you, I'm trying to get some background on this interesting problem. I'm getting some answers. He took a lot of criticism, starting with Wordsworth, whom he at first worshipped. And so he made changes. Not everyone agrees that every change he made was an improvement. Most were. When he first composed it, he was, I think it is true to say, pantheistically inclined, sharing ideas about 'Nature' and 'One' with W. Took up with Unitarianism. Later he became conservative and reverted to C of E doctrines and beliefs. The 'pagan' spirits in the Rime became a bit of an embarrassment. With the Gloss some of them became angels, as one example. To satisfy his judeo-christian readers. (Some talk of the New Testament as being a gloss on the Old)

    There are those who say there is much of Coleridge in the Mariner. That this was so he himself realized later; and the tables were turned. There was much of the Mariner in Coleridge! He was certainly fascinated with his creation; and as he changed, elements of the Rime changed. That reminds me of an early post. I think it was Jerry's, which seemed to say that C didn't know what he was writing about. Not quite as bald as that of course; but I remember thinking that it would 'fit' with what I just wrote. I must go back and check that out. I going to hear about that don't you think?

    Very likely you have already encountered what I have written; but perhaps someone else will be interestd, and use it as a starting point to help us learn more.

    HMS Matrimony, of which I am the Captain, has received sailing orders from the First Mate, so this AB seaman is jumping ship. Will be back in a week or two. And I so much wanted to be among the First, who ever Burst/into that silent sea. There comes the Sun. Up on the right! We've cleared the Horn!


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 01:39 am
    Thanks for your post Mal - you said so much in just this one sentence
    I don't really know whether what I am posting tonight is relevant to the poem in your eyes as far as this work is concerned, but it most certainly is to me.
    Because in my book that is all tha counts. Reading and sharing with this group has brought so many of us closer to a clearer understanding of ourselves and that to me is what reading these timeless authers is all about.

    September 5, 2000 - 07:38 am
    WOW what moving and fabulous posts today.

    Let the Cap'n start by advising those who come in here daunted by 51 new posts each day?

    Rather than skip them all, why not use the SEARCH feature at the bottom of this window?

    Type in your OWN name? And you will find where people have answered YOU particularly?

    Of course we would rather you read all of them, but if time prohibits, at least you should see where people have addressed YOU?

    Barbara, what a marvelous thought: "Reading and sharing with this group has brought so many of us closer to a clearer understanding of ourselves and that to me is what reading these timeless authers is all about. "

    We all hope to get something from everything we read. I think we learn a little bit about ourselves in each discussion, as well as our fellow Wayfarers.

    But we cannot learn about ourselves if we are unwilling to go out on a limb and SAY one way or the other what we think.

    Part I: Can you say one way or the other whether or not the Mariner was wrong in killing the bird, those of you who have not said? WAS it evil? WAS it a sin? Was it wrong?

    Your answer will tell as much about you as it does the Mariner. Perhaps you are a person who does not assign blame? Perhaps this is, in your mind a random shooting?

    Let's do learn about ourselves, was that act evil?


    September 5, 2000 - 07:45 am
    Jonathan! MAZELTOV!!!! Off on the good dingy MATRIMONY are you??? Hopefully the bride will come along with us, too!

    Many congratulations and felicitations!!!

    I am very glad to hear that you, too, are doing extra reading, the more we do the more we know about the poem. I sure hope soemebody has the McElderry or Huntington information on the gloss, I sure can't find it in the library here.

    Mal, what a heartbraking story, and you have obviously emerged triumphant! Yes, I can see that PTSD would be certainly indicated in your case. We're glad you're with us. Cap'n

    September 5, 2000 - 07:51 am
    Admiral Fop: I think you are right, we can't come to any conclusions about the whole story without reading the whole story but at this point we are not asking about whole story conclusions. At least we're not in the heading, we need to know the reactions and conclusions based on Part I.

    I'm so glad you, too, are doing outside reading, and I agree, it boggles the mind, no? All those theories, spinning around like gossamers, but the only theory that matters here in the end is YOURS !!!!!

    The more informed we are the better our theories may be.

    Let's tackle the gloss tomorrow, bright and early.

    Nellie, you, too, are coming to this for the first time? WONDERFUL!!!!!!!! And with your interest in science fiction your take on this will be invaluable.

    You actually hit on a very important thing here: CAUSE AND EFFECT.

    Ginger, I'm so glad you are taking part, your posts are always invigorating and different. I, too, have heard of the tomatoes screaming in some sort of strange microwaves or something, and heard of trees, when attacked by insects, even sending out some sort of "warning" to the other trees.

    Philip Roth has a character in American Pastoral who stops eating, period, not wanting to hurt a living thing.

    Interesting posts here this morning to look at!


    September 5, 2000 - 07:54 am
    Good grief! It has taken me over an hour here to catch up. Each and everyone of these posts are truly amazing. I am very moved and humbled by the various thoughts and analogies. What a diverse group we have here. It could be because of my background and my attention to addictions but I can not help but see this differently. It is only my opinion BUT:

    Perhaps the albatross symbolizes STC's own formidable problem which hung around HIS neck-- his addiction to Morphine!    As YiLin's refreshing  post  stated: "each human act is based on choice!"    As a poet of imagination who explored relationships between nature and the mind,  maybe STC's choice  to use  this majestic bird  as a comparison ; an imagry to his own massive problem of addiction.  "From the fiends, that plague thee thus- he shot the albatross."

    September 5, 2000 - 08:03 am
    Great thoughts, Andrea, hold on to them as we go thru the poem. WE have a left over question du Jour from yesterday:

    Do you think the Mariner's killing of the bird was wrong? Evil? Sinful? Just by whim or chance? A mistake? Planned? Is there anything in the powm that indicates that this action was premeditated?

    What, in short, is your take on the killing of the bird?

    And we have a new question du JOUR for today coming up!

    Cap'n Scrambling to keep up

    September 5, 2000 - 08:12 am
    Which IS it, Fairwinds, de jour or du Jour? Inquiring French minds want to know!!!

    Oh yes, would you believe I never see an ant without thinking of Schweitzer? A man with a reverence for life. Somebody here earlier said the Mariner had no respect for life, like people now say, he was "wasted." Or "offed."

    I've got some fascinating supplementary information today on the crossbow.

    Ella, you will find this interesting.

    My husband who has both longbows and compound bows, says that one of the main advantages of the crossbow is that you can draw it and then it will remain cocked, like a rifle.

    He says that the longbow, which proved superior to the crossbow in tests made in the 1300s, (but the aim of the archers was in question) when you pull it, takes tremendous strength to hold it drawn back.

    And that after a while, no person, even the stoutest of arm, can control the trembling which would occur in trying to hold back the bow.

    Thus the crossbow eliminates all that, allows the archer to sit or lie down behind a wall (imagine the implications in war) AND to shoot thru the armor of the enemy. Very strong advantages.

    He says that the modern crossbow is very light in weight (I sure hope you used a fake one in your stage production, Mal!) and deadly, and the old ones would definitely go thru a bird, a man, and probably anything else standing behind it.

    He says the newest bows are called compound bows and they are very fancy looking (probably what they use in the Olympics tho I forgot to ask) and they have the advantage that they, when pulled, actually absorb the stress so that the archer does not tremble.

    And adding to the interest here, the early popes (before 1100) thought the crossbow SUCH a horrid weapon of destruction that they interdicted the crossbow (except against infidels), on the "ground that its use constituted an atrocity." (Encyclopedia Britannica).

    The crossbow had a range of 300 YARDS and shot a square headed bolt.

    Interesting, no?

    Cap'n Crossbow

    September 5, 2000 - 08:21 am
    Mal, I loved your findings on the word RIME! Wonderful!!!

    Ok now this is interesting. Nellie has brought up a great point: cause and effect?

    The poem reads:

    It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
    and round and round it flew.
    The ice dids split with a thunder-fit;
    The helmsman steered us through!

    OK when you read those lines, IS it apparent to you that the bird CAUSED the ice to split? IS there a cause and effect here? Would YOU have made that connection? IF you hadn't read the gloss?

    Is it normal, after an event, to look for causes? To assign guilt? To see patterns of cause and effect that might not be connected?

    Sailora are notiriously superstitious, but is it human nature to try to assign causation in a tragedy?

    Why did Coleridge add that gloss to the side?

    Why did Coleridge let the Mariner be the narrator?

    Intriguing Questions this morning!!!!!!!

    Cap'n no answers but lots o questions!

    Shasta Sills
    September 5, 2000 - 08:59 am
    Malryn, it breaks my heart to hear of all the suffering you endured. It is so unfair that some people just seem to get endless burdens to bear. It also makes me ashamed of myself. I complain all the time because I have arthritis and I can't run up and down steps like I used to, but my problems are nothing compared to those you describe. I hope it helps you to talk about these things, and I'm sure the least we can do is listen.

    I think when terrible things happen in childhood, they become built into the nervous system so that you have this compulsion to talk about them the rest of your life. Maybe Robby can tell us if this is true or not.

    I wonder, too, if Coleridge himself wasn't compulsive about repeating his story again and again. He kept rewriting it, and then he added that gloss, which seems to me to be unnecesary. It's as if he had some obsession with this story, and couldn't stop retelling it.

    September 5, 2000 - 09:01 am
    Hope I'm not too late with the current thoughts!

    I’m reading this wonderful poem first simply as a suspenseful adventure story , much as we did when we were children, and secondly I see a moral tone here. I visualize the Wedding-Guest as “a segment of humanity that doesn’t have the insight of the Ancient Mariner,” as one reviewer puts it.

    Jonathan asks: “Haven’t we all “killed” something? When our wonderful old dog Gus became so arthritic and nearly totally blind, my husband refused to allow me to have him put to sleep. On a weekend when my husband was fishing, I took Gus alone over to the veterinarian’s and did the “dastardly deed.” Although it was the humane thing to do, I felt an enormous sense of guilt afterward, and dreamed of the deed for months. Yes, it was an act that set off a chain reaction—My husband would talk to me for three days, the recurring dream, and inner turmoil.

    If we’re looking for sybolism in why the Mariner shot the albatross, Alf’s post makes sense. It’s an interesting thought that Coleridge saw his own addiction in the sight of the albatross!

    Great questions up there, Cap’n!


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 09:38 am
    My self-understanding about why I behaved as I did after terrible stress has not come about from reading the Rime again. Nor was my long post last night a means to unload a burden on you, or to relieve myself of pain. That pain was understood long, long ago, and it diminished when that understanding came.

    My intention was to show by example what prolonged stress can do to a human being and how it related to the Ancient Mariner and his compulsive need to tell his story to anyone anywhere that he could find, including a Wedding Guest, who was repelled, shocked and changed by the Mariner's story.

    Since I am sure to myself that myths and superstitions surrounding the albatross were very important to Coleridge when he wrote the Rime, I suggest that the breaking of the ice to allow safe passage of the ship was a poetic device used to enhance the myth surrounding the bird.

    All kinds of interpretations can be made here, of course, including the idea that the bird caused the split. One must keep in mind that Coleridge was poet, and poets and writers use all kinds of metaphors to get their point across, Coleridge's point being that the albatross was a good omen, an omen which the seamen believed.

    Jonathan's statement that Coleridge was in the Mariner in the beginning and later found that the Mariner was in him interests me. Jonathan's statement, too, that Coleridge was "pantheistically inclined" when he wrote the poem is something to consider. According to my dictionary pantheism is "a doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena".

    This being the case, the crime committed by the Ancient Mariner was one against Nature, as I suggested before. Since Nature was the equivalent of a deity, to go against it or harm it was the worst possible crime one could commit. The Mariner, when he shot the albatross, in effect killed Nature.

    It was some time after the poem was written that Coleridge went back to the Church of England and adopted more traditional and conventional ideas of what the Deity was. His revisions and the addition of the gloss over a long period of time contain changes which make the poem veer away from the original pantheistic view.

    It is no wonder that the Rime is so perplexing and difficult to analyze. In a way it represents all the changes that were going on in Coleridge over a period of over twenty years. From a pantheistic person whose faith was in Nature and whose behavior was certainly influenced by his addiction, Coleridge became a conservative man, steeped in orthodox religion. His later writings on religion and philosophy show that change very well.

    The parting of the ice, as originally written, was not meant by Coleridge to be interpreted to mean that the bird caused this phenomenon. Having researched and learned as much as I have about the Rime, that is my opinion.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 09:46 am

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 09:51 am
    Good or Bad making a judgment-- My immediate reaction to the question was: is it a legal, moral, social judgment we are seeking. Are we using today's sensibilities to judge or our understanding of the sensibilities of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Are we looking at this act knowing the future historical fate of the albatross. Killing is a way to control your world and feel personal empowerment therefore, was this shooting symbolizing the mariner's taking some control in the sea of dread he found himself? Was he as Ginger pointed out simply shooting the bird as a sailor using his crossbow would hunt food?

    Judgment is exercising passion and intent which is focusing the mind on worldly things rather than, opening the spirit, heart and mind to self-realization; becoming more aware of hypothetical and actual choices as well as, developing the understanding and integration of our thoughts and feelings.

    People are not alarmed by favor, but they are alarmed by disgrace. I believe the Mariner was shamed by the crew into believing he committed a crime. My belief does mean going on to the next part and this quote leads me to that assessment.
    And I had done an 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!
    Many of us have been shamed, especially woman and it is easy to react to the elements of shame when they are included by an author. Shame is when you are wrong not that you have done something wrong which you feel ashamed. Children are often shamed as if they are bad not that they are wonderful and lovable simply having done somthing unacceptable.

    Guilt is an unhealthy need for approval; painful regret coupled with anger. Shame allows the person to have unrealistic expectations and could account for the concept that the Mariner accepted his actions caused the breeze not to blow.

    September 5, 2000 - 10:29 am
    If I go out and kill a bird today or a dog or a cat or a horse or a human being, I do not need to know what comes next to decide for myself if it's right or wrong? Do I? Does it matter what other people think when I look at MYSELF in the mirror in the morning?

    Not to me.

    What will determine for me what makes it right or wrong? Was it CAUSED by something I ate? Was there a cause and effect there?

    The reason it matters is because no matter what others think of us, what WE personallly think of ourselves ultimately overcomes it. Or should. Shouldn't it?

    I really don't want to discuss Part II yet, but that was a grand post, Barb, please don't forget it!

    Mal, that was a beautifully reasoned post, thanks. I'm not sure I agree, but it's a great perspective, and I enjoyed it.

    Lorrie, how great to see you again, I love your take on it, just as an adventure, and I like Andrea's too , but nothing is hanging around anything at this point.

    Just a wild bird and a shot.

    And so Fairwinds said it was wrong, of course, it's a living thing. He killed it.

    There's also some critical thought, by the way, for those of you who like symbolism (BARB!!) that light and dark play a major part here.

    For instance one of the questions that did NOT make it to the top but probably should have is: What does moon-sun/ night-day have to do with the story? What kinds of things happen under those planets or at those times of day?

    Great question, too.

    Cap'n Question

    September 5, 2000 - 11:02 am
    These are two good points that Barbara just made:

  • 1. Is it a legal, moral, social judgment we are seeking. Are we using today's sensibilities to judge or our understanding of the sensibilities of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.


  • 2. Killing is a way to control your world and feel personal empowerment therefore, was this shooting symbolizing the mariner's taking some control in the sea of dread he found himself?

    I love that, Sea of Dread. Sea of Dread, that's fabulous. A control issue then.

    A legal, moral, or social judgment? Don't two of those come from one of them? Social judgment? This reminds me of the Pentateuch for some reason. The necessity of setting up laws. (My theology may be way off here on the subject of Leviticus, so feel free to correct me).

    For some reason the lines "but each man kills the thing he loves" have been rattling around in my empty head since I read Jonathan's question a while back, and I guess there are different kinds of killing, too.

    Likewise I'm not sure that there is much difference as regards birds in eighteenth and twentieth century sensibilities, is there? We still have hunters and we had people back then that hailed a bird as if it had been a Christian soul, fed it, enjoyed it? What's different there?

    Captain On Today!
  • YiLi Lin
    September 5, 2000 - 11:08 am
    Well I am sure you have already figured out that my vote says YEP it was wrong to kill the bird- not a legal wrong, but a wrong in the disruption of the interconnectedness of all things a wrong greater than a violation or crime against nature. What interests me more though is our take on why the others thought it wrong- did they make an individual moral judgement based on the act alone or did they consider it wrong only because the act (cause) created an effect that impacted on their well being and safety.

    This kind of killing in my mind is the human drama wherein the character acts out the hubris of the gods. Man deeming himself more important than other species.

    September 5, 2000 - 11:14 am
    As the stowaway was enjoying the early morning,in relative comfort,this individual would like to call your attention to an article in the New York Times of today, Tues. Sept 5,2000 in the Science Section,entitled Discovering Early Clues to Where an Albatross Wanders on its Year Off.

    The Albatross in the poem seems to represent a Deus ex Machina

    September 5, 2000 - 11:36 am
    I don't know what Ginny is after here, continually asking us if we think the Mariner was wrong, guilty of a wrongful act, etc.Do you want a vote or something. Guilty, Not Guilty. To me we are not a jury, and as I have read every post I think everyone said about the same thing. IMHO he shot the bird because he had a crossbow and the bird was there. The Author may have had a lifetime of shoulds and shouldn'ts in his parent brain, therefore he would have an intention of telling the reader something about the direction of the story that only he knew. The best guess of this reader is the MARINER was not guilty of any great horrible act unless you first give magical properties to the Albatross and think of it as metaphore for the good universal spitit of nature.Jonathon said it too. and Malryn gets FP

    September 5, 2000 - 11:40 am
    Here's a link to Stowaway's Albatross article.

    September 5, 2000 - 11:47 am
    Well, then, Yon Stowaway, thou thinkest there is cause and effect here, then?

    Thank you for that article, here is another interesting bit on the same site:

    Albatrosses are extraordinarily long-lived. This is known from recoveries of birds wearing bands or rings that were attached at a known time and place. The longevity record is of a giant royal albatross (Diomedea epomohora) banded in New Zealand and recovered as a breeding adult 58 years later. Theoretically they could live to be more than 80 years old.

    And here's the article: NY Times Article, September 5, 2000 on the Wandering of the Albatross

    Cap'n Copier

    September 5, 2000 - 11:52 am
    Whoops, sorry, Maryal, we were posting together, your link goes to the NYTimes site and mine to an html page, both useful, thanks so much.

    I love the NY Times.

    Gotta storm, gotta get off, more anon, perhaps. Sorry Faith, to seem to be pushing it, no we don't have to take a vote but we have not heard all 25 opinions yet, either, am just trying to encourage those who have not given one TO give one, certainly if a person has said their druthers, then..well, they've said?

    Let's hear from the rest of you who have been silent up till this time?

    Cap'n Courageous

    September 5, 2000 - 12:02 pm
    thanks, stowaway...loved knowing albatrosses join canada snow geese and mahi-mahi as "mate-for-lifers". and that they live SO LONG.

    we saw several of the big birds in new zealand. but it's the first one i remember really well. his/her feathers were a scruffy beige color (maybe it was molting time) but it was the wingspan that shocked us. much to our disappointment, he/she didn't hang around our boat very long. the other ones we saw were greyer.

    mal...what does one say to someone who had her childhood stolen. and that you were "given away". thank you for sharing the telling details with us. and thank you for being here to share your thoughts on the rime.

    it's been such a gift to be able to visit here at night. milles mercis, everyone. oh, that reminds me, ginny, it's "du jour". don't ask me why.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 12:04 pm
    I found this wonderful essay that says it so well, also supports Alf's comments very well:
    Mariner: guilt and dread

    From the psychiatric evidence, it seems that a child of the age that Coleridge was when his father died suffers the worst consequences from the bereavement, if the loss is poorly handled by the surviving adults.

    At this age the child possesses both a concept of death as such, but at the same time is liable to regress to an earlier stage of infant thought in which his hostility to the parent appears to have caused the death, an act for which he will receive equivalent punishment. Coleridge's exile to Christ's Hospital was the first stage of punishment for his inadequate love for his father. It was a punishment which was to be lifelong.

    Coleridge's grief at his father's death was thus likely to have been attended by a dread so powerful that all memory of grief was repressed. But the dread was invoked on every other occasion in Coleridge's life involving the demands of love, including his love for Sara Hutchinson (who eventually fled from Coleridge's anxieties and paranoia). And the dread was, most notably, attached to the symbol of the Albatross when Coleridge came to write his poem.

    As the dread had no cause in Coleridge's conscious understanding, no motive could be assigned to the shooting of the Albatross; it is an act fraught with the most terrible consequences, but lacking any adequate rationale. That it involves some horrifying compulsion is suggested by the Wedding Guest's response at this point in the verse:
    "God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee
    thus! --
    Why look'st thou so?" -- With my
    cross bow
    I shot the ALBATROOS.

    The story of the Albatross seems to have acted like a lightning conductor, locating the guilt on an exterior symbol and temporarily freeing Coleridge for his major feat of creative energy. As Freud noticed, speaking of criminals in the context of the power of the super-ego (which is largely unconscious), a crime may be the result of guilt rather than its cause. "It is as if it was a relief to be able to fasten this unconscious sense of guilt on to something real and immediate."

    This is also the kind of self-blame and guilt that so many that are 'shamed' heap on themselves.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 12:24 pm
    This is an event that is scarey.

    We have not even hit the heat time of our day at 1:53 and it is already 110 - The heat of our day is typically between 3: and 5: Yesterday is was 112 with the downtown Camp Maybre official temp. 110 with local thermometers at the TV stations showing 120. We have had 39 days over 100 and 6 days streight of over 105. The trees are so dry that large huge limbs are cracking off and tieing up traffic all over town.

    Timed Austin Temp

    All Austin Weather Stickies and a link to find your own cities weather sticky

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 12:30 pm
    I'm sending you some rain from North Carolina, Barbara. We've had so much rain that the ground is saturated, and there are flash flood watches nearly everywhere in the state.

    September 5, 2000 - 12:31 pm
    There are so many wonderful posts here and me with no time to respond. So I'll just thank Barbara for the article and Mal for her suggestion that there is also a psychological way to read this poem.

    I think Coleridge provides NO motivation for the mariner because it suits his purposes so to do. Most of us have, at one time or another done something without thinking at all. Our action may not have even seemed important to us at the time. The killing of the Albatross turns out to be very important.


    September 5, 2000 - 01:15 pm
    I just lost a big post and will take that as an omen! hahahaha

    Thank you, Barbara, for bringing us that interpretation, I sure appreciate it, what is the source for it? As we go along we will be astounded at the various theories, and certainly that's one I've never heard and am grateful to read. I love examining all the facets we can, it makes for a better experience. What terrible, heat, I bet the electric bills are sky high, please take care of yourself!

    And in that vein, Malryn, yes, thank you for adding the psychological element, and please do look at all the levels or understanding at any time, we're not rushing through this. We're taking our time, and we have plenty of time to look at 4 levels of understanding or 20 for that matter, at any stage. Feel free.

    As far as this statement you made, "Many here lean toward the Moral or Religious, i.e. Christian, interpretation. Our Captain seems to be directing us this Moral way, too, with questions of right and wrong and guilt, blame and shame."

    The word "moral" does not have any religious connotation in Webster's.

    Aesop wrote fables with "morals," if he lived at all, 500 years before Christ was born, didn't he? He pointed out the foibles and vices and virtues of man without recourse to any sort of "Religious, i.e., Christian interpretation, " as you put it. And he wasn't the only one.

    All of the great literatures of each culture are full of "right and wrong," moral and immoral acts, accompanied or not by religious precepts of many different kinds, and beliefs.

    We're not here to fight a religious war, we can allow each of our Mariners his or her own interpretation, and welcome it. You have said several times that to you, this is not "solely a Christian work." That's your prerogative and as valuable as any other opinion here, and I appreciate your expressing it.

    Let's not make any assumptions here about the points of view of any of the other participants, including the Captain.

    Cap'n Bligh

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 01:35 pm
    I apologize for making an assumption, Captain, Sir. The word "Moral" was used in the post I just deleted because it is one of three levels of interpretation listed in the page I accessed when I clicked the link at the top of the page. Under that level it is stated that "... examines the poem as a fable of sin, penance, and redemption, drawing upon traditional Christian symbols and motifs."

    An Analysis of Coleridge's Rime


    betty gregory
    September 5, 2000 - 01:41 pm
    I live south of Barbara. 109 official Houston temperature yesterday, but 115 in Sugar Land where I am. One bank temp sign is stuck at 112 from a few days ago---poor thing must have died. My brain quit working days ago.

    Thanks for your example, Mal, to help us understand how the Mariner's experience could haunt him so. Unfinished business, that's usually what we carry with us, working it over and over, sometimes telling it. You don't have to say, Mal, but if you could (want to), how did you turn that corner and let go of what was haunting (for lack of a better word).

    Barbara, you KNOW how much I love your additions, exhortations, thoughts, but the psychological quote with the blurb from Freud---well, anyone who would quote Freud is still in the dark ages (not you, that author). In my humble.....

    Admiral Fop's no nonsense, straight forward views are closest to mine. Except, except, given TODAY's deeper considerations on how we are all connected in life, then YiLi's thoughts ring bells---even though, to my knowledge, Coleridge and even Wordsworth, would frown and say, what? Environmental what? So, it's difficult, though thoroughly tempting, to use today's lens through which to view this link breaking in the life chain---killing the albatross.

    It's easier for me to view it as a mystery whose answer cannot be known. Now, THAT, just that, that we can't know for sure, is one reason I think the poem has survived so long--our need to know cause and effect. To assign blame. To solve the problem. Leaving something a mystery---well, we hate it. JFK assassination, etc.

    By the way, you know when you are trying to decide whether to buy a new WHITE car or a NAVY BLUE car, then all of a sudden, that's all you see on the highway. There's one....hey, there's another. Well, now I'm seeing "albatross." Just this morning, looking at two different apartment complexes on the internet and both had a floorplan named "albatross." One complex had a list of all mariner/ocean type names. The other complex, a list of birds. Isn't that odd? Even if the person naming the floorplans hadn't read the Rime in a while, the standard perjorative connotation would be bad enough. Oh, well.

    September 5, 2000 - 01:41 pm
    You're right, Malryn, that's what IT says, you are absolutely right.

    I was just thinking how grateful I was for your adding the psychological aspect and now we can add another one to whoever wrote that interesting analysis in the heading the true meaning of the word "MORAL" in considering consequences of behavior.

    So now we have 5, and we would only have had 3 if you had not spoken up!

    Good work! Keep it up!

    Cap'n in a Thunderstorm

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 01:54 pm
    Betty, this is hard for me to tell, but I have said it in other forums and am not unwilling to say it here.

    I tried to find relief from the early struggle and later problems and tragedies, of which there have been many in my life that seemed every few years or so to pile on the childhood ones, by drinking.

    I joined AA, found a higher power within myself, and sought therapy from a very fine psychologist. The combination of these turned my whole life around, and I didn't suffer as much pain or mental turmoil as I had before.

    It's been a rocky road, this life of mine for these 72 years, but a very interesting and unusual one and a good one for a writer to draw on.

    I regret nothing that has ever happened to me except my mother's death when she was much too young to die, and my elder son's brain injury in a terrible automobile accident and subsequent Hepatitis C.


    September 5, 2000 - 02:10 pm
    Mal, we are fellow 12 step people, AlAnon in my case. But as you know, it's all one big program. I wish I had not had to wait until I was 50 to realize that I was powerless over a number of things, among them my husband's (and later my son's) drinking. Like you, I learned because I was in great pain and had to learn. I use the principles of the program in everything I do these days, and life has gotten so much easier to handle since I have learned to live and let live.

    Just think how useful our experience will be when it comes to discussing Coleridge and his addiction.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 02:22 pm
    Maryal, you're right! I never thought of it. Thanks for reminding me!


    Shasta Sills
    September 5, 2000 - 02:48 pm
    Barbara and Betty---We're having the same horrendous heat wave over here in Louisiana. And Louisiana is not a state that normally has drought! When I looked at the thermometer in my back yard and saw 110 degrees, I couldn't believe it! I have NEVER seen that temperature here before. I keep the sprinklers going, but all my camellias and azaleas and dogwoods are dying. The lawn died a month ago. Even the ivy and monkey grass are dying. It just makes me sick to look at my poor dying yard.

    Somebody mentioned something a while back that I wanted to ask about. I think it was Faith who said she had read that Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" was influenced by "The Ancient Mariner." I'm curious to know how the Mariner carried over into Frankenstein. Do you remember, Faith?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 04:01 pm
    Between heat and tree limbs falling now in my backyard and an active group posting here along with shared thoughts that I want to respond to but it takes awhile to get a post off, I wish we were all sitting around with some coffee so we could answer each other and have a conversation in real time.

    All afternoon the temp goes to 110 than backs off to 108 when a huge wind is created that feels like it is blowing the roof off than it settles down and when it hits 110 again there is a stillness that is almost like being in another realm. My thermometer is saying 119 and the temp all over the Southern and Central part of this State is in these high record breaking temperatures. I didn't realize Lousianna was getting this also. I understand OK and AK are back in the 90s as is Dallas. For the frist time in history or at least the collective memory of Wimberly, Jacobs Well has stopped and the Cypress Creek is still, without water flowing.

    The scarey problem is there is no relief in sight. My AC bill last month was over $500. I am afraid to open it this month.

    Yes, I too still attend Al-anon. Since 1987 - I no longer attend ACOA but that was a big part of my early healing. Still struggle with isolation issues, feelings of inadequacy, mis-placed guilt and shame but all that is another discussion.

    I know now there is a small group of us that share a common language and the understanding of crazy behavior. We also have struggled to find and put faith in a Higher Power. It is that lift of knowing all the work attached to getting as much as we can from this poem and as revealing and as helpful as it will be, it is still so much simpler than the daily work we experience to find peace and trust a Higher Power.

    Ginny I do see legal and social as two issues. Example It is not illegal to announce that a pitcher has a no hit baseball game going but it would be thought the cause of his loosing the no hitter if the announcer said something. It is not illegal to leave an animal that you've hit with your car but most would stop and either put it out of it's misery or if a domestic animal try and get it to a vet. It is not illegal to speak ill or march protesting another race or creed but it is illegal to deny renting or selling your home to someone because of race etc. We are upset with neo-nazis and folks that blantenly speak ill of another, just as we are outraged by a hit and run animal accident and someone breaking the code of baseball announcing would probably get fired. All to say that social behavior is judged by a society as legal wrongs are seperatly judged in a court of law, assessing guilt or innocent behavior.

    Ginny, I finally found the site that has the Freudian reference. There are a few other good essays about the Romantic writers on the site.

    Betty, Freud my be dated but I really thought this essay did a good job explaining the typical way repressed memories associated with a traumatic events manifest themselves until someone has treatment. U of Alberta; Coleridge paper

    I still contend that many folks like to relieve their own bad feelings; disappointments, fears, inadequacies by expecting others to be perfect or just out and out blaming them when things go bad and they are not able to control their world into something they understand, agree with and are comfortable with. It all reminds me of that Sid Simon, Aligator River Game.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 5, 2000 - 05:07 pm
    To tackle one more question: Are there features of the Mariner's appearance brought out by direct description?

    A number of features are brought out by direct description:

    First: "It is an ancient Mariner" tells us that he is old.
    Second: "He holds him with his skinny hand" makes me think that the Mariner is very thin.
    Third: "He holds him with his glittering eye" That is eyes are bright - with madness or a fanatical desire to tell his story that I don't know. I can even see the glittering being caused by tears in his eyes.

    As to whether the mariner's shooting of the albatross is an evil or immoral act: I don't see it as such because I don't see the killing of an animal as necessarily being evil. I'm really swimming upstream here aren't I? My younger brother hunts with a bow for his meat and he leads big game hunting expeditions; he is also very involved in animal conservation and in keeping the wild herds healthy.

    The mariner may have been thoughtless and impulsive but I don't think he was evil or did something evil.

    I'm reading this more as a straight adventure with definite science fiction overtones.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 5, 2000 - 05:14 pm
    Nellie did that skinny hand remind you of the 'grim reaper?'

    Hehehe I could almost feel it poking me in that soft spot just below my shoulder and neck.

    Oh yes and how old is ancient? To me ancient is over 100 years old - hehe maybe he had a rhimy eye!!??

    Joan Pearson
    September 5, 2000 - 05:56 pm
    EEUUU, Barb! The rheumy eye! But yes, I think of him as 100 years old too! Too old to be captaining a ship! I think that this event happened a long, long time before this opening scene. Which means he's been living with it for a long time. Sounds like the symptoms of Post Traumatic Shock to me...to freeze his spirit for the rest of his years...

    The "rime" of the Ancient Mariner...the ice, the rime, the ice, the rime...

    The Ancient, forever frozen in time because of this one act!

    We're all reading it differently, aren't we, Nellie? Jerry? Mal? Alf? Ginger? Maryal? Robby? Barb? So many different perspectives! Isn't that important, and marvelous and well... awesome? I promised never to use that word again after standing crying silently, inexplicably in the presence of the Giant Sequoias in CA., but the diverse reactions to these simple lines, and the passion it is arousing seems to merit the use of the word - "awesome"!

    What it comes down to is whether the Mariner feels that what he did was wrong. We seem to be answering that question from how we see our own experiences in the Mariner.

    Let's say the disaster that is to occur following the deed - NEVER HAPPENED. Let's say that the Mariner simply shot the Albatross and the men say, oh wow, why did you do that? That's bad luck, because that bird brought us through the ice. Would the Mariner have felt remorse, regret? Or would he have shrugged and said, he was bothering me...I got tired of him. Don't be superstious.

    It depends on who YOU are that will prompt you to answer that question. It was wrong and an affront to Nature to kill a living thing OR, it was simply man's nature, sort of a hunting expedition.

    That's what we are doing by isolating this Part from the rest of the tale, I think?

    Would the Mariner be consumed with regret years for years until he reached old manhood for killing a bird, if the rest didn't follow...or would he have always regretted killing this particular bird?

    We are told the Mariner befriended the bird...he fed it, he was happy to see it, a big hello whenever it appeared, this wild giant now-friendly bird who was practically eating out of his hand, the mariner's own hand...

    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!

    Now to me and who I am, the Mariner has developed a relationship here, has befriended this living creature, has earned his trust. The fact that he could, for any reason, pick up the crossbow and blow the creature to pieces - well, this is to me, different than shooting a gull with a slingshot because he's messing the deck, or making a noise I didn't like. This act, in itself, without any of the consequences that followed, would be one of the more regretable acts of my life.

    It is important that we each answer the question as to the rightness or wrongness of the act before we examine the consequences. Is an action right or wrong depending on what others think or what follows, or ...our own conscience?

    Perhaps the Mariner's heart and soul did not become covered with rime because of this act...but did HE feel he had done something reprehensible?

    I was thinking about the NEW question just added..I don't think there is anything in those lines in Part I that implies that the bird caused the ice to part like the Red Sea to let the ship through. The men were happy of course. It was just a coincidence that the bird was with them. I don't see them regarding the bird as their Saviour afterwards...just a pleasant association with the turn of events...

    Will be interested to hear what YOU think....

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 5, 2000 - 06:17 pm
    Joan points out that the Mariner established a relationship with the Albatross.

    Has anyone here ever hurt the person you love? Even purposely?


    September 5, 2000 - 08:14 pm
    This evening I watched the tape and heard the reading of the poem..Since I am hearing impaired I followed the text as the poem was spoken. Strange how I felt, anxious ( and remember I knew the end) my pulse was rapid and someplaces I almost held my breath. I think I wished the end were different that it was a dream he shot the albatross.

    For the first time I also read about Coleridge and about Wordsworth comments.. "as our united funds were very small we agreed to defray the expense of our tour by writing a poem to be sent to the New Monthly Magazine Now it would seem to mean this poem was written almost as a lark in order to obtain five pounds for the trip

    Wordsworth suggests the Albatross ,,,and he mentions other poems and authors that might have influenced Coleridge.

    I know some of you write poetry and have been doing so for a long time and are students of poetry as well. My attempts at poetry are recent 6 years. When I started a strange thing occured..Often I sat down to write with a specific idea. What surprised me was the poem changed completely ...I wonder if that is what happened with Coleridge. He became caught up in his tale..he hoped to sell it ..so he wanted to make it as interesting as possible. He offers a mystery, a bit of horror, fear, dread, dreams, error, revenge, redemption. He threw in all the things humans worry about. He most likely was influenced through his beliefs..Perhaps he already had an albatross about his neck..

    I cant speak for others but I know my own writings surprise me. They express my own fears, my own concerns etc but I put them in a way that always ends well ...I dont want them to end poorly ...even if that should be the correct way.

    A poem is really a collaboration between two people. The author and the reader. That is why we have a number of interpretations. The poet has had his say and now we interpret it through our own expierences.

    When I read this years ago I loved it for the drama. For the way it sang when I read it. And I liked hearing it tonight on the tape. There was mystery,fear,horror but I was relieved at the end to have him return to his home country. The wedding guest was a wiser man for having listened to the tale. Why? Because it gave him something to think about...just as this poem gives us something to think about.

    Each reader sees what is important to them..or what they think should be important to them. Thousands have read this poem and asked what does mean? What it meant to Coleridge first he would have some necessary funds to begin with if it were successful.

    After that I think it is speculation ..I love this line from the little book I have "Every reader who becomes subject to its subtle spell will prefer to be left free to read its own meanings into its flashing hints"

    One modern poet whose name escapes me replied to a question from an English Class studying his poetry What does it mean ? His reply It means whatever you think it means.

    It is after 11 pm here and I am going to fold my tent and for now silently steal away...anna in a cooler Virignia

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 5, 2000 - 09:02 pm
    Late night thoughts.

    Great post, Anna. It's nice to see another writer here. Woops! Another two. Lorrie's one of my favorite writers.

    I just read through some posts and want to comment on something Ginny said. No, the crossbow used in the production of Deathtrap my son and I were in was real. Of course, it was never really used to shoot an arrow, though Rob certainly fooled the audience.

    Goodnight, all.

    September 5, 2000 - 11:03 pm
    mal...it is my opinion that everyone who is posting here can be called a writer.

    September 6, 2000 - 02:19 am
    What a treat to see such great thoughts here this morning and Annafair's "A poem is really a collaboration between two people. The author and the reader. That is why we have a number of interpretations. The poet has had his say and now we interpret it through our own experiences. " is going immediately into the heading as well as Joan P's and Robby's questions.

    That was a very moving account of your viewing the video, Annafair, and I loved your explanation of what comes out in your writing, but especially the part about "Every reader who becomes subject to its subtle spell will prefer to be left free to read its own meanings into its flashing hints"

    That's lovely.

    For my own part, I have several preconceived half remembered notions of the meaning of this poem, and am determined to examine the poem itself and see if my ideas hold up. So far they don't. I want to examine every facet carefully, I love your take on it.

    Nellie, thank you for that great perspective, so many differing viewpoints and ideas, and all are welcome. It's an interesting contrast, isn't it, between the direct descriptions of the Mariner's appearance and the Wedding Guest's opinions? I wonder which one we should embrace? Thank you for that!

    Joan P as usual with the fabulous posts and questions, most of which are now in the heading!

    Boy here's a thought for the day: "Let's say the disaster that is to occur following the deed - NEVER HAPPENED. Let's say that the Mariner simply shot the Albatross and the men say, oh wow, why did you do that? That's bad luck, because that bird brought us through the ice. Would the Mariner have felt remorse, regret? Or would he have shrugged and said, he was bothering me...I got tired of him. Don't be superstitious."

    What a turn around take. Just LOVED the "frozen in time," that's fabulous, wonderful. Thank you so much for that.

    Betty, how right you are, we always seem to see whatever we are reading about, isn't it strange? Wonder why that is? In that way reading really opens your eyes to what would have been there, doubtless, whether or not you read the poem I guess.

    I did like your take on Environmental issues, and in that regard I believe Barb WAS right, there IS a difference between the centuries, not sure people in Coleridge's day were over concerned with such.

    Shasta, I agree, I would love to hear more about the Mariner/ Frankenstein connection, I love to compare literature, that's one collary benefit of reading anything, I think.

    Malryn, I am surely sorry to hear of your son's terrible accident and misfortune, as well as your own, and I hope your life will be nothing but happiness from now on in. I bet you really enjoy SeniorNet, and find a good bit of comfort here, I know it means a great deal to me, especially to bask in the light of such brilliant minds as we have here in the Books.

    Robby asks, "Has anyone here ever hurt the person you love? Even purposely?"

    Is there anybody here who can say no? Unfortunately, is there anybody here who can say no? Why is that? Why? Without meaning to? I certainly cannot say no here, unfortunately. I am ashamed to admit it, but the truth is the truth. Sometimes our own needs get in the way.

    Before I get to the gloss I want to express my own opinion on what's happening in the story. I am not sure now, there have been so many posts, but I think that Joan P was the only person to say that if SHE had been the Wedding Guest, she would have continued on to the wedding, if it were HER sister who were getting married, etc.

    "Next of kin" is important here and I'm going to advance my own psychological theory since that element has been introduced here.

    I have no brothers or sisters, so "next of kin" means to me my children and (would husbands count there?) Since I think it's unlikely that I would be attending my husband's wedding to somebody else, (highly unlikely) then I would have to say in my case it would be the wedding of one of my sons. In that case (and I realize the Wedding Guest was too young to be the father of the bride or groom) nothing on earth would have kept me from that wedding.

    Next of kin is important, to me. It denotes a person who has responsibilities which are expected to be met. He has a duty to his kin, and to himself, to be there. Family is important, if you have any, and he did.

    The Mariner not only accosted him in the street, he physically took hold of him, he physically accosted him. His two friends left him, an act I would take very badly. I would not have had too much to do with those friends from that point on. They could have physically intervened, and allowed the Guest to continue.

    The only person being victimized in Part I is the Wedding Guest, not the Mariner. The Wedding Guest is the victim of Part I. The Wedding Guest is hostage to the Mariner's need, for whatever reason, to tell his tale. He could have waited 1/2 hour. He could have waited until the Wedding Guest at least made an appearance at the event. He could have taken the Wedding Guest's own needs and desires into consideration.

    If he were that horrible looking he could be politely asked to wait outside on the bench we see in the heading. He could have been invited in to the wedding. He could have been sent out cake.

    Because the Mariner had HIS need, the Wedding Guest got to forgo HIS own needs. He got to miss a responsibility which was his alone: he was the next of kin.

    I don't know how you feel about this, but it, here in Part I, makes me irritated with the Mariner, I am sympathetic, but I would not have sat on that bench listening to a perfect stranger, no matter how compelling his need was until I had listened to those in my family who needed me first, and attended to their needs. I would have listened later. He would have had to have waited.

    Putting up the gloss and the Pearson and Robby questions in the heading.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 6, 2000 - 04:11 am
    Ginny responded in an earlier posting about my belief that the Mariner was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She adds: "Yet the Mariner caused the trauma himself, by his own free will he shot the bird."

    The trauma was not the shooting of the bird. The trauma was the reaction of others and later his own to his killing of the bird. The trauma was the reaction of the remaining seamen plus what he then sees happening to the entire crew. The trauma was the remaining voyage.

    Ginny asks: "Is there 'guilt' and 'sin' in psychology?" The term 'sin' is used often by pastoral counselors but is not used by most psychologists. And I should add here a major difference (this is my opinion) between 'guilt' and 'shame." They are often used interchangeably but are not at all synonymous.

    Guilt, as I see it, is a reaction to breaking a rule set up by someone else or by society in general. I stayed overtime at a parking meter and am therefore guilty and must pay a fine. That is the consequence. I broke someone else's rule. Shame (again as I see it) is reaction to breaking a rule which I had set up for myself. I promised myself that I would be honest and then proceeded to lie. I am ashamed. Now I must suffer the consequence. What is the consequence? It is an "eating oneself out." Shame is much the harshest standard and the reaction is usually much stronger. With shame I did something to myself. I hurt myself and possibly hurt others by not meeting my own standards. This is often repressed as I do not want to admit that I did not meet my own standards. With guilt, I pay society's price and get on with my life. With shame, it rests within me and I feel the need to atone in one way or another. The need for atonement (which some here may consider solely a religious term, but I do not)may be eased in a comparatively short time or may last a lifetime.

    I see the Mariner as being ashamed at what he did to a bird he apparently loved once it was forcibly called to his attention by the crew. And I see him as wandering the earth for a lifetime looking for redemption (once again not just a religious term).

    Some veterans suffering from PTSD have deep shame that they did or did not take certain actions in combat which were against their own values. Except with professional help, they find it almost impossible to share this fact and carry it with them for a lifetime.


    September 6, 2000 - 05:29 am
    Robby, thank you so much for that this morning, I love it! You've given us a lot to think about there and I want to come back to it, later, too.

    Here's some very exciting stuff on
    The Gloss

    And here, thanks to the wonder of the Internet, IS a comparion of the McElderry paper on the gloss with several others:

    Much more significant than the motto from Burnet, however, was Coleridge's other alteration: the addition of the marginal prose gloss.

    In 1843 Wordsworth told Miss Fenwick that the marginal gloss was not a part of the original plan for The Ancient Mariner and that it was, therefore, "no doubt . . . a gratuitous after-thought" (WPW, i 361). Although the gloss was, indeed, an afterthought (though by no means a gratuitous one), it is impossible to say just how much of an afterthought it really was. It might have been composed at any time between 1800 and 1817, and there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that it existed, in some form, at a relatively early date. Coleridge's Notebooks between 1804 and 1812, for example, contain a number of parallels to the gloss (CN ii 2293, 2610, 2727; iii 4041, 4166), and these may be [121] either anticipations of the gloss or, possibly, echoes of it. Moreover, as R.C. Bald has noted, some early annotations by Coleridge in a copy of Lyrical Ballads (1800) support the conjecture that the gloss was written "comparatively soon after the original composition of the poem".28

    For the most part, the gloss provides a running commentary and summary of the poem's narrative action; it is essentially, that is, an artistic restatement of what is obvious in the text, a translation of the poem's substance into prose. At certain points in the supernatural parts of the story, however, the gloss adds details that are not in the poem itself. Thus, the gloss asserts that the Ancient Mariner's shipmates "make themselves accomplices in the crime" (opposite line 101), that the Polar Spirit moves the ship "in obedience to the angelic troop" (opposite line 381), and that the Mariner's penance is exacted after a bargain is struck between the Polar Spirit and the angelic host (opposite line 393). Similarly, the gloss on the dice-game in Part iii (lines 195- makes the meaning of the episode explicit in a way that the poem does not:


    Death and Life-in-Death have diced for The naked hulk alongside came, the ship's And the twain were casting dice; crew, and she "The game is done! I've won! I've won!" (the latter) Quoth she, and whistles thrice. winneth the ancient Mariner.

    These glossarial additions serve, as B.R. McElderry observes, both to strengthen the poem's "moral" theme of crime and punishment and to give Coleridge an opportunity to explain certain obscure or ambiguous incidents in the poetic narrative: "It is as if an artist drew a sketch from his own finished picture. As he sketches he follows the main design of his subject, but here and there he strengthens a line and adds a detail".29 While most readers have accepted McElderry's view that the 1817 gloss is not an artistic flaw (the poem and the gloss constitute, "not one 'true' story, but two versions, related, yet independent", of the same story) and that the gloss provides useful clues to Coleridge's ethical intentions in composing The Ancient Mariner, there is a dissenting minority of recent critics -- spearheaded by William Empson -- who regard [122] the gloss as a "parasitic growth" that must be removed before the poem can be properly appreciated or understood.30 McElderry's argument for the artistic integrity of the gloss is supported and extended by Huntington Brown in an interesting analysis of the dramatic relationship between poem and gloss. While the poem is clearly intended to be the work of an imaginary medieval minstrel, the style and the particular kind of learning displayed in the gloss mark it out as belonging to a later period: "the minstrel is not meant to be the author of the gloss. The gloss can only be the work of an imaginary editor", whose prose style and learning declare him to be "a scholar, modern rather than medieval, but distinctly old-fashioned, therefore an early and bookish antiquarian".31 In this view, the gloss achieves a semi-autonomous status and functions dramatically as a kind of choric commentary on the poetic narrative. By refracting the credulous medieval minstrel's supernatural tale through the pious understanding of an imaginary Renaissance editor-glossator, Coleridge was able (according to Brown) both to emphasise the remoteness of his story and to make it more acceptable to "enlightened" contemporary readers.

    This information comes to us via One of the best articles on the Rime you will ever read!


    Of course the issue to us HERE is Question #1 and 2, what do YOU think, now that you have read the opinions of the scholars? What do YOU think? That's what we are here for.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 6, 2000 - 05:56 am
    First: fairwinds, I read once that one of the great advantages of the internet is that people are once again writing. Yes, everyone here is a writer, but as far as I know, Annafair, Lorrie and I are the only three here who try for hard copy publication. I could well be wrong. My remark was too general.

    Cap'n, Sir, there is not one of us in this world who does not suffer misfortune in one way or other. I am not alone in that regard. SeniorNet for me is an interactive, pleasant relaxation. It is a break from work I do, which because of its nature, is solitary.

    Question #1. I am reading the Rime on the web, since my books have not yet been unpacked after my recent move to different living quarters. The gloss remarks appear above the line to which they refer, so it is impossible to ignore them. I find the gloss an unnecessary addition to the poem, which stands alone in its greatness.

    The gloss is interesting, however, because it gives some insight into changes that took place in Coleridge in the time between the actual writing of the poem and the time the gloss was added.

    Thanks for the link to A Coleridge Companion. This is one of the sources to which I've referred since I first came into this discussion, and it is an excellent one.


    September 6, 2000 - 08:19 am
    thanks for your response, mal. i am overly sensitive to this subject of who is considered a writer and by whom. for the past several years i have been paid for writing articles for a monthly caribbean sailing journal. no, it's not knopf or penguin. but your remark surprised me and made me think of all the articulate, imaginative people in this thread, and others, who need to be encouraged instead of made to feel they are outside some exclusive writers' circle.

    hip-hip-hooray for the everyday electronic writer.

    end of gloss.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 6, 2000 - 08:30 am
    fairwinds, if I had a job like the one you have I'd be thrilled. I'd never say or do anything to discourage a writer, chere amie. I spend at least 80% of my time encouraging, helping and publishing writers or editing their work. It is my raison d'etre, after all.

    Okay, I've exhausted my French except for boeuf bourguignon. If you're making that for dinner, give me a call, and I'll board the nearest sailing ship.

    End of gloss!


    September 6, 2000 - 08:35 am
    Ginny feels that the person being victimized here in Part 1  was the stranger!  I disagree with that.  He chose to listen.  "And listens like a three years child;"  Nowhere was he victimized, defrauded or exploited.  He was spellbound by the old man as  "he sat on a stone; He cannot chuse but hear;"
    The wedding guest chose to listen, thus not partake in the festivities.    What if he had not?  Would this poem maintain its same sensitivity?  Why is it him that makes this poem any more relevant or purposeful?  The point is , is that he could not wait to tell his tale;  he could not allow 1/2 hour to pass for the event.  The wedding guest 's own needs and desires were unimportant to  our mariner, Ginny.  This is a poor soul -obsessed.  It makes you wonder doesn't it, would it have changed the meat of our story any, had the guest ignored him and moved on to his duties?

    September 6, 2000 - 08:53 am
    Or...Andrea, it makes you wonder (one of the questions above) if the story would have been different if the Coleridge had not chosen the Mariner to narrate it? What do you think?

    Oh I dunno, "he cannot choose but hear..." to me means he has no choice?

    And your question is a good one, what if he had not? Then what? We wouldn't have either, then, I guess.

    I love this.

    Cap'n So Excited to finally find the McElderry

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 6, 2000 - 08:59 am
    If the Wedding Guest had walked away, the Mariner would have found somebody else. That is what people afflicted in the way he was do because they find no relief from the stress and pain they feel until they tell their story. That relief is temporary, so they go out and do it again.

    I speak from experience and observation here, not medical knowledge. Perhaps Robby or Betty would come in and comment on this from a psychologist's point of view.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 6, 2000 - 09:02 am
    The important item in the therapy (which is what the Mariner is undergoing) is the person doing the sharing, not the person receiving. This is somewhat similar to writing a journal in which no one is hearing it but the person is still sharing. I agree with Mal. He would have just found someone else.


    September 6, 2000 - 09:10 am
    as the receiver of the phone calls from the person with ocd, i wonder whether my idea of her not wanting to pay for long distance since i moved to europe might be wrong. she's just found other ears!

    robby, is ocd a possible symptom of ptss? thanks for explaining it. it was the first clear explanation i've heard.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 6, 2000 - 09:23 am
    Fairwinds: Just to answer your question briefly because we are talking here about a poem:--

    Acute Stress Disorder (which after one month is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) stems from a person experiencing, witnessing, or having been contronted with some event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of himself or others. The person's response would ordinarily be fear, helplessness, or horror. (I would definitely include the Mariner in this.)

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder does not need any event. The person has recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress. This may be related to a brain chemical imbalance. (I don't see this in the Mariner story.)

    How would you act if you saw a bunch of dead men around you doing their usual duties?


    YiLi Lin
    September 6, 2000 - 09:50 am
    PErhaps I need to reread Part I- but I am wondering if issues manifest through the Mariner are not limited to this particular sailing. If he is an 'ancient mariner" I would think he's spent his life asea and perhaps the journey is only a part of the continuous series of cause and effect that is our lives. so perhaps the killing of the albatross is an event linked to another time, another situation. I think of the many time we pick up a newspaper and read about a spouse who just seems to up and stab, shoot or strangle his/her mate or child- not necessarily in a rage- just does it.

    thoughts on the discussion questions- i think people who attempt to lead examined lives engage in the cause/effect though not necessarily to assign guilt. and if one believes in the interconnectedness of all things then cause and effect is not necessarily linear, and causes can originate out of one's present sphere of existence- when the effects manifest some call it serendipity.

    the "gloss" pattern is also present in many buddhist suttras. designed i believe to broaden the range of hearers- some respond to the narrative as the telling of a parable, others respond to the verse as if they are present or omnipotently viewing the actions described. I see a similarity here- when reading the verse it is as if I am on that ship (serving up the rum ), whereas the gloss gives me distance. It would be interesting to know who we are- those who hear the tale best through gloss or those who hear it through verse.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 6, 2000 - 10:02 am
    I see from the link on albatrosses that they mate for life and that during their "sabbatical" year when they are not breeding, she heads toward the tropical latitudes and he goes toward Antarctica. Well, why not? We have families where he goes to the mountains and she goes to the seashore.

    How do these albatross mates find each other? Do you suppose he wears a red feather? Do they agree to meet under a prominent overhanging rock? But apparently they do find each other.

    I have no idea how people having separate vacations find each other.


    betty gregory
    September 6, 2000 - 10:15 am
    The married albatrosses send each other a sea-mail.

    Shasta Sills
    September 6, 2000 - 10:15 am
    Having read the experts' efforts to justify the gloss, it seems to me they aren't coming up with very convincing reasons for it. A poem makes a statement in its own way. If it needs to be re-stated in prose, then it is a failure as a poem. Coleridge wrote a good poem, and he should have let it stand on its own feet.

    September 6, 2000 - 10:16 am
    How to get my Osprey in while still maintaining a semblance of the thread???? Robby mentions separate vacations for Albatrosses.

    There is a large Osprey nest on Sutton Island, Maine (near Cranberry Island where I was this summer). The male and female osprey are tracked over the winter by means of battery powered satellite transponders that are attached to them.

    They also winter in different places--last winter, the male went to Brevard County, Florida, while the more adventuresome female went first to Cuba and then to Haiti!

    Comments on the gloss. I don't read it. The poem is so fine and I don't want a specific point signalled, especially when it was added by the poet years later. However, in the light of our focus on it, I will now go read all the glosses for part I and get back if I notice anything remarkable---or, more likely, annoying.


    Joan Pearson
    September 6, 2000 - 10:31 am
    There doesn't seem to be any real indication as to when these the gloss is written, does there? I like to read the verse, and then the gloss. If I thought the gloss was an editorial note - by someone else, I'd probably skip it....but the fact that STC wrote them ...well, I am interested in what he is telling us he meant to convey.

    Here's a thought. And a question for "writers", poetry writers. I'd like to know the process and compare. When you sit down, or lie down, to write your verse, you start with an idea. Perhaps a specific idea. Do you do as I do, make a written note of what you mean to convey in the verse, an outline of sorts? My gloss is not the verse, but the overall point ...almost like instructions... to the muse. And the rest just appears from somewhere else, inspiration for lack of a better word. Then when it's written down, the rewrite begins. Somehow the rewrite, mine anyway, is never as fresh or striking, or at least I don't like it as well as when I first "received" it. Maybe I'm just lazy. I'm not saying any of it is any good, but I feel it's better unedited...raw.

    Others I suspect, approach the writing differently. I'd love to hear about the process.

    I didn't describe the above very well, but here's the thought. Do you suppose that Coleridge worked the same way I do? (Oh, the nerve comparing myself with a great one!) I'd like to hear how others approach writing a poem... Do you suppose that Coleridge wrote notes to himself and then wrote the verse? In other words, wrote the gloss first? And then at some point decided to include the gloss...the intention...to make sure his readers "got it"?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 6, 2000 - 11:05 am
    No two writers are alike in their methods of writing, I believe. When I write, I never make an outline. I go into my word processor, write one sentence of prose or a poetic line, and I'm off and running. Sometimes I don't even have an idea when I begin, but I discipline myself to write at least 1000 words a day or a poem, so set aside time to do this. I edit everything over and over as I go along and won't submit it anywhere, even to the Writers Exchange WREX until I think it's right and it feels right. I have been known to make as many as 50 or 60 revisions in a very short story before I have submitted it to WREX, to be read only by other submitters.

    I mentioned before that I have never before come across a work that was as discussed and pre-planned as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was. When Wordsworth left the collaboration, I'm sure Coleridge followed many of the plans they made. I feel sure, too, that Coleridge did an enormous amount of editing before he first called the poem finished. The gloss was written later, I believe, and contains things to appease some critics, including Wordsworth, I heard. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was harshly critiqued when it first appeared, and I think that instigated many changes on the part of Coleridge.


    Joan Pearson
    September 6, 2000 - 11:16 am
    Thanks, Mal. I still do find it interesting to read the "gloss" after I read the verse - because it comes from Coleridge.

    I particularly enjoyed reading the early version that Maryal brought to our attention. I was surprised to find the Mariner referring to the Wedding guest as "STRANGER" not once, but at least twice in the early one. The word is totally eliminated from the text that I'm reading..I wonder why Coleridge did that? Did he purposely want to keep us guessing, or was it simply for poetic reasons?

    For whatever reason, we now know from the "stranger" reference, that the guest is NOT a previous acquaintance, that he is selected at random... What we don't know - was he selected because he was part of the wedding party. And I agree, had the guest excused himself to attend the wedding, the Mariner would have found someone else. The guest was not the first person compelled to listen to the tale......and probably not the last. We'll see perhaps?

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 6, 2000 - 11:21 am
    I write exactly as Mal does. I write a sentence or two and then I'm "off and running." I would add to this that I write "from the heart." Most of my writing is about feelings, not intellectual thoughts. I find that easy. I write exactly as I speak. Anyone in SN who has not met me but has read pieces I have written will find that I don't take them by surprise if they meet me. I speak exactly as they would expect me to.


    September 6, 2000 - 02:46 pm
    Robby that is a good explanation...although writing is fairly new to me ...I have always written in my mind...I have dozens of plots etc that are only in my mind and they date back to when I was just a young girl..poetry I expiermented with as a child and wrote off and on as I felt an urge to do so ..mostly on bits and scraps of paper..some I still have and have added to disks of poems.

    I really began writing in earnest when my husband died and even that wasnt immediate..I call them my grief poems ..it was the outpouring of our life, his illness and his death..when I bought my first computer five months after his death a wonderful thing occured..Magical to me and still is true...my thoughts, my fingers on the keyboard and the monitor blend together and my poems and my stories flow out of me through my fingers to that monitor.

    I ususually have a germ of an idea but I never know where it will end. I have often felt I was being used by a spirit who had always wished to write and found me a perfect channel. When I began my first class in poetry five years ago the professor asked us to tell why we wrote my reply I write because I cannot not write...there you have it in a nutshell. I usually edit out extraneous words or ones that seem to impede the flow...other than that they are as they come from this magical collaboration.

    The Rime was a preplanned poem written for the purpose of earning enough money to defray the cost of the journey...Perhaps when it was panned Coleridge felt he needed to make it understandable to others and I suspect justify his writing it in the first place...Could it be he had a bit of a guilty conscience ? Since he wrote if for less than artistic reasons.

    I write for myself first ...if others enjoy it that is just icing on the cake..I have been fortunate to take first, third and honorable mentions in Writer's Conferences and Mal has used some in her magazine...and some have been used in other ways..unlike Coleridge I do not need to defray expenses so I just do what brings me peace and joy.

    Perhaps my grandchildren will someday collect them and publish them as Poems my Nana wrote....

    Love to read all the comments and ideas here ...they feed me ...to bad I also need to eat real food or I would be as thin as I think I am...anna from Virginia ...

    September 6, 2000 - 02:49 pm
    Shasta I guess I never answered your question about the Frankenstein connection. It is in the intoduction to the book, the authors reasons for using the Rime as a counterpoint to her story.The treatise I read is at this address,>http://www.klise.com/lear/e-lit/e-lit.htlm< This is where I find a plethora of material regarding this poem in particular. So much that I now have no ideas of my own left. Emotions that are brought up as I read the poem are still there, though not as 'reactive' as they were when I first came across this poem in childhood.

    I find reading the gloss is akin to this discussion as if not the author, but another reader were endevoring to explain the poem. I think the author has told in his own words exactly how he wrote and how he rewrote this poem and if anyone reads the Colridge Companian (link in title bar) they will see all the work that has been done in respect to this poem.

    As an amateur poet who depends on her muse I must say it is never the first and usually not the tenth version of a poem that works for me . Eventually the work is finished or abandoned.

    I wanted to comment on Robbies post re: shame. This is material that is familiar to me as a childhood molest victem I decided when I was a tiny girl that I must be bad and so I was ashamed. I was fearful of letting anyone see any of my emotions as they would then know how bad I was and I became know as a "deadpan". The other kids always said Faith is a deadpan. As an adult in care of a Dr. I found out this meant I had the "flat aspect" of the depressed patient.

    When a parent or a teacher said"Now who in this room put the paper towels on the floor?" I got tears in my eyes and blushed with shame as if I had done the awful deed. It didn't matter what the deed was I assumed the shame of it. If the whole room was told that they could not go to recess until the guilty one confessed, I confessed.I constantly took the blame for stuff I did not do in the family. The other kids came to depend on the fact that I would confess to any crime and that let them off the hook.

    Fortunatly these were all the petty stuff of childhood. My Dr. in my late adulthood said this is very common this deep shame as if a unforgivable sin was mine, though my adult mind and all logic said of course there is no blame on a little child as it is the adult who has the power, still you have that shame, you carry that with you and it causes all sorts of psychological problems.

    When I hear the Ancient Mariner say "I shot the albatross" I can feel his shame and the great void in his innards at the same time, for where has his shame risen from? Not some horrible moral lack in himself but in the subsequent consequences of his actions and the blame placed upon him for the death of all his companions.Since he is saying this many years later to the Wedding Guest we have to assume as Malryn has adequatly explained,that he is gaining some relief from his pain(his shame) as he tells the story over again to The Stranger ie the Wedding Guest,whose name has little significance in a Universalists analysis of the poem. It does in the later version which takes on the Christian theme of Crime Punishment and Redemption. Faith

    September 6, 2000 - 03:30 pm
    So many posts since I last checked in. I have read the gloss. Perhaps now I can better articulate my objection to it. Several have noted that it is like someone else commenting on the poem, an editor perhaps. I suggest that several years after he wrote the poem and after some negative comments about it, he began to write the gloss. Coleridge was thus, in fact, a slightly different person than the man who wrote the poem. He could see it more objectively now; he had the opportunity to respond to some of the negative criticism. And so he took pen in hand and added explanatory notes that attempted to point the reader in a particular direction.

    If you think about the process for a minute, this is very strange. Imagine Dickens returning after several years to David Copperfield and adding marginal notes. "Here, although David is not yet aware of the fact, we see Dora's childlikeness." Would we all consider that an addition? Would we enjoy reading Dickens' marginal comments?

    It seems to me that the original poem, or rather the already worked over and changed version that we are reading, the 1834 version, is the poem, for better or for worse. It means whatever it means. If the poem is vague in places--or the actions unexplained, then that is the way it is.

    I think of my daughter who has just finished setting up another one-man show. What if she were to take these paintings five years from now and show them elsewhere, only this time adding little Post-it Notes on the wall. "If you look carefully at the top right hand corner of this painting, you will notice a blurry outline. I intended this to be my brother's face, and the entire painting is a tribute to him." She would not do this, but it is interesting to imagine her doing it. My argument is that the painting is what it is and it doesn't matter what she intended to do. The painting is now complete and no instructions she can provide will help the painting to accomplish any more than it does.

    I have just reread this and think I have failed to get my point across clearly. I have some thoughts about writing which I also want to post, but this post is already long enough.


    Joan Pearson
    September 6, 2000 - 03:47 pm
    No you didn't......fail, Maryal. Your point is crystal clear. Thank you so much - your comments put a different gloss on the gloss! I'm going to think about Coleridge, the editor, as a "different person" than the one who originally wrote the poem.

    But now I'll ask - what is the difference that you see between revised versions of the poem and the gloss? Should we be reading the first version that you posted...the result of the original inspiration, or the reworked version, written by a somewhat "different man" than the one who wrote the first?

    Shasta Sills
    September 6, 2000 - 03:47 pm
    Faith, this is what I was talking about when I spoke of primordial guilt--a human predisposition to feel guilty even when no sin has been committed. It is common knowledge that a molested child feels he is guilty, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Why wouldn't the child react with anger and resentment and accusation against his abuser? Instead, he feels he is somehow guilty.

    Another example is the children of divorce. Time and again, a child will assume he is responsible for his parents' divorce. They will actually ask, "Did Daddy leave because I was bad?" Isn't it amazing that an innocent child is so readily willing to assume guilt? This is why I think guilt is inborn in the human genes.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 6, 2000 - 04:01 pm
    Ginny, the Wedding Guest's view of the mariner seems to agree with that of the direct description, except when he calls the mariner a 'loon'. I think the mariner is deeply disturbed but in no way insane (a loon); so I would tend to embrace the direct description.

    The gloss: I tend to read both the poem and gloss at the same time since I read the whole page at once and everything on it. But I find the gloss doesn't add much and in a way distracts since I like to use my imagination which is thrown off by the gloss.

    When we first moved into this house I live in with a younger brother, sister and my parents. I would stop off in a small supermarket on the way home to buy things for supper after work. One day I was shopping when this old man stopped me and said he had something he just had to tell me. I wanted to turn my back and ignore him, but his eyes were so filled with pain that I couldn't and stood there spellbound as he related a most horrific tale of what happened to him in WW2 in a German prisoner of war camp. The old man looked so relieved once he had told his story. So you could say I have had first hand experience at being the Wedding Guest, and like I have never forgotten the tale the old man in the grocery store told me, I am sure that the Wedding Guest never forgot the tale the mariner told him.

    September 6, 2000 - 04:10 pm
    Mal---Thanks. Glad I got through to you.

    Joan---As long as the poem (or painting) is being revised--although you're right, the original inspiration is not as close--I accept it as the poem. It's when Coleridge returns to the poem and adds prose bits where he comments on the poem that I think it's really another voice. Sort of the difference between inside---as long as he is reworking the poem, he is inside it---and outside---the poem is finished and now he is commenting on it.

    In this particular case, Coleridge's 1834 version is far more successful as a poem than is the earliest printed version, the 1798 one. I'm glad, for example, that he decided to omit "Stranger," which as you pointed out is twice repeated. He takes the word out and trusts his poem to convey this information. The careful reader can tell from details in the poem that the mariner and the wedding guest have never met before.


    September 6, 2000 - 05:00 pm
    Malryn that is not an adequate explaination for the kind of shame and guilt I felt nor the others in my survivors group therapy either. No one knew of our molestation. So why would they treat us different because of the molestation. No good. We may have had to act different and be calling forth different treatment first, such as the fact of my depression, the flat affect, the lack of laughter, the serious, the watchful, the trepidatious, child. No it wasn't the way the parent and teachers acted that made me ashamed or full of shame. It was the powerful and horrible incident. FP

    Joan Pearson
    September 6, 2000 - 05:24 pm
    Faith! Now you just said a mouthful! Let's forget about the way others treated the Mariner, and try to focus only on Part I and whether or not the Mariner felt that what he had done was evil, amoral. Robby writes of guilt or shame - as perceived through the eyes of others, that it is the later judgement of others which causes the Mariner to regard his act as evil. But what of his own code of what is right or wrong - forget the others! I'm thinking that he felt it was wrong the moment he did it.

    If he didn't feel that way, he would not have taken what later happened as proof of his guilt...he would have grieved, yes, but not associated the killing of the bird with the next disaster...

    But if he already feels he did something "not right", he will be willing to accept what follows as his fault. What do you think?

    September 6, 2000 - 05:47 pm
    so much to consider...do we think Coleridge used the poem as a way to share a guilt he already felt ? Or did in writing it he allowed his own feelings of morality come forth and shared that with the reader ? Perhaps he was surprised as I often am in the direction the poem took and he allowed his deepest beliefs to come forth and gave them to the Mariner....it is hard to say..in class I have been asked by another class member what I meant by a certain line or why I placed a comma in a certain place My answer is DARN IF I KNOW...it seemed right and so I wrote it that way...

    Perhaps the poem came to mean more to him than it had in the beginning..he was a poet and I am sure criticism was difficult to take ..so he wanted to expand and explain thus the gloss...that tells me it was VERY IMPORTANT To him to have people understand what he was saying... I can also understand his expanding the explanation or even rewriting it...long after I have forgotten I wrote something I will find it while looking for something else and like MAl said I am surprised by what I wrote ..in re reading it from a different time and a different place in my life I often revise it ...in truth it is not the same poem any more because I am not the same me.

    AH do I make sense ?? I think I need to go have a cup of hot cocoa and a plain cookie and watch something insipid on TV

    anna in Virginia

    September 6, 2000 - 06:55 pm
    anna----You make perfect sense to me. I also am a writer, though not of nonfiction. However, writing is writing and I have been surprised at the direction my original point has taken me. Once when I was working on rewriting a chapter, I had a strange experience of being in a completely different world with the words. It was just the words and me. I worked for several hours, typing and musing in this way. When the phone rang, I was completely confused by it. At first I did not know what the noise was. It must have taken me a good half minute to identify the familiar noise. So I've been in that place you and Mal describe where the writing goes in one direction when I thought we (the words and I) were headed in another direction. It is very hard to explain this process unless you have experienced it. I have also felt it when the writing seemed to be doing itself, almost without my help.

    As for Joan's question about the mariner and his guilt, I think that in PartI we know that something is tormenting the mariner since he is compelled to tell his story to a stranger and we know that it has something to do with his shooting an albatross because of the wedding guest's remarks about fiends plaguing him just before he relates "I shot the Albatross." However, this relatively small action seems unlikely to have produced this apparently tormented man. Therefore there has to be more to it. In Robby's language, PTSD would not be caused by this incident alone. It must have to do with other things that happen after he kills the Albatross. The fact that the mariner knows what happened next --though we don't yet--is what torments him.


    betty gregory
    September 6, 2000 - 07:03 pm
    Joan---only looking at how the Mariner felt about what he did, at the moment he did it---ok, but that internal perception continues on. He continues to have an impression of what he did as subsequent events unfold. All along, those external views from others are internalized. I suppose we'll get to those events in more detail, but as Robby, Faith and others have pointed out, his reactions to others' reactions are at the heart of the tale. In an awkward way, I'm saying he is his reactions.

    September 6, 2000 - 08:49 pm
    The Mariner when he is telling his tale is old, has lived the incident over and over and still he confesses to the Wedding Guest"I shot the albatross." Now no one is now accusing him. He accuses himself and it is because of the "Horrible Incident's" he has suffered and he certainly does feel ashamed and accuses himself. It is not coming from outside. It is all his own internalization of the events. Now I won't say it anymore but I understand it on a gut leval.

    To all the writers who have said they become mesmerized while writing, I do and I sometimes lose hours when I am writing. I often start with just a glimmer of an idea not an out line or any real working craftsmans tools just an idea. I write down a few words, then it is there, my muse, and later as you all have said, I wonder where it came from. Especially poetry. I have had poetry turned away for years, and the rejection letters generally say it is too personal and not broad enough in content. HUH?. Still, writers who ever they are and whether they are published or not, still must write. I do know that one never gets anywhere without discipline and learning the craft which is where I am lacking

    But Admiral Fop is not lacking in skill (or ego)and in the cabin there is a logbook that is being kept meticulously. Tonight I sneak out to the quarterdeck in my Tattersol NightRobe to check on the stars and enter the position in me book as somehow the ship that we are watching is sailing in a very southerly direction. Best keep an eye out and warn the Cap't. Would Cap't Ginny be persuaded to go back on a safer course or stubbornly to follow all the way even perhaps unto death. Ah, we will see where courage lies. I sent my steward down to the life boats looking for that stowaway. Can not give a report on him or her if I can not find them. Admiral Fop

    September 7, 2000 - 05:12 am
    I'm still here Cap'n and thought I had best make an entry so as to draw my ration of rum/grog.

    I have always liked story songs and poems, which are best read and sung aloud.  And the "Rime" is so real.  The tape as annafair described was delightful.  I, too, am quite deaf, but I closed the door and turned it up loud and read along.  The description of the crews' condition in Part II was very good.

    I wonder if it has been established how many years before, the Marinere encounters the Wedding Guest, does the tragic voyage take place.

    Has he been stopping others and told his story?

    Did he come to the Wedding scene with the idea of finding another listener?

    It would seem that the Marinere was much younger.  But then, the harrowing experience might have aged him and turned him grey over-night.

    I like the suspense and am anxious to get on to Part II.

    Now may I have my grog... This voyage is very tiring in addition to my other duties... but I will survive better than the Marinere.  I'll just not shoot the bird (good omen) that comes along.

    September 7, 2000 - 11:31 am
    I read the gloss right along with the poem. At first I found them to be distracting, even intrusive, then I began to feel that they strengthen the "moral" theme of crime and punishment of the poem, while explaining certain passages that seem ambiguous.

    I think many of Coleridge's later revisions came from the journal he kept on his lonely Malta voyage, the first extended period of ocean travel for him. Like his ancient mariner, he felt alone on the "wide, wide sea," and with his opium addiction, ill health, and the increasing estrangement from the Wordsworths, he identified with the guilt, the fear, and the terrible isolation of his poem. In fact, at that time, Coleridge was living out his own poem.


    September 7, 2000 - 12:40 pm
    Egads! We have an Admiral in a Tattersol Night Robe wandering over the deck looking for the Stowaway, the Helmsman finally reporting in for some rations and a hold full of great theories and ideas.

    Fortunately the Cap'n has been on a fishing expedition and has come back overflowing with new, if somewhat smelly, fish. Light the braziers, Cookie, it's grilled fish tonight!

    I really appreciate everybody's take on how they read the poem/ gloss, isn't it wonderful how different we all are? And, perhaps like every other living thing, we change as we age and adapt.

    I really liked YiLiLin's question of telling who we are (forgive the clumsy paraphrase) by whether or not we read the gloss.

    When I was younger, I read the gloss only, skipping the poem which I read only to memorize the parts assigned. Dear me,should I admit it? When I was young I thought as a child, I spake as a child, etc.

    But now I'm no longer young. Like the great poet Robert Southey, I could not understand it when I first came across the poem. So, since I had to memorize it, I read the assigned parts to memorize it, (and can still quote great long blocks of it) but read the gloss so I could know what the heck was going on.

    Now I read both. I read the poem first and think about it. Then I read the gloss. I know the gloss was written later, but the Coleridge Companion seems to suggest maybe it was there from the beginning, doesn't it, even IF added later?

    I spent a fascinating morning in the auto repair shop reading how the famous "Porlock incident" now is thought not to have happened, that the famous Kubla Khan poem of Coleridge was nothing as described, but was, in fact, a very carefully crafted and reworked poem not published for.....could they have said 20 years? Another myth bites the dust????

    The very best part of so many great papers read this morning was this statement, from "The Many Coleridges," by Max F. Schultz:

    Invented anecdotes by, or letters from, a Friend (who is himself) become a favorite rhetorical device in his lectures (see Coburn's Collected Works...), and of course, in his criticism...

    He came to think of himself also (or others saw him, and he accepted their judgments) as the Old Navigator (after the Ancient Mariner), as the Glossist interpreting the Mariner's tale for us....

    Dealing with Coleridge is like dealing with not one person but a dozen...One Coleridge won't do...I urge students to live with the ambiguity, undertainty, indeterminancy of many Coleridges, fitting the appropriate biographical facts and the successive stages in his personal and professional development to the appropriate piece of writing...

    What purpose does a multilayered Coleridge serve? It corrects the myth that Coleridge was a poet destroyed by opium and metaphysics and reduces to nonissue the question of why he did not live up to his promise as a poet.

    It allows us to read the poems as representative of one stage in his development, as the youthful product of an ardent imagination. It helps one resist the temptation to read the poems from the perspective of the middle and late Coleridge...It urges one to be cautious about hanging political tags on him.

    It supplements Coleridge's compositional peculiarities with a gloss of changing personalities."

    I thought that was fascinating. So the "friend" was Coleridge himself. Does this critic mean that we can then take as authentic whatever we find in the 1798 poem? Assuming we can understand it?

    I think Joan P asked the question. "There doesn't seem to be any real indication as to when these the gloss is written, does there? "

    Perhaps there is some recent scholarship which pinpoints the date of the gloss, which is more recent than the Coleridge Companion. Maryal, do you know of any recent papers on such? ? I have both the new Coleridge biographies, I will try to see if they cast any light on same.

    Maryal posted the original 1798 poem, I do so appreciate that, and have made it a link in the heading, I know a lot of people want to view it again: Original Rime: 1798. When I look back over that I see some startling things. More anon, but I think a lot of you are not going to like what I have to say.

    Faith said, "This (http://www.klise.com/lear/e-lit/e-lit.htlm) is where I find a plethora of material regarding this poem in particular. So much that I now have no ideas of my own left. Emotions that are brought up as I read the poem are still there, though not as 'reactive' as they were when I first came across this poem in childhood. "

    hahahasa I LOVE that! So many ideas that she now has none of her own left! What a perfectly wonderful statement about all of us here on this voyage, who are truly trying, truly looking hard at this poem, and truly open to the idea that perhaps it may not mean what we thought it did all along.

    Or maybe it does. The final choice will be ours alone.

    You can't know until you look hard. Unexamined faith type of thing? I myself have learned so much already, thanks to you all, that even if the computer blows up tomorrow, I now know more than I did when I taught it 30 years ago, and I confidently expect, at the hands of this crew, to learn a WHOLE LOT more before the voyage is over.

    And the Cap'n played on.....

    September 7, 2000 - 01:36 pm
    I was fascinated by YiLiLin's statement, "the 'gloss' pattern is also present in many buddhist suttras. designed I believe to broaden the range of hearers- some respond to the narrative as the telling of a parable, others respond to the verse as if they are present or omnipotently viewing the actions described."

    Again, I did not know that, YiLiLin, what do you think the effect of Coleridge's gloss is? I also like your view of the omnipotent observer...the distance that the gloss automatically gives.

    Mal and Robby were talking about writing, and it was thru Robby's mentioning he had done a search for himself on the internet and found one of his old papers that I have been able to find so many of these scholarly works I would never have dreamed existed! Thanks for that information, it's invaluable!

    I would not be surprised to learn of anything our Fairwinds did, she is without a doubt THE most exotic (don't want to embarrass her here) and fantastic person we've ever had here in our Books (now I know she's embarrassed but the truth is the truth). Magazine articles? Sure! Knowing her, she's Robert Ludlum in disguise, I kid you not.

    Betty: Seamail, hahahaaha, what a hoot, email with a porpoise, roight?hahahaha

    Shasta, I really like your take on our deciding for ourselves on the merits of the poem, without regard to the gloss. I hope that's what you said, I can't read my own handwriting. Do you all find now that you type for a hobby, that you can't write anything by pen? I can't. Even a check?

    Speaking of typing as a hobby, I think Mal mentioned SeniorNet was a recreation to her, (again, notes may be off), but certainly a pleasant thing. It's that and more to me. Our Books here are a passion with me, an obsession. I love them, truly. They are fun, they're challenging and the whole experience has been great! Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

    Admiral FOP mentioned the Frankenstein comparison from this site On the Mariner . I found a huge long thing this morning about a comparison between the Mariner and Crime and Punishment which I'll bring in later on. I love comparative lit. Thank you for that site, Admiral!

    Pat W: What an interesting theory, I have not heard it before, but it's different, he aged overnight because of his harrowing experience! Hold that thought! Dore seems to agree with you, doesn't he?

    Lorrie, your thought here ("Coleridge was living out his own poem") echoes a lot of critical thought, is this the first time you have read this poem?? So you see....let's see, do you see Coleridge writing the poem first, or coming to BE the poem afterwards?

    Who wrote this??? "

    Now no one is now accusing him. He accuses himself ."

    I can't read my notes, I thought that was a good thought. J'accuse. I like that. Who is our worst accuser, anyway? Society? What keeps us up at night? Society or ourselves? Moral, legal, social, what keeps you up at night, any of those?

    Annafair, Not sure if he was in guilt over writing for money, a lot of them did. Not all of them write ars gratia artis. Agatha Christie always wrote for money, am not sure that was frowned upon at the time, does anybody know? I simply don't know!

    I loved your quote, it reminds me of Agatha Christie, she said, "I write so I don't have to talk."

    And I loved this: "It is not the same poem any more because I am not the same me. "

    OK so now considering all we've read and Annafair's comment above, the ISSUE is just what Joan P asked:
    "What is the difference that you see between revised versions of the poem and the gloss? Should we be reading the first version that was posted...the result of the original inspiration, or the reworked version, written by a somewhat "different man" than the one who wrote the first? "

    here comes the Cap'n's own albatross, flap flap......

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 7, 2000 - 01:46 pm
    Cap'n: What scholarly works?

    Cabin Boy

    September 7, 2000 - 01:47 pm
    I thought about Nellie's post all night, so you, Nellie, know what it feels to be the Wedding Guest, I expect it was a frightening experience. Did it ever occur to you, now or then, that it was not true? That the person was, perhaps, mentally ill?

    I was fascinated by your statement that your imagination was turned off by the gloss!!!!!!! Why? Without the gloss did you get a different meaning? We must look at that deeper, especially those of you who are reading this for the first time, it's important!!

    Don't be SHY!

    Here's the bottom line: Which parts of Part I are different when the gloss is read?

    Can you name ONE?


    I see four times that words occur that are not revealed or substantiated in the text: the words South Pole, omen, line, and pious.

    Do you see any others here on the eve of leaving Part I?

    What did we decide is the subject of Part I? The Mariner killed the bird, orrrrrrrr????????????????

    Cap'n Ahab

    September 7, 2000 - 01:50 pm
    For one, Robby, the McElderry papers, long unavailable here in the libraries. If I can find the Bostetter I will sleep well tonight, I thought you had mentioned an old paper of yours and marveled that it had appeared? If not I apologize, thought you did.

    Cap'n Queeg

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 7, 2000 - 02:02 pm
    Ginny: Yes, you were correct about an old paper of mine but I was then wondering what other papers you were locating. The Internet is awesome, isn't it?


    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 7, 2000 - 06:23 pm
    Ginny, the old man who stopped me in the store and told his tale did not in the least seem insane to me; I saw pain in his eyes but not madness.

    When I said the gloss interfered with my imagination I meant more that it disturbs the way I picture the scenes in my mind. If you think of someone reading the poem aloud and someone else reading the gloss at the very same time, you will understand what I mean for in that case you cannot totally concentrate on the poem nor can you concentrate totally on the gloss.

    The gloss just restates what has already been said quite clearly in the poem itself and doesn't add anything as far as I can see.

    Joan Pearson
    September 7, 2000 - 07:41 pm
    You know, Nellie, the same sort of thing happens to me while I'm reading a book (I have the Benson series in mind now) and then see the film! My characters look nothing like those I see on my own little stage! (Mine are better!) And yet from the time I see the movie, my characters and the movie actors have to fight it out on "my stage" throughout the rest of reading of the series. Poor Mapp!

    Big mistake for me to see any film until I have finished the book(s)! Sounds like the gloss has the same effect on you. Can you cover them with little post-its or something while you read? hahaha...

    To tell the truth, I hadn't been noticing the gloss until the question was asked! The gloss appears almost like a translation as if you are reading a text in a foreign language...and when you find that you are understanding the text alright, why go back and read the translation!

    But I did go back and reread Part I (one last time) and the gloss...to find that the only time that it revealed something more than what was in the poem was describing the bird as a good omen. twice! Not only a good omen, but also "pious" - but we would have known that had we noticed as Ginny pointed out that the bird never missed vespers!

    There is a time a gloss may have helped...something I hadn't noticed before rereading tonight and I wonder if YOU had noticed?

    The Mariner describes the Storm-Blast that first beset the ship
    "And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
    Was tyrannous and strong:

    He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
    And chased us south along.

    What does this say to you? The Storm is personified as a ....bird with "O'ertaking wings", the bird is evil..."tyrannous" and strong... This bird is described as "foe"...as he chases them into the storm and ice. It is the appearance of the "pious" albatross, the one "we hailed in God's name" that was the salvation of this crew! Had you noticed the foe as the evil, tyrannous bird? Gloss may have helped, had it been there, had I read it...........

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 7, 2000 - 08:23 pm
    Faith I understand what you are saying and had to research to come up with concrete information to support what you say you are feeling and what I am also, feeling. This is my learned basic information that allows me to see the Mariner accepting the crews concept of his action as the measurement of his good or bad.

    The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone. Milan Kundera. Immortality. 1991.

    The shame experience is an experience of alienation, of being cut off or isolated from others. Indeed, threat or damage to social bonds seems to be the primary context for shame, be that a separation or some other severance of relationship. For James (1992), the pain of shame is the loss of love and the loss of feeling of unity.

    Shame is a deeper sense of worthlessness, a sense of inner, innate badness, not in relation to one’s action, but one’s very self. We feel shamed by what we are. E. Sue Blume 1990

    Stierlin (1977) examines how, in shame, an individual tries to massively blot out or avoid self-observation, to metaphorically close his eyes or deny what has occurred. In the group this may mean that shame and guilt are avoided by emphasizing the sameness of everyone.

    Shame is the experience of feeling defective to the very core of one's being. Guilt is often felt for making a mistake. Shame is the experience that YOU ARE THE MISTAKE. Shame by its nature demands secrecy and diversions. Shame is Spiritual Suicide. Vicki Underland-Rosow Ph.D.

    Adult children of Divorce feel shamed and when they experience a shaming attack they are incapable of processing information, for a shame attack is like being drunk. Diane Fassel, Ph.D

    We live in a culture that for generations has collectively and individually used shaming behavior to control its member. Yet shaming is always devastating to health and creativity. Unresolved shame is the core of many illnesses and causes needless human suffering. Christiane Norhtrup, M.D.

    Offenders set up a situation where the victim viewed survivorship as being connected to either pleasing the offender or being closely attached to the offender. Jan Hindman, Trauma Assessment 1989

    Many survivors do not realize the extent to which they make themselves the guilty party and usually the only guilty party for the abuse. Their guilt is often so strong that it is generalized to their very existence. Their guilt may result from having been blamed and scapegoat within the family. Christine A Courtois Ph.D. 1988

    There are two kinds of guilt. One is the awareness that we have done something wrong and need to make amends. The other tells us we are bad, unworthy people. The second breeds self hatred, compulsive behaviors and destructive life patterns. ISA Daily Meditation 1990.

    We may feel guilty when we do not live up to the expectations of someone close to us. I was often that sense of guilt which led us to overeat. Hazelton Meditations for Overeaters Anonymous 1980

    Survivors of abuse draw a simple inference from their experience; “If all of these bad things happened to me, then I must be bad; I must be responsible; I must not have done enough.” An in guilt, they turn their anger on themselves, removing it from their abuser and blaming themselves. E. Sue Blume 1990

    The family scapegoat is powerless to protect themselves at the same time they accept the responsibility for others’ abusive behavior because they are the “bad” one. They are taught to believe that the abusive behavior is a result of what they did or didn’t do. They believe the abusers are not responsible-- they are; it is up to them to find the answers, to make the changes. The family bond, although negative, is very powerful. Doris Bryant, MA licensed counselors 1992

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 7, 2000 - 08:24 pm
    The age-old phenomenon of scapegoating happens everywhere. It causes great anxiety and misery. Scapegoats are found in almost every social context: in school playgrounds, in families, in small groups, and in large organizations. Whole nations may be scapegoated.

    Scapegoating is a hostile social - psychological discrediting routine by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he suffers rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence. Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other individuals. Distortion is always a feature.

    In scapegoating, feelings of guilt, aggression, blame and suffering are transferred away from a person or group so as to fulfill an unconscious drive to resolve or avoid such bad feelings. This is done by the displacement of responsibility and blame to another who serves as a target for blame both for the scapegoater and his supporters. [Karpman, 1968].

    Scapegoating is an example of projective identification, with the primitive intent of splitting: separating the good from the bad. [Scheidlinger, 1982].

    Scapegoaters are insecure people driven to raise their own status by lowering the status of their target [Carter, 1996].

    Incompleteness in scapegoating exists because some of the participants have not accepted their accountability. Accountability does not decay with the passing of time.

    By what logic does someone turn with savagery against innocents, simply because, decisions in their youth were arbitrary? This is not a decision made in the heart, as those who scapegoat and form the core of hate groups are not in touch with their feelings toward others. They are in the process of learning how to suppress feelings toward others, and moving in the direction, if not already arrived, of the Service-to-Self orientation.

    What then is the motive? It is to relieve rage, which cannot be directed toward the actual source, perhaps long dead or at least buried in the subconscious, but in any direction that results in an emotional catharsis. The scapegoat, screaming and bloody or perhaps pleading for mercy and life, is viewed, at least subconsciously, as the father figure or whomever was dominant and arbitrary in the past. As the true cause of the rage is in fact not addressed, this catharsis is short lived and yet another scapegoat is sought. 1999 Foundation of Human Understanding

    Events which cause Past-Traumatic Stress Disorder include; war, floods, hurricanes, airplane and auto accidents, tornadoes, earthquakes, physical and sexual assault.

    Symptoms of PTSD include; dissociative responses (Brickman ‘84, Butler ‘78, Gelinas ‘83 Herman ‘81, Shengold ‘79,’89 summit ‘83) irrational guilt (Briere’89, Courtois ‘88, Janoff-Bulman & Frieze ‘83, Miller & Porter ‘83) sleep disturbances, flashbacks, concentration difficulties (Briere ‘89) memory problems (Gelinas ‘83, Herman’85, Herman & Schatzow’87, Maltz’88) Hyper-alertness ( Briere’89) and an intensification of symptoms when exposed to experiences that even symbolically resemble the original trauma (Briere’89).
    Yes, I see the Mariner as an ancient man telling a story that is not only about all he has been through but that he was made the scapegoat and he is filled with feelings of irrational guilt, shame and blame. Not wanting to blame the crew, his family aboard ship, a group of men that live very closely and depend on each other for survival, he will blame himself rather than risk feeling their abandonment.

    No one has the right to judge and criticize your personal qualities and performance (Patricia Evans, The verbally Abusive Relationship) Abusers claim that the one they've scapegoated "made" them act out the inappropriate behavior.

    Good will is a warmth and honesty which comes from one's deepest sense of truth. It is a concern for the other's well being as well as a strong desire to understand the other. It is demonstrated by a movement toward the other with the intention of reaching mutual understanding and respect.

    As the Mariner moved toward the albatross with the appearance of an intention toward reaching mutual respect the Mariner than betrayed the bird. Although, the Mariner says nothing about the bird "making" him shoot it. We are the ones trying to determine what made the Mariner shoot the bird.

    The Mariner's world on the southern sea is a fozen arena with no movement toward reaching mutural respect-- man with nature. The Mariner, as the ancient, did not show good will in a warm way toward the wedding guest although, he seemed to be acting from his depest sense of truth and honesty. The Mariner doesn't seem to be integrated but split in his movement toward mutual understanding and respect, warmth and honesty.

    To me the gloss simply anchored the story but I thought the sentances were pleasent but unnecessary. For me the gloss didn't seem to provide any great insight nor for that matter clarify the storyline.

    September 7, 2000 - 11:11 pm
    Thank you so much Barbara for the post re: Shame. I also feel that the gloss add no new response in me to the poem. It did make me aware of the fact that the Author did not write with the intention of telling the tale he did tell. I know that, is a confusing sentence.

    I tried to read an annodated copy of Lewis Carrolls Alice...and I couldn't do it I may try again after while. I am learning a lot from all the "crew" how to examine a work.

    I am copying the post Barb. I need to read it again. You really do know how to research a subject. Faith

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 7, 2000 - 11:55 pm
    Regarding gloss, etc., all I can do is repeat what I said at the start of this forum and that is my intention to read only the poem and nothing else, and to react in whatever way my mind leads me to react.


    September 8, 2000 - 12:17 am
    ginny...you are Too funny. i'm so far from exotic. in fact the fuel crisis has caused the country to shut down. i just bought a TGV ticket to charles de gaulle airport so i won't miss my flight to l.a. "operation escargot" is blocking the nice airport and i have NO faith that i will be able to catch my flight. a very dear friend gave me a week at cal-a-vie spa with her for a big birthday. and i have decided to sleep at the airport for the first time in my life instead of risking to miss the plane. so much for exotic.

    will see you all in six weeks...unless some of you will be in phoenix at the seniornet gathering. thanks for all your enlightening comments here. i've enjoyed the ride.

    au revoir

    Jim Olson
    September 8, 2000 - 05:17 am
    One way to look at the Gloss- and it should not be ignored because it is there- is to see it and the many revisons as part of a poetic process.

    In this view a poem is not something static but dynamic- constantly changing- changing in formation and interpretation.

    The gloss is part of that change and something that the poet seems driven to do just as the Ancient Mariner was driven to tell his tale- over and over.

    September 8, 2000 - 07:02 am
    What wonderful posts this morning. Barbara--your research on shame is very enlightening. Shame is about who you ARE; GUILT is about something you have done. Thus guilt can be useful; one can make amends, but SHAME, unless dealt with and understood, goes on and on.

    Faith, I agree. The gloss adds nothing for me, but I do see Coleridge trying to force the poem to stay still and mean what the gloss says it means. I do not trust it.

    Jim--Yes, the poem is always in movement, always starting out again for each new reader, and always moving within the consciousness of its creator also, it seems.

    Oh, a comment on "hospitality." In the ancient world, hospitality was a chief virtue. A person had to protect a stranger when the person was within his gates. Lot even offers his two daughters to the men of Sodom who are demanding that the men who are visiting be sent out. Thus, when the mariner acts "inhospitably," he is committing a great wrong.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 8, 2000 - 07:55 am
    Re: Question #2 above:--

    The phrase "water water everywhere" is an alliteration that everyone says easily, including children. I would guess that the majority of people (including adults) do not even know it comes from the "Rime" much less be able to quote the poem. It is a catchy phrase which can be applied to everyday life. Another example: So many people can say "four score and" - at that point many of them are stumped. It is catchy because the two words rhyme but most people can't go beyond that more than a word or so. I would guess that the majority of people (children and adults) have no idea that Lincoln said it or where or when or what a "score" is.


    September 8, 2000 - 09:29 am
    My very favorite stanza in the entire poem is in this section.

    "Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    upon a painted ocean."

    Day after day- can't you just feel the relentless monotony of being aboard that ship? STC even repeats it "Day after Day!"

    We Stuck! They were fixed (or fixated), firmly static, immobile at sea, with no hint of breath or motion. One feels the inertia, "like a painted ship". I love that image! Just a delineation , an outline of gray, grieviously resting on the vastness of that water.

    That line makes me shudder.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 8, 2000 - 09:33 am

    That, again, is a Figure of Speech, isn't it? -- a metaphor. These are what I described earlier as "catchy." Down-to-earth language that any "uneducated" person can understand and remember. I agree - it is a beautiful stanza!


    Shasta Sills
    September 8, 2000 - 09:34 am
    We usually say, "Water, water, everywhere. And not a drop to drink." But the poem says, "Nor any drop to drink." In the "water, water" line, the meter changes from the usual iambic tetrameter, doesn't it. What is this, trochaic tetrameter?

    September 8, 2000 - 09:36 am
    Why thanks, Robby, then I shall consider myself one of the "uneducated" ones.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 8, 2000 - 09:40 am

    "Educated" people understand it, too. In my thinking, educated is not the same as intelligent. An intelligent person who has not gone to school has no formal education but has a sharp mind.


    YiLi Lin
    September 8, 2000 - 10:36 am
    I would suggest we not gloss over the gloss...even though majority opinion is not in strong support of its contribution to the poem. I think there's something here though- take a quick read- her the telling, the language, the choice of words. It is almost as if a hollow spirit of sorts is speaking- not a direct "human" communication, a narrative form like This is a tale about... There does not seem to be real holdable seeable nouns, verbs, etc. "How a ship passed..." etc. I think the language of the gloss is adding to the overall effect of the poem, perhaps giving us hints about the nature of this journey. Though I admit that I too prefer to engage fully in the verse, the present tenseness of it.

    I wonder if the gloss is giving us opportunity to distance ourselves from the actions- especially those that reflect universal themes. Not did you ever kill something and feel guilty - but a veiled how one kills an albatross. ?

    September 8, 2000 - 11:17 am
    I think part two is some of the best verse in the whole poem.
    "About about in reel and rout
    The fire danced at night"
    I can see the phosporous on the ocean waves at night, which do dance with all the colors. I suspect the crew is now beginning to hallucinate from the dehydration. Colridge however treats all the happenings as real. The Spirits following the ship he says "are everywhere in nature." The poem does not want me to explain away the action as hallucinatory, the poem truly wants to be taken as it is at face value like a man swearing he is telling a true story when it is obvious it is not. FP

    Jim Olson
    September 8, 2000 - 01:47 pm
    I found at least one of the glosses to be quite interesting if not poetic.

    After the ancient mariner shoots the albatross he is admonished by the crew:

    Ah wretch ! said they, the bird to slay,
    That made the breeze to blow !

    The gloss preceding this adds nothing at all to the reading-

    His shipmates cry out against the ancient Mariner, for killing the bird of good luck.

    In fact it seems rather stupid to tell the reader what is obvious in the verse- except that it helps to set up the next gloss that does give us some clearer intention on the poet's part.

    A fog develops and the sun comes out and the crew changes its view:

    'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, That bring the fog and mist.

    So what else is new? we know all about the fickleness of man, his uncertainty of principle, wavering, waffling- that's what we have politicians for.

    But the poet adds an element that isn't so obvious in the poetic rendering of this revelation. His gloss claims that by doing this the crew has become guilty of the original crime as well.

    But when the fog cleared off, they justify the same, and thus make themselves accomplices in the crime.

    Thus the guilt is spread out- is made more universal- almost as if the Mariner were an agent of the crew in his crime- an interesting idea, a concept that I would not have thought of without the gloss.

    By approving of the action of another do we share the responsibility for that action?


    can we shift the responsibility for any of our actions by relating them to approval (or even disapproval) of others?

    The gloss opens the door for a wide ranging philosophical contemplation that perhaps the poem alone (at least at this point) would not? It did in my case, at least.

    Is the poet finding another way of telling us that "No man is an island?"

    Does EVIL spread outward from the mariner and infect the crew as well, or is he (and all of us by implication) infected by a universal perversity (an estrangement from natural harmony) that the crew shares with him?

    I guess it didn't really matter to the Albatross as both the Mariner and the crew get their comeuppance. And, I suppose our turn is coming.

    September 8, 2000 - 01:58 pm
    Shasta----Yes, trochaic tetrameter---in Water Water Everywhere. Still four main stresses, but the feet are troches instead of iambs. Troche= stressed/ unstressed and is the iamb turned around.

    Jim -- Interesting part of the gloss you called to our attention. The one where the guilt is spread to the crew explains what later happens to them. They share in the guilt and will be punished. It also provides an excellent example of where I think Coleridge is cheating with the gloss.

    Here's a scenario that I am making up--the poem is published. People are confused by parts of it, especially what happens to the crew. Coleridge decides to Explain Why they deserved their fate. Bah humbug. Let the poem speak.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 8, 2000 - 02:14 pm
    Cannot figure out the relationship to Josephus and the poem. At first I thought it may have something to do with all this that I read about The Rime... being a makeover of the Wandering Jew legend.

    I've simplified what I've found about Josephus. There are more sites about this guy than you could imagine. I'm linking a few.

    Flavius Josephus Jewish historian, born A.D. 37, at Jerusalem; died about 101. He belonged to a distinguished priestly family, whose paternal ancestors he himself traces back five generations; his mother's family claimed descent from the Machabeans.

    After his return to Jerusalem, the great Jewish revolt broke out in the year 66. Like most of the aristocratic Jews, Josephus at first discountenanced the rebellion of his countrymen, goaded into activity by their enslaved condition and outraged religious sentiments; when, however, fortune seemed to favour the insurgents, Josephus like the rest of the priestly nobility joined them, and was chosen by the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem to be commander-in-chief in Galilee.

    For six weeks Josephus and the boldest spirits among the insurgents defended themselves in the almost impregnable fortress of Jotapata(Yodfat). In the summer of 67, the garrison being now exhausted from lack of water and other necessaries, the Romans stormed the citadel; most of the patriots were put to the sword, but Josephus escaped the massacre by hiding in an inaccessible cistern, and emerged only after receiving an assurance that his life would be spared.

    The math game of Josephus trapped in a cave with a group of 40 soldiers surrounded by romans. The legend has it that preferring suicide to capture, the Jews decided to form a circle and, proceeding around it, to kill every third remaining person until no one was left. Josephus, not keen to die, quickly found the safe spot in the circle and thus stayed alive.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 8, 2000 - 02:18 pm
    The legend of The Wandering Jew underwent a sudden inversion when taken up by the English Romantics. Several poets chose the Wandering Jew as an emblem of unjust persecution and a lesson to Christians. Politically the very notion of sympathy in a modern context might seem patronising. But comparing these poems with the continuing derogatory use of the myth on the continent shows them to be a very positive departure. Typically, of that time, when a Jew found himself at the centre of a scandal, it immediately became a Jewish scandal, and all the Children of Israel were encompassed by its censure.

    In an unpublished scrap of Coleridge's 'Table Talk' (first published in 1933) he writes:
    It is an enormous blunder in these engravings of De Serte, brought here by Dr. Aitken, to represent the An.M. as an old man on board ship. He was in my mind the everlasting wandering Jew - had told his story ten thousand times since the voyage, which was in his early youth and 50 years before.
    It is apparent through Coleridge's own notes and translations that at the time of undertaking the Ancient Mariner, he was heavily influenced by the writings of Schiller, Lessing, Wieland and other German writers who were interested in the tale of the Wandering Jew. Other sources of the tale were available to Coleridge through Percy's Reliques Of Ancient English Poetry and Lewis's The Monk.

    The character of the Wandering Jew frequently popped up in different forms and Coleridge decided to use the form of an old sailing-man. But unlike the Wandering Jew who plays a much more passive role in Lewis's The Monk, Coleridge's version of the character is so endearing that he becomes the essence of the romance. His tale revolves around the wanderings of a changeless character in a changing world.

    The Wandering Jew, as Coleridge knew him, bore the mark of a cross on his brow. Similarly, the albatross was borne about the Mariner's neck:
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.
    The mariner, as in most versions of the Wandering Jew, wishes death upon himself, to end his indefinite suffering. The place of exile has moved from the rural wilderness of European villages, out into the uncharted oceans. Just as the Wandering Jew will forever roam, so will the Ancient Mariner, spreading his tale of tragedy. Coleridge's variant of the Wandering Jew, the man is repentant for his sin, he has prayed to God for forgiveness. Yet Nature is still turned against him. He still has to wander the earth aimlessly telling his remorseful story. He will forever be in agony for the one sin he has committed. It is an unfair persecution: his crime was not deliberate and our unqualified sympathy is elicited.

    Do your think that Coleridge is trying to show what Jim brought to our attention. That is-- that all Christians, as all the crew, are implicated in the killing of the albatross?? Then we really get this Christian message of the Albatross being Jesus --??

    Shasta Sills
    September 8, 2000 - 02:54 pm
    I thought it was funny when Coleridge said there are ghosts inhabiting the planet, and if you don't believe it, consult Josephus. I know little of Josephus, and never heard of Michael Psellus; but I thought, " Barbara will look this up for us. And if it's humanly possible to find out what Josephus said about the ghosts, she will find it." It's so nice to have a diligent researcher around to do all the hard work. All I have to do is play a few games of Solitaire and wait for Barbara to turn up the facts.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 8, 2000 - 04:18 pm
    Ok Shasta your wish will be my command - here is the skinny on old Michael--

    Michael Psellus, Byzantine statesman, scholar, and author, born apparently at Constantinople, 1018; died probably 1078. He attended the schools, afterwards learning jurisprudence from John Xiphilinos. After the ecclesiastical upheaval following the definitive separation of the Greek and Roman churches, Psellus withdrew from academic work and followed Xiphilinos to the monastery of Olympos, in Bithynia, where he took the name Michael.

    Psellus practised law, was appointed judge at Philadelphia, and under the Emperor Michael V became imperial secretary. Under Constantine IX he became influential in the state. At this time he taught philosophy at the new Academy at Constantinople arousing opposition among ecclesiastical professors by preferring Plato to Aristotle. With this change, Byzantine thought returned to the idealism of early Greek Christianity as exemplified by the 4th-century Cappadocian school of Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa.

    Psellus gained a great reputation as a philosopher. His pedagogical career was cut short by his appointment as Secretary of State to Constantine IX.

    Recalled from the monastery by the empress Theodora to serve as her prime minister, he continued in the office during the reign of his former student, the emperor Michael VII Ducas. Psellus was forced into final exile when the Byzantine Macedonian dynasty's internal struggle between aristocratic and military families resulted in Michael's deposition and the accession of the emperor Nicephorus III Botaneiates.

    Towards the end of the 1700s, a revival of interest in Gothic legends and ballads was taking place in England, as well as a new interest in German lyric and drama. Coleridge at the time had read Spenser's Faerie Queene, numerous ballads, and works by Surrey, Wyatt, Shakespeare and others. He had also gathered old myths and tales of the supernatural from travel books, such as Shelvocke's Voyage (1726), and old writings, such as Michael Psellus' De Daemonibus (11th century), which first inspired some of the spirits in Rime.

    De Daemonibus, Christ and Satan are brothers.

    "But since the archtetype is the unconscoious precondition of every human life, its life , when revealed, also reveals the hidden, unconscious ground-life of every individual. That is to say, what happens in the life of Christ happens always and everywhere. In the Christian archetype all lives of this kind are prefigured and are expressed over and over again or once and for all." This, taken together with his doctrine of the dual aspect of god, brings him into close relationship with the early Jewish-Christian Church, where, according to the testimony of Epiphanius, we find the Ebionite notion that God had two sons, an elder one, Satan, and a younger one, Christ. Michaias, one of the speakers in the dialogue, suggests as much when he remarks that "if good and evil were begotten in the same way they must be brothers--"

    There is, of course, a true doctrine aboutdemons or evil spirits, namely, that portion of Catholic theology which treats of the creation and fall of the rebel angels, and of the various ways in which these fallen spirits are permitted to tempt and afflict the children of men. But for the most part these questions will be dealt with elsewhere in this work. Here, on the contrary, our chief concern is with the various ethnic Jewish, and heretical systems of demonology. These systems are so many that it will be out of the question to deal with them all or to set forth their doctrines with completeness.

    The activity of the demon in magic arts is indicated in the works wrought by the magicians of Pharaoh, and in the Levitical laws against wizards or witches. The scapegoat is sent into the wilderness to Azazael, who is supposed by some to be a demon (see ATONEMENT, DAY OF), and to this may be added a remarkable passage in Isaias which seems to countenance the common belief that demons dwell in waste places: "And demons and monsters shall meet, and the hairy ones shall cry out one to another, there hath the lamia lain down, and found rest for herself"

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 8, 2000 - 04:22 pm
    The Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila - No one has ever paid very much attention to this futile, but exceedingly curious, work. There is but one form of the Greek text in print, and that is a very bad one, and it is to be found - reprinted from Fleck - in Vol.CXXII of Migne's Greek Patrology, appended to the works of Michael Psellus.

    The editor, if one can be found, ought to make himself acquainted with the contents of the magical papyri and the various journals which deal with folk-lore. The task brings him into contact with a great deal of obscure but interesting literature. It lies before us not only in a bad text, but in a late form. Yet it is impossible to doubt that a good deal of the matter is very old. And it is a writing which ought to be known, and is at present not at all known, to the students of comparative mythology. The book is without any doubt very foolish, and superstitious, and corrupt, and bad; but that, at the same time, it is extremely interesting and amusing, and sometimes picturesque.

    I'm simplifying the Solomon story: Solomon tells us that while the Temple was being built, the demon Ornias came every evening to the son of the clerk of the works (protomagister, he is called) and took from him half his wages and half his rations, and sucked his right thumb (a trait which appears in quite late witch trials), so that the youth, of whom Solomon was fond, grew daily thinner. The King found out what was going on, and prayed for guidance and help, whereupon the archangel Michael brought him a ring engraved with the pentalpha ("Solomon's seal" we call it now)

    It was given to the youth, and when Ornias next came, his victim pressed the signet on his breast and bade him come to Solomon. The demon came with cries and remonstrances, promising all the treasures of the earth to the boy if he would take the seal away, and stood before the palace gates, yelling and trembling. Solomon came forth and questioned him about his name and his habits, and thereafter sent him to fetch Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. So Ornias went and said to Beelzebub, "Come, Solomon calleth thee." And Beelzebub said, "Tell me, who is this Solomon of whom you speak." And Ornias cast the ring upon the breast of Beelzebub, saying, "Solomon the King calleth thee." And Beelzebub cried out with a loud voice, and cast forth a great flame of fire, and rose up and followed Ornias. And when they were come before Solomon, the king of the demons promised that he would bring any or all of his subjects into Solomon's presence, bound.

    This is the introduction to a series of dialogues with demons. A few questions are asked about each creature's habits, what class of man he specially infests, and to what constellation or angel he is subject; and then he is set to work at some menial business, or has to help in building the Temple. Fifty-six demons are thus dealt with beside Ornias and Beelzebub. Many of their answers to Solomon are in our present text quite unintelligible, but many of them afford us extremely curious pieces of information.

    This story forms the text of a conversation between Solomon and Ornias, in which finally the demon tells how he and his kind fly up into the firmament, and there listen to the sentences that go forth against the sons of men. But they cannot stop there long. They fall like lightning, and "when men see us they think that stars are falling from heaven." Apparently this is still true; at least I remember hearing a Greek in Cyprus say, when he saw a shooting star, "There is the devil running" - trekhei to daimon.

    This same story of the old man and his son appears among the fragments of the Syriac Obsequies of the Virgin. Its setting is gone; we cannot tell exactly how or why it was introduced in so odd a connection.

    A longer story follows, of a demon which caused a wind fatal to life to blow in Arabia, how Solomon caught it in a skin bottle, and how while still in the bottle it carried up and set in its place the corner-stone which the builders had rejected because of its huge size and weight. This demon, whose name was Ephippas, then brought another mighty spirit, imprisoned in the Red Sea, and with him a mysterious column which is often mentioned in the Testament. This column the two demons were condemned to support in the air until the final judgment. There it may be seen to this day hanging obliquely in the air. Clearly some constellation is meant - perhaps the Milky Way.

    Jim Olson
    September 8, 2000 - 07:42 pm
    I think the gloss deserves more consideration than a simple dismismal as a second attempt to explain in prose what the poet could not achieve in verse.

    Another way to look at is is as another attempt at revision (there certainly were many) this time incorporating some prose elements along with poetic ones.

    I find some of the glosses quite poetic in nature themselves;

    In his loneliness and fixedness he yearneth towards the journeying Moon, and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward ; and every where the blue sky belongs to them, and is their appointed rest, and their native country and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival.

    I didn't imply by my earlier post that the Albatross was a symbol for Christ.

    That is not my interpretaion at all. I think, instead that the reference to the cross is intended to contrast the Albatross with the cross and go beyond it- not to identify it with it.

    The verse is pretty literal :

    Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
    Had I from old and young !
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.

    "Instead of"- not a smilie with as or like or any kind of metaphor at all- no sensual comparisons

    As he does throughout the poem Coleridge is expanding his vision of guilt, punishment, and expiation not narrowly focusing it on Christian symbols alone. And not rejecting them either.

    And he uses the gloss as well as the verse to achieve this as he does in the gloss :

    A Spirit had followed them ; one of the invisible inhabitants of this planet, neither departed souls nor angels ; concerning whom the learned Jew, Josephus, and the Platonic Constantinopolitan, Michael Psellus, may be consulted. They are very numerous, and there is no climate or element without one or more.

    neither departed souls nor angels- expanding further to a reference to the learned Jew and the Platonic- etc(whom we have learned more about expanding our vision as well.)

    and not limiting us at all- no climate or element without-

    September 8, 2000 - 11:35 pm
    Prose wants you to see things as the author sees them ..poetry allows you the opportunity to interpret as it applies to you. When I read any poem but especially a narrative like Rime I first just enjoy the song it sings to me..Then I think what did the poet want to say to himself and finally how does it apply to me.

    Jim points out the Albatross was not a symbol for the cross .I think it was description of how weighty the Albatross was.. we know from reading the Bible the cross was heavy and caused Jesus to stagger( as a reminder crucifixion was a means of punishment and many suffered that punishment)

    I like to think of some of the questions asked earlier....havent we all had an albatross around our neck? Havent we all done something we wished we hadnt and our families, friends and society makes us carry it with us ...and we need to be relieved of that burden...so we can go on..since the sailors are all dead they cant give the Mariner the forgiveness he desires and needs and he cant seem to forgive himself. He wants the listener to tell him I understand, it is all right.

    And the question havent we all hurt someone we loved? The albatross was welcomed, it was fed and favored and he shot it. I cant decide whether he meant to or if he was a hunter ( why else would he have a crossbow with him) prehaps he was just enjoying lifting it and thinking of using it to hunt ...and there was this broad expanse of the birds breast in his sight...his arrow was in place and he let it fly. His remorse may have been immediate. Although the crew protested the ship sailed on and all seemed well..he allowed himself to feel it was okay....later when the troubles came and his killing of the albatross was considered the catalyst he may have felt somewhat annoyed..but the disaster was so complete and the loss of all the men on board so devastating...and he was left alone for a long time never knowing if he would make it home. What he wanted most was thier forgiveness. First for killing the albatross and second for surviving. It was the defining moment in his life.

    Perhaps the poem was a defining moment in Coleridges life as well. Perhaps that is why he wrote the gloss , why he returned to it . Now I see it is nearly 2am EST and my mind is finished thinking ...so I will hope you all are well ...that your albatross is really just the size of a hummingbird and the weight of a butterfly...anna in Virginia

    YiLi Lin
    September 9, 2000 - 08:57 am
    Ah Jim we're in synch on the gloss. I especially agree with your post noting the room for philosophical interpretation. In fact, I've been thinking of the gloss as the "Greek Chorus" of the Rime.

    So- Barbara- how about a little refresh on the role of the chorus and Shasta while we wait- how about dealing a hand of double solitaire.

    September 9, 2000 - 09:13 am
    Great posts and great information here this morning, but even greater is the Part II of the poem itself.

    Doesn't it blow you AWAY?

    Boy talk about condensed thought! Talk about beautiful writing!!!

    Coleridge really really does a job on us in this section and I'm totally delighted to see all the interpretations here and.... behold, all the people looking further, for figures of speech and meter. Eureka! We're on a roll.

    But hist! Here we are in Part II and
    We have been boarded by a Spirit! Jim O, Spirit of the Books has slipped along side and boarded in the night! Welcome, Blithe Spirit!

    With some excellent questions, two of which are going immediately in the heading.

    We never answered the Question: What's the subject of Part I? What's the subject of Part II??

    Your answer to that will tell a lot about how YOU feel about the gloss, and a lot of other things. I know a lot of us brought our own interpretations here on the first day and I know a lot of us totally disagree. Let's continue watching carefully.

    In looking at the gloss and the original verses, the word "pious," which I find to my shock has 5 disparate meanings, can or can not mean associated with religion. Thus the leap between the bird attending church services (vespers nine occuring in both versions of the poem) and the bird being a religiously oriented (gloss) cannot readily be made, at least by me. It's fanciful to think the bird never misses a church service and thus is religious in nature, but it doesn't compute, either.

    The word "omen," is another unsubstianted hint about causality. The ice split, the bird is an omen. In Part I that's all that happened. The gloss points out the "omen" part, but the connection between causality might never come up, cf. Matlak's:

    "Coleridge writes a narrative that seems to hang together but that is an illusion at the level of causation, as when the mariners sit stuck in the ice, the albatross shows up, they feed it, and then the ice jam breaks and they sail on.

    We are likely to see in this course of events what they see-- causation, rather than coincidence.

    The ice broke becaus they fed the albatross, which obviously was a supernatural visitor. But I doubt that evidence from the poem supports these assumptions. For the moment, I'm sure that the opposite can be shown, that the mariners' primitive attempt to read causation into things gets them into real trouble. Of course the text doen't say that the specter ship has come to revenge the Mariner's act and the mariners' general culpability. I'm filling that in because of my insatiable desire to seee causation instead of absurdity....

    The general point is that whenever something happens in sequence our cognitive reaction is to assume causal relation."

    Do you agree or disagree with Matlak here? WAS the bird a good omen or a pious figure? Who do you trust, the gloss, the poem, or the combination?

    Did you notice in the original poem that the mariner had had a personal relationship with the bird and that was later changed? Wonder why that was changed?

    More anon.....

    Shasta Sills
    September 9, 2000 - 09:24 am
    Well, Barbara, bless you, you did find something interesting, didn't you? I never knew Christ had a brother named DeDaemonibus. He was probably the blacksheep in the family; that's why we never heard of him. No, seriously, the word probably derives from daemon, meaning a lesser god, or nature spirit.

    And when you said, "But since the archetype is the unconscious precondition...." who are you quoting, Carl Jung? Sounds like pure Jung to me. Christ would represent the good in human nature; Satan would represent the bad in human nature; and the demons represent the natural instincts that we inherit from our animal forebears. Instincts are not necessarily evil, but they can be troublesome, and need to be controlled if we are going to become civilized.

    I had heard that Coleridge was a prodigious reader and had a photogenic memory, but imagine digging up something like Psellus. The man must have read everything!

    Jim, I agree that some of the gloss is interesting. His bringing up Josephus and Psellus reminds me of T.S. Eliot. His poetry made so many references that you had to keep an enclyclopedia handy when you read it.

    September 9, 2000 - 09:29 am
    Admiral Fop has taken to her cabin with a headache. It is the blazing sun that has caused it and chased her off the quarter deck. She will return at twilight to check out the stars. We find the smell of the boat off to out starboard is also drifting over here. We need to stay in our cabin. Adm'l.Fop

    September 9, 2000 - 10:03 am
    The gloss as Greek chorus is very interesting, YiLiLin, I like that. Likewise, Jim O has put his finger on the premiere event of Part II, in his asking of questions 9 and 10 above.

    I think these lines are among the most electric in all literature.

    I do appreciate all that wonderful research, Barb, and I liked your discourse on the "scapegoat," too.

    Maryal will have to correct me but I believe the idea of a "goat" and scapegoat originated with the Tribes of Israel who routinely placed things in a pouch worn by a real goat symbolizing their sins and their donations for expiation of those sins, and drove it out of the town. Thus the idea of something or somebody other than the person commiting the wrong doing was born.

    Jim's explication of the poem and his questions 9 and 10 are very important.

    Which way are they heading? not the way they want to go. "Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay, that makes the breeze to blow."

    Yep, your fault, Ancient Mariner.

    And it was his fault, wasn't it?

    He's the one who committed the sin.

    But then a good breeze comes up, and the alliteration in the stanza, the repitition of words beginning with "f" fairly (sorry~) bombards the reader with speed:

    The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
    The furrow followed free;

    Alliteration: repetition of initial letters for effect.

    Have had a request this morning to go back thru Parts I and II and point out the figures of speech,meters, etc., from a reader here who wants to learn those and will do that in the morning. We can put that in an HTML page and everybody PLEASE pipe up!!!

    So things are going well for the Mariners so they say, "Tis right, said they, such birds to slay, which bring the fog and mist."

    OK JIm's questions above: 9. By approving of the action of another do we share the responsibility for that action? ---

    I would say, in this case, yes. I would argue thus: the mariners could have said, you really shouldn't have done that, it was an awful thing. You did it, you're at fault.

    When they say, it was right, then they made a moral judgment, they condemned themselves by virtue of omitting to do the right thing, a sin of omission rather than one of comission. Or maybe both.

    First they just tried to pin the blame on him, this is an old old story as Jerryj said a while back, in literature, "not me, not me!"!!! Every child knows this tale too. "HE did it."

    But then when it was efficacious for them to do so, they recanted, damned the bird and themselves in one blow.

    I can't remember if they EVER made any reliable judgments in Part I, either, one of our earlier questions.

    Question # 10. Can we shift the responsibility for any of our actions by relating them to approval (or even disapproval) of others?

    To this one I would answer no, and the Mariner, to his credit, is not trying to shift the blame. HE'S not the one trying to find a scapegoat, they are.

    All this harks back to whether or not YOU perceived the Mariner's act in killing the bird to be evil. If you don't think so, then the mariners's subsequent death will mean nothing, will it?

    If you do think so, do you think they deserved the fate they are about to receive?

    Do you think that the bird governed the winds and tides and do you think the Mariners were right in their last pronouncement?


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 9, 2000 - 10:07 am
    Re: Question 1.

    The Mariners changed their minds because that's the nature of the human beast. Instant gratification. Whatever I think is beneficial to ME at the moment is what I am for. Never mind what I said yesterday.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 9, 2000 - 10:18 am
    Shasta, all 201 minus one web site that came up as I researched De Daemonibus was written in Latin. Now I still have a little memory of my High School latin but, not that much and my translater does modern languges but alas no latin. Most of the headings had an English synopsis of what it was all about and that is how I learned it meant this connection with Christ and Satin. The one english site wasn't very helpful but I kept following the links till I found the Bible story of Solomon which is a conversation with Satan.

    My own personal take on this concept, and I may be repeating myself, but, the saying goes that the dynamics if you would, or all the elements of the universe are in a piece of sand. Also, the concept that is especially Taoist in nature is that all of mans nature is within each of us and we simply choose what to act on. Therefore, the behavior we would ascribe to Satan would be the other side of the behavior that we choose that eminates from Christ or Harmany or a Higher Power and both would be within each of us. Although it may not be a pleasant activity, we could each go still and truely be in touch with either source of behavior.

    As to this albatross-- I think for each of us the bird will be a personal symbol. There have been times in my life when I hurt myself. I did not feel powerful enough to hurt the one who hurt me or in some instances I believed I had an obligation to support the one who hurt me. But the pain and rage I felt was so great I ended up carrying that pain and rage with me affecting my life much as hanging the albatross around my neck.

    It took me a long time to learn that forgiveness is not to befriend or be accepting of the behavior or a person that continues their painful behavior but that forgiveness is to let go and let their God take care of them.

    I learned that no one can make me feel better. that is my task and if I look for the one that hurt me to say something that would make me feel better I will only be dependent on them in order to feel better because they have said the thing that I want to hear.

    So yes, while I contuned to carry my Albatross I felt like everyone could see that I was no good, as the one that hurt me said and treated me and therefore, isolation felt safe and not speaking up was my role and accepting more pain from others was appropriate and trying to please everyone was my due.

    And funny thing, I also learned once you hang an albatross around your neck society is quite happy supporting you in that endeavor. Society likes to have scapegoats around and if you will accept the role others will not only support you in that role but they will help you along with a little more blame. And so again, I learned if I view myself with an albatross around my neck than why would I expect others to not see it or take it off. They probably knew that if they took it off I would simply put it back on. I am the one that needs to remove my own albatross.

    Ok with that I am off to find Greek Chorus and how it could relate. Did anyone figure out what Coleridge was refering to with his reference to Josephus?? I still do not get that connection and it may be something that those educated in that time of history were seeing.

    Shasta Sills
    September 9, 2000 - 10:34 am
    Barbara, you're right. Everybody's always looking for a scapegoat. And if you're willing to assume that role, they will gladly jump right in and blame all their problems on you. And once you accept that role, all the religion, psychology, and philosophy in the world will never get that albatross off your neck. I know this from personal experience.

    September 9, 2000 - 10:59 am
    But why would they think it was to their advantage to change their minds, Robby?

    Speaking of Robby, let me divert a moment and mention something he called our attention to a long time ago: simile:

    "As who pursued with yell and blow..." (comparison of man with ship)

    Simile is the comparison of two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as.

    "Nor dim, nor red, like God's own head,
    The glorious sun uprist;"

    "As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.

    "And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
    As green as emerald."

    "Red as a rose is she..."

    "And listens like a three year's child:"

    Andrea's favorite verse:

    "Day after day,day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;"

    Contains an interesting metrical device: spondee:

    Spondee (in meter two equally stressed syllables, a metre suitable for solemn ceremonies).

    So you've got Day after Day nice bouncy rhyme, and then:

    WE STUCK! (//) BAM! BAM!

    Again Coleridge uses his meter to make the boat stick fast.

    There is SO much in this poem.

    More anon,

    September 9, 2000 - 11:11 am
    The Mariner did not hang the albatross around his own neck, the other mariners did. They did so in emulation of the "goat" practices of the past, to draw the attention of the "spirits" to the person who had caused their problem, or what they perceived as their problem, their lack of water, the heat and the dryness.

    Why are they without water?

    The gloss says, "The shipmates, in their sore distress, would fain throw the whole guilt on the ancient Mariner; in sign whereof they hang the dead sea-bird round his neck."

    The poem and the gloss are pretty clear.

    What does the Mariner mean by "instead of the cross, the Albatross about my neck was hung?"


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 9, 2000 - 11:17 am
    The image of my high school teacher is hovering over my shoulder and she would not forgive me if I did not emphasize the difference between a simile and a metaphor -- both Figures of Speech. A simile uses the words "like" or "as." "Listens like a three year's child." A metaphor also makes a comparison but does not use these words. "A painted ship upon a painted ocean."

    OK, Miss Goodrich? You feel better now?


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 9, 2000 - 12:50 pm
    Wow!!! Yili Lin really hit on something here-- me smells the work of a teacher at hand I have spent the better part of the last 2 hours enthralled with all I have learned. Thank You -- This is fabulous - of course the eyes of the sailors are like a Greek Chorus. Here goes with a sampling of what I have found in an abbreviated form--

    The Greek Chorus danced and sang in unison, but could divide into two groups that performed in turn (some extant plays even require two full choruses). At times the chorus acted as a single entity, speaking lines in dialogue with an actor, but occasionally individual members of the chorus spoke a few lines alone.

    The chorus functioned technically in tragedies to give information, to add color and life and sound, to set the mood and pace. More importantly, standing in the orchestra between the actors and the audience, sometimes part of and sometimes outside of the action, it functioned as a link between the world of the play and that of everyday people. It was sometimes the moral commentator that established the ethical and social framework for the action, the storyteller that could link the immediate action to the larger Greek mythos and connect it to the wider context. It could coach the audience, translating the intellectual and moral problems of the events, or act as the "ideal spectator," responding to the events as the playwright felt the audience should. Its emotional responses moved the thoughts and feelings of the audience.

    At times the chorus is the character who, unlike the rigid and strongly opinionated named characters, is free to weigh options and to change its mind. The chorus shifts its position throughout the play, and is swayed by each character's best arguments. This fluctuation is useful, for it validates the opposing claims, leaving no definite right. Sophocles uses the chorus to maintain those chorus opinions that appear settled in Antigone that are actually equivocal. What appears as a condemnation of Antigone would serve equally well as a denunciation of Creon in a later stage of the play. Each rebuke at Creon's pride could just as well serve as a criticism of Antigone's self-righteous posturing as a martyr. The chorus demands that the audience constantly re-evaluate, and so helps the audience toward discernment, and even wisdom.

    Using classic dramatic conventions, Woody Allen adapts Greek Drama to Modern Manhattan Comedy and discovers Aphrodite in New York. We meet the ancients in modern context: Cassandra the prophetess, Tiresius the blind seer, the Chorus with its constant commentary (like colleagues on a newsgroup or a listserv) the wise-guy Greek chorus to comment on the intrigue. Initially, the chorus behaves as a Greek chorus ought to--commenting, from a remote amphitheater, on the moral and ethical decisions of the characters. But after a while people in togas begin to stumble into the action of the film.

    We know that Coleridge was reading and influenced by the German authors and this site has this to say-- The mid to late 19th century German Romantic aesthetic in general has been, and still is,a major structural technique and pivot point for many of the successful films to come out of Hollywood from its birth to the present day...The conventions of the ancient Greek tragedy and how it has had an emphasis on "Patriot Games" and its sequel "Clear and Present Danger", in terms of these films' plots and musical scores.

    The Greek chorus, while not playing specific instruments, are called upon, like all good Greek choruses, to comment on and amplify on the 'plot' at large. In order to express that appearance through images the lyrical poet must employ the whole register of emotions, from the whisper of love to the roar of frenzy; moved by the urge to talk of music in Apollonian similitudes, he must first comprehend the whole range of nature, including himself, as the eternal source of volition, desire, appetite.

    No matter how turbulently all that he beholds through the musical medium may surge about him, when he looks at himself through that medium he will discover his own image in a state of turmoil: his own willing and desiring, his groans and jubilations, will all appear to him as a similitude by which music is interpreted. Such is the phenomenon of the lyric poet. Being an Apollonian genius, he interprets music through the image of the will, while he is himself turned into the pure. unshadowed *eye of the sun, utterly detached from the will and its greed.

    *eye of the sun-- is this a phrase borrowed from The Rime... or does it help us better understand Coleridge using eyes of sailors and the sun in the poem.

    Friedrich Nietzsche suggests The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music.

    Western drama has its origins in the ancient Greek theatre which then evolved through the Italian street theatre of the commedia dell'arte through to the French pantomime blanche, through to Vaudeville and radio, and film and finally television. television programs like 'Spitting Image' and 'Saturday Night Live' hearken back to the topical humor of Aristophanes. Opera, French classical tragedy and 19th- and 20th-century Irish drama feature Greek themes.

    There are sites that show the modern use of Chorus from-- the citizens lined up along the roadside holding handwritten signs proclaiming "O.J. We Love You" and "Go, Juice, Go." to the Chorus in action the press debating and keeping the Clinton story alive as compared to the public that said enough and than the sub- groups of political and morlists having their say.

    Tucked in the many sites is this one that makes me really question if we act based on what is socially correct or from our God centered base. If there is no God what is there instead

    And I just love what Paul McCarty thought through and see this as a wonderful devise for looking at life from different perspectives.

    Let's develop alter egos so we're not having to project an image which we know. It would be much more free. What would really be interesting would be to actually take on the personas of this different band. We could say, 'How would somebody else sing this? He might approach it a bit more sarcastically, perhaps.' So I had this idea of giving the Beatles alter egos simply to get a different approach; then when John came up to the microphone or I did, it wouldn't be John or Paul singing, it would be the members of this band. It would be a freeing element. I thought we can run this philosophy through the whole album: with this alter-ego band, it won't be us making all that sound., it won't be the Beatles, it'll be this other band, so we'll be able to lose our identities in this.

    If the chorus is to by understood as to its place Bryn Mawr Classical Review poses three questions about the choruses of Ancient Greece:
    1. who are their protagonists?,
    2. in what kind of religious rituals did they participate?, and
    3. what was their social function?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 9, 2000 - 02:00 pm
    I wonder why a painted ship is especially idle?? Or maybe it is a discription that depicts a stillness of a painting?? A painted ship on a painted ocean??

    In trying to answer the questions suggested in the Bryn Mawr site--

    1.who are their protagonists? I would say both the Mariner and the forces of nature; sea, wind, sun, ice, fog etc.

    2.in what kind of religious rituals did they participate? Would the hanging of the albatross be considered for practical purposes a ritual? Certainly their superstitions but what about, is feeding the Albatross also a ritual as we are hospitable to strangers or even communion?

    Looking at this with fresh eyes I noticed that this is repeated
    For all averred, I had killed the bird
    That made the breeze to blow.

    Then all averred, I had killed the bird
    That brought the fog and mist.
    I understand repetition in Lit. is making an important point. I became curious as to what the word averred means. I do not have a dictionary of word usage from the 18th and early 19th c. My dictionary shows me two possibilites.

    Averse or Avert-- both meaning To turn away in mind or feeling; unfavorable; to avert danger by turning away.

    Or could Coledge be combining this word Averrhois with Averse and be combining two thoughts? Averred could it be a reference to Averrhoism-- the doctrines of Averrhoes and his disciples, who, in their effort to find a deductive philosophy independent of Christian doctrine taught an imperfect an misleading interpretation of Aristotle.

    3.what was their social function? The ship needed the crew in order to sail the seas. Alone the Mariner could not sail the ship. hmmm is that suggesting we cannot be independent of society when we choose our behavior? And since the crew placed the Albatross around the Mariner's neck what is that saying about the correctness of the judgement of the sailors? As Robby and Ginny pointed out they do flip flop.

    September 9, 2000 - 09:02 pm
    Here's AVER--

    transitive verb
    averred; aver·ring
    Pronunciation: &-'v&r
    Etymology: Middle English averren, from Middle French averer, from Medieval Latin adverare to confirm as authentic, from Latin ad- + verus true -- more at VERY
    Date: 15th century

    1 a : to verify or prove to be true in pleading a cause
    b : to allege or assert in pleading
    2 : to declare positively

    Busy busy today. Baksoon

    betty gregory
    September 10, 2000 - 05:26 am
    Did anyone else who loves Barbara as much as I do chuckle when she wrote, "...here's what I found in an abreviated form..." That's just like my saying (in person) that a story I'm about to tell isn't very long.


    (And thank goodness, in Barbara's case.)


    Thanks for the reminder on simile vs. metaphor, Robby. (p.s. and thanks for editing some previous word of mine ??? to an adverb)


    On Albatross neck-hanging----There is much to contemplate on Barbara's thoughts of a compliant neck and Ginny's literal "but someone else hung it there." (my quotes, not hers) I'm wondering at what point did the albatross around the mariner's neck go from who-hung-it-there to who-kept-wearing-it.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 10, 2000 - 05:29 am

    But Ginny pointed out, and rightly so, that Painted Ship on Painted Ocean was a simile, not a metaphor as I said, because it contained the word "as."


    September 10, 2000 - 06:21 am
    GREAT point, Betty!

    What choice did he have?

    If I'm stuck on a ship with 200 angry men and they hang something, anything, around my neck, you better believe it's going to stay there. What choice do I have? Sleep with the fishes?

    Robby and I have picked up two Spirits on our voyage here, Miss Goodrich and Miss Haas, it's kinda of nice to remember our old teachers, I think. How about you, do you have any memories of fine teachers you'd like to add to the Spirit Crew this morning?

    I got up feeling sorry for the mariners, this morning. Poor souls. They are out of water, it's so hot and dry. Some of my favorite lines in all poetry: nor dim, nor red, like God's own head. Oh I love that, two negatives and the switch to a postive.

    Obviously the marniers had not expected to be out this long, tho they originally set sail for the south?

    But now there is no water in the hold, obviously they have been detained. They are helpless. They depend on the power of the wind: there is none. They are helpless to the vagaries of life.

    They are panicky, just like any of us when something goes terribly wrong, they ask selves, what did WE do to deserve this?

    What did they do?

    I was wondering this morning if the Mariner had killed one of the other sailors, would all this have happened at all?

    I think this part, right here is where people either pick up a lot of symbolism or don't. This part, Part II, is the defining part.

    You either tie into it here or you don't.

    Which camp are you in?

    More on your comments tomorrow.

    (Smell, Admiral FOP??? SMELL??? hahhahaa) What's it smell like?


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 10, 2000 - 06:51 am
    My observations and opinions: A painted ship on a painted ocean doesn't go anywhere. It does not move. That is why Coleridge used the simile.

    Much of what Coleridge writes in the Rime is based on superstition, not religion. The supersitious seamen equated the shooting of the albatross, a good omen in their minds, with the becalming of the ship, thus the hanging of the albatross around the Ancient Mariner's neck. The allusion to the cross by Coleridge was simply to show the weight and burden that the Ancient Mariner had to bear with this huge bird draped over his shoulders.

    There have been numerous superstitions about the sea among seamen for thousands of years. To my mind the spirits were based on those superstitions. It might be interesting to find out what some of those sea superstitions were and are, rather than seek out religious comparisons or other less obvious and perhaps less applicable explanations for what Coleridge is saying here.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 10, 2000 - 07:57 am
    Yes Mal I agree to learn what some of the superstitions were would be so fine and I remember trying to research that last week without much success. Found a link to sea shanties but that was it.

    I guess those that know and love the sea just don't have time to sit at a computer. Aren't you at Annapolis Mal? Or is it Maryal that is from Annapolis? If you are from Annapolis maybe you have access to information about sailor's superstitions.

    Well Betty.....what can I say....it was abreviated compared to all that I read-- pinky finger honest.

    Thanks for finding 'averren' and its root Mal. Of course the phrase makes sense now.

    Ginny with so many of us getting something different out of this poem I have lost the thread of your thinking. Are you saying-- the Mariner did bad and knows it-- and than the crew finds what he did benefited them so all is well-- than they flip flop when they are becalmed and deside he did wrong and hang the bird around his neck-- and because there is one against 200 he keeps it there???

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 10, 2000 - 08:58 am
    Barbara, I live in inland North Carolina, but will see what I can find about sea superstitions. By the way, it was Maryal who gave the definition of aver. Her name and my name are easily confused, I guess!


    September 10, 2000 - 09:21 am
    The reason you're confused over my theories, Barbara, is because I don't have any yet. hahaah I'm confused too.

    Believe it or not, I'm struggling with it the same as some people here who are new to it.

    I'm seeing things I never saw before.

    And those things are changing how I originally felt about the poem. I saw it as an undergraduate as an analogy for the crucifixion of Christ. I never thought a bird was Christ, how on earth odes that compute?

    But I did see some parallel, or thought I did, and it's going up in smoke.

    So the reason you don't see my point of view is that I don't have one, so I keep swinging from side to side trying to understand each side, and as Faith's second line proclaims, if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything, so I'm trying very hard to stand for something today.

    But I'm going to wait until the end of the poem till I say what my conclusions are.

    I repeat if I were on a ship with 200+ angry men and they put a bird around my neck (and that's all that happened in Part II) I would wear it.

    Ablatross Annie

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 10, 2000 - 09:22 am
    I often hear the expression "giving them the bird." Now I know what it means.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 10, 2000 - 09:26 am
    Here is a link to only one page among many that discusses sailors' superstitions about the sea. Scroll down to read about sea serpents.
    Superstitions, Myths, Strange Facts, Legends and Stories

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 10, 2000 - 09:38 am
    I discovered that the Ocean Almanac is a good source of information about the superstitions seamen have held about the sea down through the ages. If anyone has access to a library, perhaps he or she could check this book out. I mentioned here before, I think, that walking access to the library here makes it impossible for me to use this facility.


    YiLi Lin
    September 10, 2000 - 10:04 am
    A painted ship upon a painted ocean- ---perhaps an illusion, paintings are often reflections of the artists inner landscape, and to me that's what this poem is about- especially in part II. A call for self-reflection.

    And thanks Barbara, the chorus assists in self-reflection, though they flipflop and sometimes chant a discordant note, it is the examined spirit that answers back.

    YiLi Lin
    September 10, 2000 - 10:10 am
    This talk of rituals makes me think of the B.F. Skinner experiment, when he put the pigeon in a box and fed the bird hmm was it every 15 minutes? After a while, even though the pigeon was fed automatically regardless of any actions, the bird engaged in ritualistic behavior that was similar to those birds who had to "perform a task" for their food pellets.

    It has been suggested that this experiment gives a peak at the development of rituals in traditional cultures. People needed to believe there was a relationship between themselves and the cosmos, they danced and crops grew, the sang and the sun rose, etc.

    This is perhaps the "rime" of the ancient mariner, the crew represents those forces that need to believe there are controlling forces, when those forces do not act- as in a becalmed sea- whether for good or bad- these kind of men engage in rituals. the mariner on the other hand, I think, represents the energy that is- in Barbara's words the Tao, movement and stillness, things that cannot be controlled. Death.

    September 10, 2000 - 12:24 pm
    Here's the 1798 version of The Ancient Mariner, published in The Lyrical Ballads. Again, Coleridge makes a number of changes. The most obvious one to me is that he gets rid of much of the deliberately archaic language.

    Part II----1798, first published edition in The Lyrical Ballads

    The Sun came up upon the right,
    Out of the Sea came he;
    And broad as a weft upon the left
    Went down into the Sea.

    And the good south wind still blew behind,
    But no sweet Bird did follow
    Ne any for food or play
    Came to the Marinere's hollo!

    And I had done a hellish thing
    And it would work 'em woe;
    For all averr'd I had kill'd the Bird
    That made the Breeze to blow.

    Ne dim ne red, like God's own head,
    The glorious Sun uprist:
    Then all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
    That brought the fog and mist.
    T'was right, said they, such birds to slay
    That bring the fog and mist.

    The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
    The furrow follow'd free:
    We were the first that ever burst
    Into that silent Sea.

    Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt down,
    'Twas sad as sad could be
    And we did speak only to break
    The silence of the Sea.

    All in a hot and copper sky
    The bloody sun at noon,
    Right up above the mast did stand,
    No bigger than the moon.

    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, ne breath ne motion,
    As idle as a painted Ship
    Upon a painted Ocean.

    Water, water every where
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water every where,
    Ne any drop to drink.

    The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
    That ever this should be!
    Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
    Upon the slimy Sea.

    About, about, in reel and rout
    The Death-fires danc'd at night;
    The water, like a witch's oils,
    Burnt green and blue and white.

    And some in dreams assured were
    Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
    Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
    From the Land of Mist and Snow.

    And every tongue thro' utter drouth
    Was wither'd at the root;
    We could not speak no more than if
    We had been choked with soot.

    Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
    Had I from old and young;
    Instead of the cross the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 10, 2000 - 03:03 pm
    Where is the 'silent sea'? Since they have made it back to the Line, which I assume to be the Equator that is where the silent sea is found. The ship is becalmed in the doldrums

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 10, 2000 - 06:26 pm
    Great site Nellie! The additional links are wonderful.

    Maryal are these two lines extra? I do not remember them in the version I am reading. The lines sure add to the flip flop thinking of the sailors.
    T'was right, said they, such birds to slay
    That bring the fog and mist.

    Interesting Yili Lin-- I wonder if our pull toward ritual is the need to control or, a natural pull that Aquianus speaks, the natural pull toward God which most societies use ritual to either go within or pray to a greater power in the universe. Seems to me the concepts of Taoism are not as easily aquired as a natural response but must be learned. Although there are some that innately trust the universe.

    Maryal by following some of the suggested links on your site I was suprised to learn that sea monsters really do exist. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that sailors really saw the backs of porposses. The fear of being so far out to sea primed their imagination and they thought these creatures were large monsters with only parts of them visible.

    Gosh Ginny that 200 to 1 concept makes it so easy to understand why European Jews did not fight back prior to WW2 and it sure is easy to see why although not 200 to 1 in numbers it is in strength and power why Woman have a hard time fighting back when they are abused. Sometimes our world is really no differnet than a ship. There is no place to run or hide.

    My mind is wandering. I recently read a Wordsworth poem that said something to the effect, stop dissecting the things of nature for scientific understanding but take nature back to art. With only art to explain nature this must really be a time when superstition and ritual would explain the natural changes in nature since there was very little scientific understanding for the whys of 'Doldrums' and to this day there is great risk going around either horn much less sailing into the waters of the Antartica.

    There are so many links to sites speaking to the use of super-natural in the writtings of the Romantics. That time in history must have had a different concept of super-natural, a rather fearful, ghostly concept as compared to how we understand our universe today. In fact I have taken this super-natural quality of the poem and see it more as spirituality, not religious per se but of the spirit.

    September 10, 2000 - 07:21 pm
    When readers assume that only immoral tendencies produce harmful effects, they violate a most important boundary and, in doing so, shut off the way to the exhibition of the excellence of universal virtue,which often can be the cause of extreme harm to sections of the population. The crew as a majority did a virtous act in punishing the sinner by hanging a "bird" around his neck. This cause irreperable harm to the sinner. It is the readers responsibility to keep an open mind and realize that the author wrote exactly what he meant at the time he wrote it. Yes, as he matured he rewrote it.I dont see too much change in his use of sin vs virtue, nor religion versus superstition.. As a metaphor for life we all rewrite our life as we mature.

    Religion and superstition can be the same thing in many aspects. We have many posts that say it and many philosophers who have been saying it for thousands of years.

    I love this poem for it is myth and religion and superstition, it is a ghost story and a lesson in morals and values.

    September 11, 2000 - 05:34 am
    Good morning, Barbara---If you can reverse Mal and me in your mind, you will have us right. Mal provided the link you followed to other links. She lives in North Carolina. I am Maryal and live in Maryland, working in Annapolis. The names are really similar, aren't they? I'm the one who posted the 1798 version of Part II.

    I have a thought about the painted ship on the painted ocean. There is an interesting shift in point of view here. We have a first person narrative, the mariner telling the story. But when he tells the wedding guest (and us) that his ship was like a painted ship on a painted ocean, the perspective shifts to one that is outside the ship looking at it---or looking at it with the imagination, the mind's eye--far beyond it. As if the narrator was looking at a painting, or as if, with the time that has passed, he looks back at the story from his vantage point in the present (telling the story to the wedding guest) and this time views the ship from beyond the ship.

    This whole poem seems to me to have the organization of a dream, or better, a nightmare. The organization of a dream is fragmentary and unusual or supernatural events bump into everyday ones.

    Maryal in Maryland

    Jim Olson
    September 11, 2000 - 09:40 am
    It is an ancient Mariner,
    And he stoppeth one of three.
    `By thy long beard and glittering eye,
    Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ?

    When I read this first I noticed that the mariner never does answer the question- but fixes the guest with a stare and starts his story,

    Why did he stop that partucular guest?- one of three- does he just do this randomly? Is chance a part of the scheme? Later we see death and life in death casting dice to see who should live and who die- both the mariner and the crew being equally quilty so the choice of punishment is left to chance - also equal?

    Later, however, we learn that the choice of the particular guest was not random but that

    I pass, like night, from land to land ;
    I have strange power of speech ;
    That moment that his face I see,
    I know the man that must hear me:
    To him my tale I teach.

    So the Mariner knows that one of three of us need to hear this tale and he has some hidden sense of which one of it is?

    It isn't me- It's whoever posts next following the next two posters.

    I did shoot at a sacred crane once in Korea in an act of stupidity- but I missed it. Have always regertted having done it- felt that I was guilty of something even if I missed.

    Would the mariner have had the same consequences if he had missed? They couldn't have hung the dead bird around his neck-- maybe the cross-bow- oops there we are back at the cross.

    Was I saved from a similar fate just by the chance that I am a lousy shot?

    Or am I OK now that I have been told the tale?

    September 12, 2000 - 09:20 am
    Listen, am I the only one in here totally overwhelmed? I mean, all these IDEAS!!!!!!!

    All weekend, I think it was, I carried my printouts of all your posts all over the place! Living room, porch, notes taken, oo look what SHE said, oo, Annafair, OO Fairwinds and I just saw England on strike in the news! Did she get out of France? IS she still in Orly Airport?


    Barb and her great Josephus stuff, and Psellus. Wonderful, thank you SOOO much, Barb, any minute now the Spirit of the Under Ship will make them an HTML page!

    Maryal with Part II of the poem, look at THAT, Guys!

    Nellie with the doldrums.

    Mal with the Superstitions, Myths and Legends...

    All these going up as links. I do believe this discussion has already set a record for links supplied. I hope everybody is enjoying them. Maryal sent me some over the weekend which I have been wallowing in for three days on figures of speech!

    Pearson with the electric post way way back there!

    Nellie with how the gloss interferes like the illustrations in a book.

    YiLiLin with her Gloss as Greek Chorus.

    So many ideas swirling, swirling How to refer to all?

    I can't. I'm too far behind now. You'll all have to take comfort in the knowledge that EVERY single thing you brought here has been appreciated, including but not limited to Miss Goodrich, Robby, and has become part of the body of the whole of this discussion. I will try to do better in future.

    Are you superstitious at all? Do you believe in omens?

    I see omens everywhere, myself. That's a good sign, I'll say. I do read my horoscope and I do attribute a lot of things to religious themes and causes: I don't see a conflict there, either. That's who I am. I don't think I'm going to change.

    So that affects how I see this poem. And all of us are different, hopefully, the BEST make up for such a discussion would be to have one representative of every belief on earth present, including skeptics, agnostics, pantheists and every religion known.

    One of my "things" is entering the State Fair in the jelly and jam category. You make jelly on the new moon, did you know that? Oh yes. Have never won with a jar made on the full moon. If you read the Foxfire books you will find a lot of people, perfectly normal people doing things by the "signs." You're "supposed" to plant a garden on Good Friday, etc.

    So How do we view these mariners? Would we feel differently if WE were aboard? How would you feel if YOU were one of the crew? The Mariner?

    Great point, Maryal, on the perspective shifting, I missed that entirely! Great point! What does it MEAN???

    Jim: "Would the mariner have had the same consequences if he had missed? They couldn't have hung the dead bird around his neck-- maybe the cross-bow- oops there we are back at the cross."

    Cross bow, well done, I missed that one too. Have been wondering about why such an instrument on the ship! Well done.

    I have one for YOU: "Would the mariner have had the same consequences if he had hit a sailor instead?"

    All of these questions will replace those in the heading ASAP!


    September 12, 2000 - 09:36 am
    The Sunday issue of the NY Times contained a fascinating article on shmita, a law according to the Torah, which requires that fields lie fallow every seven years, and a new shmita is scheduled to begin at the end of this September.

    Imagine the confusion and consternation this has caused in Israel for the Orthodox Jew, those who grow, those who buy and those who sell.

    I recommend this article highly for the complexity of interpretations that can be attributed to a single verse... it's fascinating.

    I found this part germane to our situation here, too: "Along the way, one of Israel's two chief rabbis, Eliyahu Bakshi- Doron, nearly resigned after he was threatened with being 'ostracized' by part of the strictly Orthodox world for his lenient position uholding the validation of the deed of sale. (For centuries pious Jews would sell their lands to a non Jew during this time and buy them back afterwards). 'I fear becoming a social outcast,' he explained."

    I find that fascinating.

    Why would you fear that?

    How powerful IS the opinion of others?

    "All, well a day, what evil looks had I from old and young..."

    Our Mariner was stuck on that ship? They didn't have to hang the bird around his neck to show him they disliked his deed, so who did they hang it there for?

    I loved Admiral FOP's: "When readers assume that only immoral tendencies produce harmful effects, they violate a most important boundary and, in doing so, shut off the way to the exhibition of the excellence of universal virtue,which often can be the cause of extreme harm to sections of the population.

    The crew as a majority did a virtous act in punishing the sinner by hanging a "bird" around his neck."

    Do you all agree that the crew's action was virtuous? I loved that, Faith. Going in the questions above, as fast as my fingers can get it there.

    YiLiLin said "This is perhaps the "rime" of the ancient mariner, the crew represents those forces that need to believe there are controlling forces, when those forces do not act- as in a becalmed sea- whether for good or bad- these kind of men engage in rituals. the mariner on the other hand, I think, represents the energy that is- in Barbara's words the Tao, movement and stillness, things that cannot be controlled. Death."

    YiLiLin, do you feel then, that the Mariner himself acted without the belief in any "controlling force?" Was this his real error?

    Great thoughts today, Mariners, and a whole new Reader Supplied set of Questions going up in the heading, please take a look when complete and try to answer one, we may surprise ourselves here before we get thru, I'm already surprised!

    Cap'n WHEE

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 12, 2000 - 09:51 am

    You didn't mention carrying your papers to the bathroom, too. I believe it was in "Cheaper By the Dozen" that this room was mentioned as being the best reading room in the house.


    September 12, 2000 - 10:05 am
    Not in my house, Robby! I sure have carried them all over the place, tho. In fact they are so thick that they are now hopelessly out of order, thicker than a phone book (large fonts) and about as heavy. But I'm loving every minute of it.

    I came back in to say I'm very proud of those 16 questions in the heading. Usually when you do a discussion like this it's a total panic to find even ONE good question. HERE with THIS group it's hard not to put EVERY post in the heading, or make a question about same!

    I'm very proud of you all.

    As Gilbert and Sullivan would say:

    "You're very very good, and be it understood I command a right good crew!"

    Cap'n Queeg

    September 12, 2000 - 10:48 am
    Admiral Fop is holding open house on the quarter deck at twilight. Come to the sundowner and me steward will have a nice tot of rum with 3 waters per guest, and several delicacies that must be et up immediately. When we packed we did not realize the length of this trip. There will be music as me cabin boy has a mouth harp and several of the crew seem to have instuments to strumm on when bored as we lay to here waiting for movement. Come one and come all including stowaways Admiral Fop

    September 12, 2000 - 10:49 am
    postscript My point was not whether or not the crew did a virtuous act My point was Harm and Evil can follow the doing of a virtuous act.FP

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 12, 2000 - 10:56 am
    Faith: I know the Cabin Boy has a mouth -- I don't know about the mouth harp.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 12, 2000 - 11:19 am
    I have not been blown out of the water in a long time learning something I would never have thought through on my own as I have this whole concept of Greek Chorus. I'm seeing the Greek Chorus in action in my everyday life all over the place now.

    Faith please elaberate on this thought-- it is an intriguing thought if you mean what I think, which is, that any action, regardless of its intention, can become the source for pain or/and joy.

    Your sentence was-- "When readers assume that only immoral tendencies produce harmful effects, they violate a most important boundary and, in doing so, shut off the way to the exhibition of the excellence of universal virtue, which often can be the cause of extreme harm to sections of the population."

    YiLi Lin
    September 12, 2000 - 12:23 pm
    "YiLiLin, do you feel then, that the Mariner himself acted without the belief in any "controlling force?" Was this his real error"

    I am not convinced that this aspect of the Mariner's belief system is an error. I think he represents the nature of the "IS" of existence, those philosophies and scientific observations that say existence just is, and that the rest of it is all perception. Perception to most humans is a relative principle (einstein even supporting a scientific notion of the relative). So when the ship was in the doldrums did time stand still? Did it stand still for everyone? Did some external force "stop the wind", was it a punishing external force? Could any human intervention- prayear, incantation, bargaining with a diety etc. change the circumstances? This belief in external forces controlling the universe is a very western concept- I think the Mariner in the telling is really telling about a life altering experience, one that questions the role of external forces in how we choose to live our lives. I also think this is an appropriate move from Part I and encourages our reflection again on the origin of the plight that befell the ship. How do we know that all would not have passed just the way it did even if the albatross was still alive.

    betty gregory
    September 12, 2000 - 01:43 pm
    I wonder, YiLi, if it is also within Western thought to ascribe blame to the one who has been harmed. We're talking around that now---looking for cause and effect, but I'm speaking of the most painful references that crop up when someone has been harmed, or is sick, and suggestions are made that one brought it on oneself---either through neglect or ignorance or will. "Blaming the victim" is what it's called in some popular debates, but I don't want to get stuck in a hassle over "victim" or in the narrow subjects of abuse, rape, etc. Those subjects DO have the most recognizable references, however, such as "what were you wearing?" asked of the rape victim (this practice fading away, thank goodness).

    I wonder if anyone else is familiar with the subject of blaming the disabled person for his/her own plight? It's very common. It also has related branches. Prayer is often used to lift these "burdens" of sickness/disability and there are subtle to not-so-subtle suggestions that one's faith is directly connected to wellness. Goes something like this---if you pray hard enough, have enough faith, you'll get "well." I'm sure much of this is related to historic superstitions about evil showing up as illness.

    Often, these heavy implications appear when someone has cancer. Maybe someone didn't "fight" it hard enough, pray hard enough. Or check for early warning signs early enough. I'm not speaking here of direct accusations, but of subtle hints-----even the admonition to "fight" cancer has a message that it's within your power to conquer it. And if it isn't conquered? Maybe someone didn't fight it correctly.

    Our posts are full of these tensions of who to blame.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 12, 2000 - 02:17 pm
    Taking another question: why did the crew hang the albatross around the mariner's neck?

    Perhaps to teach him not to kill. I remember reading long ago about teaching a dog or cat not to hunt and kill by hanging what they had killed around their necks until it became quite rank smelling. I don't know if it would really work but the crew may have had the same idea in mind.

    They could also be symbolically tying all the burden of guilt around his neck in the form of the albatross - the scapegoat again.

    I find it interesting that Part 1 ends with the mariner shooting the albatross and Part 2 ends with the dead albatross being hung around his neck.

    Shasta Sills
    September 12, 2000 - 03:33 pm
    YiLi Lin, you said, "The belief in external forces controlling the universe is a very Western concept." I'm not sure I understand what you mean by external forces. What forces do Orientals believe control the universe?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 12, 2000 - 06:07 pm
    Shasta there are many believers that celebrate God in many ways that do not accept an outside controlling force affecting our lives. Most Indians believe in a unity of man and God. There are many religions practiced in the east that have other concepts than a God as a creator, who supports a system of moral law and a Soul that looks for outside blessings and strength to achieve 'good.'

    There is Hinduism, Sikhs, Jains, Brahmanas, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Zen, Soto Zen, Shintoism, Taoism.

    Having been a student of Taoism for the past 15 years I can only speak from my understanding and study of Tao.

    God and man are on the same level as siblings. There is only the 'easy,' the 'changing' and the 'constant.' What we see with clarity is 'easy' to accomplish not something dark and mysterious. 'Changing' is movement, often the unexpected that if we resist we deny growth and development. And the 'constant' is not the secure as in security from danger and the unknown or misfortune that comes from reliability, if the right stand is taken. But rather, the 'constant' is the power of enduring in harmony with Cosmic Law. Adapting through simplicity and consulting the larger superior system that is within.

    This harmoney with the Cosmic Law in most achieved with a faith and trust in the universe that everything that happens is an opportunity to be patient, willing to be led by the unknown, and practice detachment from the outcome. Doubt, demanding to take aggressive action, stems from our ego. Our fears, following a set response etc., the resouces of our ego, hide the light. We do not seek luck but remain neutral and receptive.

    Taoism does not accept; the insufficiency of self, a creator that has set a trap and we are thrown into life as insufficient with no resources or way out. Passion and reason cannot rule together and as long as a single negative feeling exists within, lurking in our heart the power to reason is obscured and our feelings of entrapment by life will demand something be done.

    Seeing other's inferior behavior is being self-rightous and likened to the dragon with beady eyes that stares at people with incredulity at their behavior or thinking. The ego/dragon spends energy not only verifying its existance by acquiring recognition in other people's eyes, it also looks ahead to anticipate events and looks behind to see if it can pat itself on the back for things accomplished.

    Every experience is a lesson that must be internalized in a one-to-one relationship with our inner source of Power that Taoists call the Sage. Everyone must find truth within themselves. We can learn about the inner world with guidance that often takes years of development toward clarity. Those events that shake our world are the rude awakenings that allows us to think we are entitled to anger and impatience but is the mirror we need to see the essentials for equality, justice, sensitivity, kindness, faith in the unseen, unknown.

    The Taoist believes that life is not good or bad, it just is; that God is not an active presence and force for good. That would be limiting the God that is around us in the grandeur of everthing that exists. If God is only attributed to the good than we slander him as being inferior, selfish, eogtistical, unapproachable, uncaring, immodest, jealous, vindictive, prone to capricious moods and destructive temper tantrums and without a sense of humor.

    We are here on earth to be conduits for the creativity and growth of simplicity, sincerity and serenity by trusting that all we experience is the opportunity to be in harmony with the Cosmic Universe.

    September 12, 2000 - 10:30 pm
    A careful reading of Barbs post above will help explain what I was trying to say. There is no intention here of arguing belief systems but I did say that if you limit your self by setting the boundries of Good vs Evil or Sin causes pain Virtue causes pleasure well, you have to start with the Universal Virtue. You can not say that the mathamatics that explain some of the universe are evil or viruous. The just are. Physics lays out certain formulas and if they work they are "useful" if not "discarded" they have no magnitude of Moral Virtue in and of themselves.

    In practical application man with his special kind of mind will see beauty and art and angels in the universe along with their opposites. But he begins to assign all manner of attributes to nature. And to all he understands and doesnt understand too. And that is where we get Mythology and all the wonders of language, of poetry, and religion too. And man will always try explain the "Life Death and Resurection"cycle. The stone age man watched the grass on the plains come up, fruitful, full of life , then die, and in the dead grass and rotting leftover of life he saw life resurected and thus began a trip with many roads a story with many endings and a god with many masks.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 13, 2000 - 05:36 am
    I will remind you that when Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner he was a pantheist like Wordsworth and had joined the Universalist Church. I was a member of the Universalist Church and a member when it merged with the Unitarian Church. Universalism-Universalist-Unitarianism is the only religion and church to which I ever belonged in my life and one I do not belong to now.

    Universalism is a Christian religion, but Universalists do not believe in the Trinity or Hell or the Devil. They do not believe in Sin in the orthodox interpretation of the word or Original Sin. Universalists believe in the one-ness of the Universe. They believe that "man" is only one small part of that Universe, that God is good and that all people will go to Heaven, regardless what wrongdoing they might have done during their lives.

    I maintain that Coleridge did not write the Rime of the Ancient Mariner from an orthodox religion point-of-view, but rather that he wrote it from a pantheistic-Universalist, perhaps psychological point-of-view. His theme of Crime, Punishment and Redemption appears in this poem as a universal one, not an orthodox religious, solely Christian one.

    Years later when he joined the Church of England, he became conservative and more orthodox in his views. This shows in the gloss, a few changes he made and in his later writing about religion and philosophy.

    I will note here that these are my opinions based on some solid facts about Coleridge's life and what I know about the religion he had joined and the philosophy he held when he wrote the poem.


    September 13, 2000 - 06:43 am
    Great points, everybody! Mal, then how do you explain the Coleridge Companion which suggests that the gloss may have been writen before Coleridge's conversion to the C of E?

    Great point on the pantheistic angle and appreciate the Universalist Church point of view.

    LIkewise, FaithP, I loved this: "And man will always try explain the "Life Death and Resurection" cycle."

    Yes we do, don't we? WHY is a big question and probably always will be. Man trying to make sense out of what happens to him. I often think that these disasters we are deluged with on the news and this ...jeepers....overwhelming news coverage of funerals, grief, etc., is not healthy. I can understand why it's news, but I think they carry it way too far. Way.

    Barbara, thank you for your explanation of Taoist beliefs, too, then should we say in the light of "The Taoist believes that life is not good or bad, it just is; that God is not an active presence and force for good. ' that the Mariner is not a poem which espouses Taoism?

    Looks to me like we've even got spirits under the boat, following for some reason?

    Betty: I believe I would take issue with you here on the nature of "I wonder, YiLi, if it is also within Western thought to ascribe blame to the one who has been harmed," uh....when I read the poem, the Mariner killed a harmless helpless bird and the sailors all died of thirst? I'm not sure the Mariner was the only one harmed here??????

    I would say losing your life was a greater harm than a bird around the neck?

    Nellie Vrolyk - You always have the most interesting points of view, thank you for trying one of the questions, too!

    I expect the Mariner learned the lesson but I don't think the bird was put on his neck for his benefit, myself, but WHOSE, that's the issue? Nellie says it's for the Mariner's benefit, and later we might see it did benefit him, too! Whose benefit do you all think it was put there for? Wonderful point, Nellie!

    YiLiLin, your "I think the Mariner in the telling is really telling about a life altering experience, one that questions the role of external forces in how we choose to live our lives." That is great and going in the heading. Life altering event and how we react to it.

    The Spinning Plate Spins on! You know that Wheel of Fortune game?? The Cap'n is doing her own paper plate Wheel of Fortune this am. I have put numbers 1-16 on the plate, spun it and VOLIA: # 9 is the lucky winner in my house today!

    #9: Study the wonderful description of "the silent sea" into which the mariners so suddenly burst.

    Where upon the globe does it lie, presumably? How is the silence emphasized: the heat, the dreariness and discomfort of it?

    Actually #9 would not have been a choice of mine, but since the spinning plate hit it, I will give it my best.

    First I admit when I saw:

    "The Sun now rose upon the right;
    Out of the sea came he (Personification, the personalizing as "he" an inaminate object: the Sun)

    I immediately stole a glance to the gloss, hoping that Coleridge would tell me, since they are now heading NORTH, where they were. I'm going to go with Nellie's doldrums since I have no clue.

    Then it's hot and the sails drop down, and the contrast with that furrow following free is striking.

    You've got words like "hot, copper, bloody, stuck, shrink," and you have no water. Then you have tongues "withered at the root" and the feeling of being choked with soot. No water, the anaphora of the repetition of the water water everywhere line. The dry and hot images here, supposedly, are important for later, but I can't see why now, maybe you all do.

    By the way, what does this line mean? "No bigger than the moon."

    What does that imply as to the sun? Anything? What does this mean, I just this minute noticed it and have no clue as to what that might signify?

    Again Coleridge cleverly slips metrical devices in to make his point. Not only is We stuck a spondee (Bam!Bam!)but so is dropt down.

    DOWN dropped the BREEZE, the sails DROPT DOWN. Bam Bam! Here again, Coleridge makes the sails literally stop. Good good writing. Good.

    Maryal sent me this fabulous fabulous site: Feast Thine Eyes on these Figures of Speech

    I'm going to put that in the heading and thank her eternally, but somewhere in there is a device which empahsizes a word by beginning and ending a clause or sentence with the same word? I can't find it, maybe you can, but note:

    Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down.


    Day after day, day after day,

    I just noticed those, they are not by accident.

    Step right up~ Take a chance!! Take a whirl on the Question Wheel of Fortune! Try a Question, it's fun!

    Cap'n Fun

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 13, 2000 - 08:16 am
    I believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. For me, this applies not only to math and science and travel plans, but to literature, using known facts about an author and the writing of a work to create a straight line between A and Z.

    Perhaps this quote will explain something about the location of the ship and answer part of Question #9.

    "The Doldrums are fairly thick between 6 and 8 degrees of latitude. With each degree measuring just over 60 miles, the Doldrums region to be crossed will range between 350 and 500 miles, depending on where the Doldrums is crossed. The Doldrums is the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) along the equator, where the trade winds meet, blowing from opposing directions."


    betty gregory
    September 13, 2000 - 09:23 am
    Well, I must have left the impression, Ginny, that I thought the Mariner was the only one harmed. I meant my comments to be more general, covering all the harm that happened to all. That's why it's so interesting to see where the discussion winds among religious references, other moral considerations, right and wrong of actions, cause and effect----all different connections between behavior of any/all to the consequences. No criticism of that at all, just so interesting to observe how often this comes up in life---attempting to identify threads of consequence back to behavior. A search for understanding, for explanation, for reason. YiLi's and Barbara's introduction of being still (my words) IN life with an acceptance of what IS----that's very different than a search for the "wrongs" and their consequences. (This last sentence is my own version of the acceptance they wrote of. I think of it as being still.)

    Shasta Sills
    September 13, 2000 - 09:28 am
    Barbara, I appreciate your effort to explain Taoism to me, but I'm afraid I have no chance of ever understanding it. You sound like a Westerner to me; how on earth did you ever manage to understand Eastern thought? I have always believed that Easterners are way ahead of us in their religious beliefs; but for the life of me, I never can understand a word they're saying.. I've often speculated about the vast differences between East and West. How did this schism in the human species occur? It's as if the human race, at some point, split in two, went in two separate directions, and never the twain shall meet. I don't understand why that happened.

    betty gregory
    September 13, 2000 - 09:40 am
    Shasta, the miniscule amount I know of Eastern thought has come from other westerners who have found a place of peace within other ways of being, and have written of it. The few books I've read have always produced in me rare moments of letting go of busy mental conflict, from only a surface understanding of what I was reading. My layperson's view of what it means that life (just) IS, is very appealing.

    Shasta Sills
    September 13, 2000 - 09:49 am
    Betty, and that's just the thing I cannot accept: that life just is. I always have to ask why it is and what it means and how it began and where it will end. I can't accept anything without ripping it apart and analyzing it. This obscene curiosity of mine has been the plague of my life.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 13, 2000 - 10:03 am
    At one time in my life for a very long time, I was afflicted with what I now call "Analysis Paralysis". I found no answers and became more and more confused by an even greater accumulation of more unanswered questions. It is much easier for me now, since I accept that "Life Is" and enjoy the parts of it which come along to be enjoyed. This has in no way diminished my curiosity about many, many things or the pleasure that learning brings.

    There is not one of us here in this discussion who is an Easterner. Any explanation of Eastern thought by a Westerner, no matter how many years of study there might have been, is based on research, scholasticism and some practice perhaps, and is not a true view of Eastern religion, philosophy, or culture.

    It is like having someone who never suffered Poliomyelitis try to tell me what the illness and its aftereffects are like. The only people I've found who could truly understand this experience were those who contracted and lived through the illness and the effects of that illness, too.


    betty gregory
    September 13, 2000 - 10:23 am
    "This obscene curiosity....."

    Shasta, do an experiment in which you pretend to be able to let go of the searching we all seem to do. Do it only for a moment. I remember the first time I did that and it was like taking a long, deep breath.

    Uh, uh, then after that we'll do some blood letting to release the ill humors.


    Shasta Sills
    September 13, 2000 - 10:53 am
    Can't do it, Betty. Not even for a second. I used to try to do some meditation, to still my mind the way I was told to do. The more I tried to stop thinking, the more frantic my mind became, like a caged animal climbing the walls and leaping off the ceiling. I think it knows its time is limited and the time will come when it can think no more, so it refuses to miss a moment of its crazy activity.

    But back to this East/West paradox, I suppose one half of the human race is concerned with the inner life and the other half is concerned with the external world. Thesis and Antithesis. In the long view of things, a Synthesis should eventually bring the two together because it seems to me it is the purpose of human life to blend these two opposites into some kind of coherent whole. But why? If this is God's purpose for human existence, why does he want this to happen? Why not just shell off physical existence and forget it as a bad experiment? If we knew the answer to this, we would know why Western thought exists.

    Shasta Sills
    September 13, 2000 - 10:58 am
    Sorry I keep getting distracted from the Mariner. My favorite lines are "We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea." I love that. It sends shivers up my spine. It means the whole poem is a transcendant experience. The bonds of earthly existence have been burst, and a new level of existence has been entered into.

    YiLi Lin
    September 13, 2000 - 11:07 am
    I think from reading the posts from Betty and Shasta that I need to explain further the view of a concept called Western Thought. No, Shasta I do not know what "orientals" believe, and I would never attempt to categorize a group of people- to me that is a first step toward at minimum ethnocentrism and at maximum racism. In the same way I would never attempt to categorize what "westerners" believe.

    However, there is a body of knowledge about the evolution of belief systems i.e. "Western Thought" and "Eastern Thought" to name two. I think Barbara taught us very well about a particular Eastern belief system - Taoism. Belief systems evolve from cultural imperatives or needs. the beliefs, traditions, rituals are passed down and modified from generation to generation- sometimes they are readily seen in religions or political movements or social "norms". In america for example there are different social norms in different parts of the country just as there are different regional accents, cuisine, slang, etc. these all evolved from a traditional belief system. Unfortunately many times there is a confusion between a philosophy, a belief system and a religion. For example Taoism is NOT a religion and there is a concept of Buddhist thought as well as people who have taken particular vows to live a certain way as practicing buddhists. There is also for example a body of knowledge called Catholic thought as well as people who have chosen to live as practicing catholics. Sort of like the verse and the gloss- one idea is the distance recognition of something the other is the active participation.

    One major belief system operating from an historical perspective is "Western Thought" derived primarily from the Judeo-Christian, male diety, rational scientific evolution. another major system is Eastern, derived from spirit or energetic cosmologies, intuitive thinking. One does not have to have a particular DNA thread, racial identity or gene pool to ascribe to, live by or know a particular body of knowledge or belief system. In the same way people choose religions (as well as born into families practicing a religion) one can choose a personal philosophy of life. what we find as we mature is that these philosophies are not our own inventions but often fall into one of the dominant Schools of Thought categories.

    So in that regard, Betty, yes I do think Western Thought provides a means to "blame the victim" because in scientific cause and effect thinking there must be a cause for each effect. Since western thought proposes individiualism,self-determination, etc. the most typical person to blame for things is the person who is experiencing an effect. IF according to the scientific based thinking one did not do that then one would have to suggest there is such a thing labelled chaos. As Barbara pointed out in the writing of Lao Tzu for example or in the I Ching there is an important phrase- "there is no blame". IE things happen. the challenge to those who live their lives from an Eastern perspective is to remain centered, calm, secure and in balance giving and receiving within a cosmic whole. Keep on truckin as they say ....

    September 13, 2000 - 11:24 am
    I agree with Mal post 749 re: Colridge. I want to express this opinion regarding so called Eastern vs Western thought YiLiLin in the above post is very clear and presents the case exactly. I can't help but say that many people raised in the western world have a very good concept of what we call eastern philosophy and it certainly is an attainable goal if a person wishes to study these things. I would not catagorize the way I think and I wouldn't do that to another.

    I have been in the doldrums I think? Thank you all for the wonderful evening of fun at the sundowner on the quarter deck. Next time we should have it on the poop deck only this Admiral is so absent minded she forgot what a poop deck is...... Adm'l Fop

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 13, 2000 - 11:47 am
    Shasta your questions remind me of the Joseph Campbell/Bill Moyers TV series and you've opened yourself to a wonderful study in the realms of history, anthropolgy and church history-

    Taoism is a very ancient thought process that goes back by various accounts to about 8000 BC. After joining the group reading the RED TENT and again with much research about the origins of Judism that splintered into Christian thought, I learned that line of thinking with all it's changes came out of Mesopotamia. In some respects the thinking of Taoism and St. John of the Cross have a commonality. The fourteenth century mystic wrote The Dark Night of the Soul expressing that Hope is not about things known because that is memory and therefore, to live in faith is to go forth in love with a belief so strong, with no prescribed idea, as a dark night not even being sure if God loves you or of what will be your cross, open and receptive to life with daily contemplation, an empying of the spirit, the daily one-on-one connection with God.

    Malryn thanks for sharing Coeridge's belief system as a Universalist. I think to only absorb the feelings and lesson of the poem based on how Coleridge wrote it within his system of belief or even to suspend theology would be eliminating my contribution to the creativity of reading and understanding the significance or consequence of an author's work. I share my understanding, as we all do, because like all of us, in our effort to get to the heart of the matter in light of the everyday world we are integrating our thoughts and feeling so that we can choose an idea or concept that is especially meaningful from either the other posts and from the poem and 'go forth.' It appears we share a different vocabulary expressing our thoughts, spirituality or belief system and therefore we are contributing a variety of thoughts about The Rime...almost like a cubist painting. I do love hearing the history of Coleridge's spiritual journey. It sounds like he went from a macro view of his universe to a more structured view.

    Ginny there are ways to feel this poem illuminating a Taoist system of belief. Coleridge may not have written the poem to illuminate the Tao but the Tao is not such a seperate foreign set of thoughts-- we all share unbeknowingly in many of the precepts of the Tao. It is even said that Jesus during the unknown years studied in India and Mesopotamia, therefore, some eastern thought can be found within the Christian theology.

    I see the Mariner accepts his lot and experiences the fall out without trying to change the minds of the crew nor protesting, a rather Taoist approach to life. He has the connection with the albatross regardless thru aggression. It is like we hear of so many that say they hate each other and yet in that hating they are tied together at the hip. Well the Mariner did not kill with feeling but in killing he tied himself to the albatross. The Mariner feels quilt and blames no one nor the albatross for his action. He is receptive to the outcome and goes through his harrowing experience, his rude awakening, allowing us to see it as his spritual journey, his one-to-one out of entrapment based in his holding on to guilt to his harmony with the Cosmic universe.

    The crew tied themselves to their fear and scapegoated the Mariner. With the passion of fear, lurking in their heart the power to reason is obscured and their feelings of entrapment by life demanded something be done. Their doing is to scapegoat and gradually die holding on to their passion of fear.

    Even St. John of the Cross says there is active faith and passive faith. We have no control over the faith God bestows. Just as the Mariner had no control over the way, the Tao, of his rescue.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 13, 2000 - 11:55 am
    Oh look what I found -- I love it -- two tales that express an eastern approach to calamity and a western approach.

    A man named Chang Chu, took his boat out to fish in the early morning. He would take rice-cakes with him for his meal, but they kept on disappearing before he had time to eat them, so he kept watch, and found that a huge bird came and ate them. He got very angry and slashed it with his fishing knife, and the bird fled onto the netting spar. While he was wondering what to do next, he heard a voice crying, "He cut me! What shall I do? Shall I ask the lightning to strike him dead?" While the birds thus consulted among themselves, the sky became dark, and the sound of thunder approached overhead. But Chang Chu was a very strong-minded man. He jumped about and cried, "Heaven made me a poor man, and I have to work hard every day. Is it wrong for me to try to kill an evil creature that robbed me of my food, of my very existence? Who is wrong, I or the bird? The answer is obvious, and if you want to punish me unreasonably, I have something to say about it. Come on, if you dare, thunder away!" He stood there threateningly, and whether afraid of the man, or admitting the reasonableness of what he had said, the thunder withdrew from him, and the lightning fell on the spar where the birds had flown. After the weather cleared up, he found many dead birds lying on the deck.

    The Quebec legend of the ghost ship is a birch bark canoe which sails through the sky carrying lumberjacks anxious to get home for Christmas Eve. To do this, they make a pact with the devil. One of the company, forgetting his promise, causes the canoe to fall by calling on the name of God.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 13, 2000 - 12:14 pm
    Oh my there are many posts since I first tried to compose my thoughts earlier - This is such an exciting venture as I read the posts with much in-depth questing and different approaches to understanding life all prompted by this 200 year old poem. Amazing!

    September 13, 2000 - 12:19 pm
    Gosh, what wonderful posts, and I appreciate all the elucidations, thanks ALL!

    I agree, totally, Barb!

    This discussion has been different in many ways from the very beginning. Now I would like for you each to address what is always an issue with anybody who leads a discussion: the questions or topics for thought in the heading????

    I'm wondering if we could be different also in addressing perhaps one of them, too?

    hahha, The purpose of the questions or topics or thoughts is to stimulte thought, but we're ahead of the game here, and I'm so grateful to you all, as THIS time around the Mariner just sings!

    Thank you, Mal, for that interesting quote, where the Trade Winds meet. Doesn't thst sound romantic? And apparently, in this case, where the trade winds stop?

    I'm geographically challenged, so I will let that meeting of the Trade Winds serve as my own understanding of this mythical, magical place.


    Shasta Sills
    September 13, 2000 - 01:07 pm
    Well, YiLi Lin, you don't have to categorize if you don't want to. But personally, I categorize every chance I get. I like to attack that great boundless quagmire of intuition and chop it up into small, neat, artificial concepts. If I can. Of course, my efforts leave a lot to be desired, but I have no qualms whatever about charging right in there with my axe swinging.

    Barbara, that story about Chang Chu sounds like another version of the Ancient Mariner. He had trouble with birds bothering his boat too, didn't he? But why would a Chinese like Chang Chu have such a Western approach to the bird problem? Does it mean what YiLi Lin suggested, that you have to be careful about categorizing people?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 13, 2000 - 01:25 pm
    Oh dear Shasta we do each see something different in each story don't we-- I was struck at how Chang Chu treated the heavens as a power that he could argue with and suggest that he was on an equal footing with the bird as welll as thunder. He didn't create a covenant that if he did this than you thunder will promise to do that... as opposed to the canoeists who do make a covenant with a powerful diety. They do not see either Satan or God as their equal. They do not see this power as a thing of nature from which to demand that their plight be considered and demand that their desire to get something they value as only a fair request, given their circumstances of doing their job in the forests away from their families. It is like on their own they could not get home and are trapped in their inability to reach their goal without a covenant or magic or entering into the accepted battle between Satan and God.

    OK let me honor Ginny's request--

    OK here goes Ginny my reactions to a few of the questions.

    1. I do not see the Mariner making an error. He acted with the concequence of aggressively changing and therefore controlling the change in his relationship with the albatross and the shift in his feelings after the act clouding his ability to go forward with clarity. He opened up the door to an inner journey.

    2. I think the crew hanging the bird around his neck was acting as in any drama. The connection was made between Mariner and Bird but for the onlooker to see that connection something had to happen that pictured that connection. I do not see virtue or lack of virtue here. The rational for the crew visually making the connection was the crews fears shown as blame.

    3. Hanging the bird around the Mariners neck was like a ritual, raising the host during Mass, smoking a Peace Pipe as a communal act of blessings, chanting prayers aloud, setting up the Christmas tree, etc.

    4. If he had missed there would be no story. If he had hit a sailor there may not have been a lynch mob as in tieing the noose around the Mariner's neck but rather a determination if he acted willfully or if it were an accident and the story would become a Solomon like issue, with man determining another man's fate or rather another character would be needed to play the captain who would determine his guilt or innocence. With the law from on high there would be little room for the Mariner's inner journey

    5. Interesting question that I have not thought thru. My only thought is to allow the reader to detach and observe the soul journey of the Mariner which makes it a lesson rather than an experience for the reader.

    6. In life I have been both part of the Greek chorus, the sailors and I have been a Mariner. I would become afraid of my fellow sailors more than I would be afraid of the doldrums. As the Mariner it would take me awhile to see thatI had connected myself to the albatross and my guilt. Not knowing about the doldrums at that time in history I may even have blamed myself for what the sailors were blaming me.

    betty gregory
    September 13, 2000 - 05:36 pm
    Thanks, YiLi, for such clear information and the lessons therein.

    I'll share one of the tougher categorization lessons that I unlearn, then learn again all the time. I don't like Texas (where I live), in general, the heat, the politics, the conservative thinking, the treatment of gays and women, the small rural pockets of 1950s towns and thinking. I like the west coast, specifically the northwest, where I lived for almost 10 years. My feminist leanings fit there and I feel at home.

    Where did I find this feminism and these preferences? In Austin, Texas, while attending graduate school and getting to know some wonderful feminist male and female scholars.

    September 13, 2000 - 07:24 pm
    Ginny to answere one of your questions in the heading: Do we share the responsibility for an action by approving that action? I think Yes and I will take the death penalty for one instance. As a voting citizen in California we had to vote a long time ago to reinstate the death penalty and it was terrible. I felt then and still do that it is wrong to take a life no matter what moral reason you dream up. I would not vote for the death penalty ever. I do not want that responsibility of approving putting someone to death. Just as I would never be able to serve on a jury with the possibility that there was a death penalty involved. I feel the the responsibility for approving anothers action is also to share the outcome or consequences for instance if I approve of my child for instance, going to an all night party with no supervision then I am responsible for any outcome. If I were on the ship as part of the crew, I would not have become involved with hanging the bird around his neck and would have bent every effort to stop them in any way I could, only refraining from harming them. If I were the mariner at that point I would see they were following the edicts of their nature and their cultural imprinting, their superstitions and their need to punish to put the blame on someone in order to avoid resposibility, and I would certainly have worn the bird as a symbol of my own responsibility (my guilt)in shooting the bird for no good reason, Only in retrospect or rather as an outsider reading this could I know that is what I would do..if I were really there it might be a totally different experience for me to have to decide. I only see human fraility here I do not see evil. It is easy to say what you would do if you are outside the action isn't it. Adm'l Fop

    September 13, 2000 - 07:59 pm
    I don't think the mariner is scapegoated by the crew. They are all of us poor mortals who first applaud and then condemn based on what they perceive to be the effects of the shooting of the albatross.

    But to be a scapegoat, one must be innocent. This the mariner is not. He shot the bird and now he wears the bird and he has angered spirits far above his mortal crew. It seems very important to me that he had no reason for killing the albatross. He has violated a part of nature.

    And more and more as we go on, this poem is at least half nightmare. The mariner suffers alone once the crew dies. They are far better off than he is.

    Maryal (who has been correcting papers all day---sigh)

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 14, 2000 - 02:23 am
    Maryal the more I read this the more I think the crew is hanging the bird round the Mariners neck not because he shot it but because they believe by shooting the bird it caused the ship to becalmed. Of that the Mariner would be innocent don't you think?

    Interesting again how we are all seeing this differently. Without going too much into the next part of the poem it seems to me they all suffer and the crew dies where as the Mariner does live.

    Did Pat give us a map a to the voyage? Maryal is the location you are thinking located East of Africa and they went around the Horn of Africa rather than the Horn of South America? I do not know much about the waters south of the African Horn to know if the Antartic comes close, the cold and frozen the ship was in before entiring the hot becalmed area.

    September 14, 2000 - 06:10 am
    WONDERFUL posts!! Just wonderful and here I am on my way out of town for a few hours.


    Yes, well, what has this legal precept:"The hand of one is the hand of all" got to do with anything? Or does it have anything to do with our situation here?

    I have a wonderful apropos quote for you from a movie I saw last night, and YES Pat put up a map and here it is Map of the Ship's Travels.

    Now have we passed that left sort of jag? Was that the calm? And are we now coming UP the east side of S. America??

    Putting that in the heading, thanks for the reminder, Barb!

    "The hand of one is the hand of all." If YOU are at a party and there are drugs in the punch, who gets blamed? "The hand of one is the hand of all." Is this what condems the mariners, their own failure TO keep "blame" appointed, and since when is BLAME a good thing anyway???

    Touchy, tricky and difficult questions this bright and cheerful morning!

    Cap'n Thrilled

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 14, 2000 - 06:35 am
    Re: Question #2--

    Punishment is never a "virtuous act." There may be times when it seems the wisest thing to do but never, in my opinion, within the concept of virtue.


    Jim Olson
    September 14, 2000 - 09:07 am
    I think it is pretty obvious that Coleridge considered the crew equally quilty with the Mariner (their punishment decided by chance for example-)

    And he considered hanging the bird on the Mariner as sacpegoating- passing blame that should be shared on to another.

    But what were the guilty of? Mainly of applauding the act after it seemed to be helpful to them. And scapegooating.

    The crew fed the bird and "played with it even"- but why?

    Out of love of nature? No= because it was an omen of good luck-- Like a rabbit's foot- doesn't work for the rabbit donors though.

    Didn't work for the albatross either.

    And Coleridge seems to be pointing that out in the end with his summary of the proper relationship of "all things great and small" to each other.

    September 14, 2000 - 09:44 am
    Barbara---I agree--the crew hangs the bird around the mariners' neck after deciding that shooting the bird led to the becalming. However, first they praised him, saying he had shot the bird that brought the fog. Their fallacy is post hoc ergo propter hoc. But I don't think the crew really matters. They are a lump of humanity, completely unindividualized except for the boy who is the mariner's brother's son.

    From the point of view of the story Coleridge is telling, the crew has to go. The focus of the story is on the ancient mariner, a man tormented by his action and still telling the story. Coleridge doesn't want to have to deal with interactions with the crew and various complications that would occur given the circumstances.

    I have no idea where the ship is at this time. I see it in nightmare waters at this point with no connection to an actual map.

    And thanks, Jim, for reminding me of part of one of my favorite parts of this poem with "all creatures great and small."


    YiLi Lin
    September 14, 2000 - 10:11 am
    "They are all of us poor mortals who first applaud and then condemn based on what they perceive..." wow- yes, yes,Maryal and what is interestng to me in looking at this crew they just seem to sway from one side to another in their perceptions, unless I missed something in the verse- I don't see hint of them truly examining the events. I also wonder who took on the role of leader of this crew- there is usually one who insights the mob mentality.

    Faith I really enjoyed ruminating on your thoughts about the death penalty as an example of collective blame. What a wonderful new way to look at the roles we play and the influence we have even when not directly involved in situations and events.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 14, 2000 - 03:33 pm
    Hehehe show me a map and I have found an additional new line of thinking-- isn't there a song something about -- Let me take you by the hand

    OK here goes we have a map and I innocently look up the Horns of both Africa and South America finding this poem.
    Chorus: All around old Cape Horn
    Ships of the line, ships of the morn
    Some who wish they'd never been born
    They are the ghosts of Cape Horn

    Fal deral da riddle de rum
    With a rim dim diddy
    And a rum dum dum
    Sailing away at the break of morn
    They are the ghosts of Cape Horn

    See them all in sad repair
    Demons dance everywhere
    Southern gales, tattered sails
    And none to tell the tales

    Come all of you rustic old sea dogs
    Who follow the great Southern Cross
    You we're rounding the Horn
    In the eye of a storm
    When ya lost 'er one day
    And you read all yer letters
    From oceans away
    Then you took them to the bottom of the sea

    Chorus: repeat.

    Come all you old sea dogs from Devon
    Southampton, Penzance, and Kinsale
    You were caught by the chance
    Of a sailor's last dance
    It was not meant to be
    And ya read all yer letters
    Cried anchor aweigh
    Then ya took them to the bottom of the sea

    Chorus: repeat.

    Southern Cross of course I remember reading about the Southern Cross when as a young girl I read all those sea fairing adventures. What is the Southern Cross ask I? Well here it is, the cluster of stars that guided the sailors in the Southern Hemisphere called the Southern Cross that those stories I read used to have sea captains saying things like, "I'm sailing 'er down the Southern Cross."

    Southern Hemisphere star map

    Now look closely at that map-- do you see the cross bow and the bow and arrow and the two figures part animal and part human-- well this is where the story really gets going.

    Firstly let me say-- Do you remember the movie "Moonstruck" with Cher? The music played is from La Boheme. Remember, she was to marry someone that she does his books and invites the younger brother played by Nickolas Cage, a baker to the wedding and they fall in love. It is an Itialian family with her father seeing someone on the side. And Cher, daughter and Nickolas run into them at the opera. The story is not the story of La Boheme but all the ingrediants of La Boheme are in the story.

    Cher has to keep books involving money, poor Mimi is always earning and counting her money. If Cher owned a florest shop she would have been a cut above Mimi with an invested business, one step above working for other. Musetta comes in on the arms of the old rich fool Alcindoro, flirting much like the father's secret lover in the movie. Rudolfo, the lover, is a writter who has good friends like a close family. The big night out at the resturant in the opera and we have the big family breakfast in "Moonstruck" on and on. Rent the two vidios some night and enjoy.

    All to say that none of the stories involved with the Southern Cross is the story of The Rime... but the ingrediants are all there. With the simple tools of navigation available during the time Coleridge wrote The Rime... he would have to know of the Southern Cross and with his classic English education he would have to know the stories.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 14, 2000 - 03:35 pm
    The "Southern Cross" is a constellation also known as the Crux Constellation. The four brightest stars within the constellation form a cross pattern. The brightest star is known as Alpha Crucis (acrux) and is located at the foot of the cross. The star at the top of the cross is known as Gamma Crucis (Gacrux). If you follow the line south through Gamma and Alpha Crucis you will arrive near the South Celestrial (true south) Pole. Two other stars that form the cross are Beta Crucis (Becrux) and Delta Crucis which is the western arm.

    Nearby is Centaurus who placed a picture of himself in the sky to guide a group of sailors called the Argonauts. The brightest is Alpha Centauri The Sun's Twin and is about the same size as the sun. Sometimes called Rigel Kentaurus meaning "foot of the Centaur" in Arabic. Centaurus is a half-man, half-horse creature.

    Centaurusis is below Scorpius and Hydra, the sea serpent, which may be the longest and largest of all constellations, but its stars are very faint, It is so long that four constellations run along it's northern side. These are Cancer, Leo, Virgo and Libra.

    Hydra's brightest star is called Alphard, which means "the solitary one". In Hydra, you can find a group of stars called an open cluster. This cluster is easily observed with binoculars and looks bigger than the full Moon.

    Hydra is one of the oldest constellations. Hercules slew Hydra, a horrible serpent with many heads that grew back as soon as they were cut off. Killing the Hydra was one of Hercules' tweleve labors, during which he also defeated Leo, the lion, and Draco, the dragon.

    If you live in the northern hemisphere of the Earth, Scorpius crawls across the southern sky, close to the horizon. But if you live in the southern hemisphere, it passes high in the sky. The bright star Antares marks the heart of the arachnid, and it's long curving tail trails to the south. The scorpion once had claws, but they were cut off by Julius Ceasar to form the constellation Libra.

    Antares is an unmistakable, brilliant red supergiant star at the heart of the scorpion. One of the largest, brightest globular clusters in the sky is in Scorpius.

    The scorpion holds an infamous place in Greek mythology as the slayer of Orion. One story tells that Orion fled the scorpion by swimming the sea to the island of Delos to see his lover, Athena. Apollo, seeking to punish Athena, joined her and challenged her hunting skills, daring her to shoot the black dot that approached in the water. Athena won the challenge, unknowingly killing her lover by doing so.

    Sagittarius is also half-man, half-beast, said by some to have been placed in the heavens to guide the Argonauts in their travels. In ancient times the asterism of three bright stars in a curved line was seen as a bow, leading both Greek and Roman writers to confuse the constellation with Centaurus. Some claim that the constellation was invented by the Sumerians, that Nergal (as the supreme god of war) is found on two cuneiform inscriptions. Yet this interpretation is open to debate, for Nergal is not necessarily linked with a bow.

    It was the Romans who named the constellation Sagittarius ("sagitta" is Latin for `arrow'), although several stars carry Arabic names which identify just which portion of the constellation they represent: Alpha Sagittarii is named "Rukbat": (Rukbat al Rami=Archer's knee), and beta Sgr is "Arkab" (Tendon).

    The bow is outlined by three stars:
    1. Lambda Sgr: "Kaus Borealis" = the northern (part of the) bow
    2. elta Sgr: "Kaus Meridionalis" = the middle (part of the) bow
    3. Epsilon Sgr: "Kaus Australis" = the southern (part of the) bow
    4. The arrow tip is gamma Sgr ("Al Nasl" = the point)

    While the asterism of the bowis quite apparent, it takes some imagination to see the half-man, half-beast pulling back on the string. Perhaps it helps to know that zeta Sagittarii is named "Ascella" (the armpit of the archer), while nu Sgr is "Ain al Rami": The Eye of the Archer.

    Centaurus is one of several constellations that deal with the Labours of Heracles. In the Fourth Labour, Heracles' assignment was to bring back a rampaging wild boar that was bringing death and destruction to the inhabitants of the northern part of the Peloponnesian peninsula. On his way, he stops to visit a friend of his, a Centaur named Pholus.

    Centaurs were half-men, half-horse, who had all descended from Ixion and Nephele (who was in fact a cloud, shaped by Zeus to resemble his wife Hera).

    As Heracles finishes the sumptuous meal provided by Pholus, he then has the effrontery of opening the Centaurs'private wine cask, meant for them alone. The rest of the Centaurs catch the odour of their wine, wafting across hill and dale, and they become enraged.

    Gathering up huge boulders, ripping out trees to use as clubs, and arming themselves with axes, the Centaurs advance on the dinner party.

    Pholus takes fright, so the battle is left to Heracles. After repulsing a number of Centaurs single-handedly, Heracles then chases the rest of them to the cave of their king, Cheiron.

    Heracles shoots an arrow at one fleeing Centaur (Elatus by name), but it passes through his arm and strikes Cheiron on the knee. You may recall that Heracles' arrows were all dipped in poison, so each was fatal, no matter how slight the wound. Cheiron was a great friend of Heracles, and our hero is devastated. He tries to assist Cheiron, but there is nothing to be done.

    Cheiron was immortal, so the poison couldn't kill him, only cause great pain that would last through eternity.He descends to the depths of his cave, his screams of agony echoing throughout the cavernous walls.

    Eventually Prometheus takes pity on the long-suffering king of the Centaurs, and offers to take over Cheiron's immortality, if Zeus would agree. Zeus does agree, so Cheiron's agony finally comes to an end, and Zeus places the great king of the Centaurs in the heavens.

    Back to the previous battle. The Centaur Pholus looks over the dead and dying and wonders how Heracles' arrows could be so fatal. He plucks one arrow out of a body and looks at it, but it slips through his fingers and strikes him on the foot, killing him instantly.

    Heracles hears of the tragedy and returns to bury his friend, at the foot of the mountain that bears his name: Mt Pholoe.

    This high plateau region in the interior of the peninsula is just up the road from Olympia. Now called Pholois, this is where the Centaur stories of antiquity originated.

    It is said that Zeus had held Pholus in very high regard, and therefore also put his likeness in the heavens. Thus the constellation Centaurus represents two Centaurs: Pholus and Cheiron.

    The fact that two Centaurs are linked with the constellation is no accident. The earliest extant artifact showing the likeness of a Centaur is a piece of Mycenaean jewellery which shows two centaurs together: half-men, half-horse, facing each other and dancing, similar to satyrs. These half-men half-horse figures were also transformed at times to half-man half-goat. Many rituals are known to have involved dressing as one of these half-beasts, rituals which may date back to Neolithic times.

    Jason and his Argonauts sailed off in the Argo Navis to capture the Golden Fleece. The constellation that commemorated that adventure is now broken up into three smaller constellations: Carina (the Keel), Puppis (the Stern) and Vela (the Sail).

    Sometimes observers associate the lower two stars, and believe they are looking at the Southern Cross. The real Southern Cross is in the nearby constellation of Crux; this cross shared by Vela and Carina goes by the name of the False Cross.

    betty gregory
    September 14, 2000 - 07:27 pm
    I never, never saw the connection between La Boheme's story and the Moonstruck story---exactly!!! Thank you, Barbara!

    Shasta Sills
    September 15, 2000 - 09:22 am
    When Barbara takes us on one of her trips through the Internet, I just sit here mesmerized. I never know what she will come up with next. One of her quotations was: "It takes some imagination to see the half-man, half-beast pulling back on the string." It takes more imagination than I have to see any of those myths in the stars.

    I can't understand how the human mind ever connected mythology with the stars. When I look up at the stars, all I see are little specks of light. But I see what you mean when you say Coleridge's "Rime" grew out of a background of mythology.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 15, 2000 - 09:59 am

    Maybe we no longer see those figures in the stars because we are no longer that close to the land and to nature. If we spent our days following trails and hunting and listening to stories about gods and goddesses, and spent our nights lying on the grass and looking up at the stars, maybe we would see those figures too.


    September 15, 2000 - 10:18 am
    I love that, Robby, remember when you used to look at clouds and see people or things in them? Kinda reminds me of the water in this one, and the atmosphere. I used to see all kinds of things in clouds.

    I just want to share this absolutely fabulous thing before I go back and pick up everybody's thoughts:

    This is so eerie, if I were the mariners I would make a case for this: there was a PBS special on not too long ago, a drama about the future King of England, sort of a social commentary, it was excellent, if strange. For some reason I have taped over the front of it and the end of it and THE ONLY THING REMAINING is one little snippet in which the Prince of Wales and his bodyguard are reading poetry at Cambridge with a Cambridge don?

    And the Don gives the bodyguard a copy of the same Marvel poem too, you know the one about "the grave's a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace?" To His Coy Mistress, I'm betting, but not looking it up. And then this extraordinary exchange takes place:

    The Don asks, "Well, what can you say about it?"

    And the Prince of Wales says, "What's the point? What's the point of literature?"

    And the Don answers, "It's a personal journey.

    It's different for all of us.

    The point is not to discover things about literature, but things about ourselves.

    The tiniest things have the greatest significance.

    Through mere words on a page we apprehend our own mortality, and therefore, the urgency of love.

    Isn't that what's precious?

    Isn't that what poetry is?"

    I just love that. And right then, the tape changes to ARLISS, a show I have never watched and don't care to. What can that mean? hahahaha

    I love that.

    Back anon.....

    September 15, 2000 - 10:52 am
    Once again, you all are making some wonderful points.

    Barbara mentioned this startling, to me, thought: "With the law from on high there would be little room for the Mariner's inner journey."

    Do our laws remove the guilty from any kind of inner journey or growth? That was a very interesting post on what if the Mariner had killed another sailor instead of a bird, Barb. Very interesting, the whole post was. Thank you for that, and for the research and the "False Cross." I found that fascinating.

    Armiral FOP stated that "I feel the the responsibility for approving anothers action is also to share the outcome or consequences..."

    What IF the Mariners had kept to their original position: "You were wrong?" Ah wretch said they the bird to slay...I just realized something. He was a wretch not because it was a bird but ONLY because the bird which they thought affected the weather.

    NOT because it was a creature great or small as Coleridge asserts in the last stanza, not at all, but because it broght the winds, look back, look back, and see the crew's actual words.

    That was their "sin," and that was why they could die or live by lot: they did not regard the bird's life itself as being valuable, even when they said tis right said they the bird to slay, they never ever considered the value of the bird by itself.

    Admiral FOP also said (it's easy to see why she is the Admiral, right?) "It is easy to say what you would do if you are outside the action isn't it."

    Not for me. I don't know even now what I would have done. I would like to think I would have stood up and said, why did you do that, that was wrong and not changed my mind. I usually never go along with the crowd in anything else, so I doubt I would have then, but 200 men on a boat is possibly another matter.

    I have no idea what I would have said or thought.

    Even now.

    Maryal: this was just marvelous, "But to be a scapegoat, one must be innocent."

    Great point, great. We know the Mariner is not innocent but I got sloppy with the scapegoat part and we're lucky your laser brain is right here!!!!!!!!!!

    Sloppy Scholarship, Cap'n!!!!!!! No rancid potato salad for me tonight, Cookie!

    Then Robby said, "Punishment is never a 'virtuous act.' There may be times when it seems the wisest thing to do but never, in my opinion, within the concept of virtue."

    Wow, again, wonderful thoughts. If punishment is not a virtue, is it then the opposite? Is it neither virtuos or evil? Is it as bad as the original act?

    Jim said, "Didn't work for the albatross either." hahahaa, no, the albatross's being a good luck omen certainly didn't hold for its own sake, did it?

    Here is where I have a lot of trouble with the distinguished Robert Penn Warren's theory of the Albatross as Christ. The albatross dies. The albatross does not rise, and as we will soon see, the Mariner is not shrived. Neiter are the other Mariners.

    I wish those of you who do agree with Robert Penn Warren would explain here how that can be understood?

    Would somebody please explain Question #11 above?

    "11. What does the Mariner's not being able to speak signify?

    (Later he will not be able to pray, then he will; then he won't; then he'll have to tell his story forever.)"

    Does this signify anything, and if so, what?

    These questions are pretty sharp. They not only make us look deeper into the poem, they also make us think for ourselves about things. I am not the author of these questions, and I doubt any of you thought I was, but I do appreciate your trying to help us understand them.

    How about #10??

    Let's proceed, if you think we are ready, further into what Maryal calls the nightmare world of the Mariner, Part III, tomorrow? I"ll get up early and put up the new questions, and if you have any, please ask them here, and they will go up in the heading asap.

    I have so many problems with that MAP! Even though it's the first time I ever even glimpsed an idea of where they might be? Looks like they just get stuck out in the middle of nowhere!!?????!!!!!!

    Strike up the hornpipe, Cabin Boy Robby, let's have a dance while coming along side this strange looking ship!


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 15, 2000 - 11:21 am
    Fortunately, as a simple Cabin Boy, I am just a land-lubber and a hornpipe, I am told, is just for landlubbers despite the common title of the "Sailors Hornpipe." So I have my landlubber's hornpipe with me which I stole when I was still landbound. I have also been told that I am "full of wind" so will have no problem playing it. Most of you wouldn't know if the "melody" made sense anyway.

    Are we dancing while we are becalmed or when the deck is heaving back and forth?


    September 15, 2000 - 11:32 am
    haahah, We're dancing for joy because of all the marvelous comments which have been made and which yet will be made. Or at least I am!

    Cap'n Honrpipe

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 15, 2000 - 05:16 pm
    Without society's rigid rules, anarchy and savagery can come to light is a prevailing theme in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Coleridge touches on most of the themes included in "Lord of the Flies,"-- the loss of innocense; society can be evil and requires civilizing; nature is not always "mother nature" the protector of man but can create situation which help or hinder mankind. Man may be aware of nature, but nature is unconscious and unaware of mankind.

    The Mariner is isolated seperated from the group, which as a leaderless society without individual selfhood or indentity, a group becomes a mob. A mob personfies the loss of 'person' as in wearing a mask like the Greek Chorus and as the boys doned masks in "Lord of the Flies" and anyone or group will abuse power when it's not earned.

    There are different types of power, with their uses and abuses. Democratic power, when choices are shared among many; Brute force the most primative and indiscriminate; AuÝhoritarian power allowing one person to rule by threat and terror. This would be the typical power of a ships captain. And spiritual power which recognizes internal and external realities and attempts to intergrate them.

    Spiritual power appears to be what Coleridge is exploring. The Mariner's behavior would be judged, punished or not by an authoritarian power if there was a captain. Without a captain acting as an outside force determining and ruling his guilt or innocence, the Mariner must determine for himself his true guilt or innocence and ascribe his own punishment.

    When Jim asks "Can we shift the responsibility for any of our actions by relating them to approval (or even disapproval) of others?" I believe he was ascribing the Mariner would be tempted to determine his guilt based on the fluctuating opinion of the crew. Rather Coleridge has the Mariner go inward to a dream like sequance of horrors and intergrate his internal with the reality of a faceless mob indiscriminatly blaming based in their fears.

    Fear as the boys of "...the Flies" and the crew in "The Rime..." experience, the fear of the unknown can be a powerful force, which can turn you to either insight or hysteria. This fear is also what appears to be the experience of the Mariner as he is on his spector journey.

    Both "The Rime... " and "...the Flies" show that when given a chance, people often single out another to degrade to improve their own security.

    It's better to examine the consequences of a decision before you make it than to discover them afterward is examplified in "Lord of the Flies." I'm not sure Coleridge is making that argument since the discision to kill the bird isn't really the only issue but the crew relating that act to superstition and acting based on their fear that they have tied to the superstitious is not examined unless their dying is the consequence for their blaming based on their irrational thinking.

    Civilization sperates man from the animals/birds by teaching him to think and make choices. When civilization slips away man reverts to his more primitive nature. You can only cover up inner savagery so long before it breaks out, given the right situation are the messages in "...the Flies." The isolation of the ship at sea and the Mariner from the crew may explain his reverting to his more primitieve nature which was to kill the albatross indescriminatly.

    These are all quotes from "Lord of the Flies" that if "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" were a noval could all work.

    betty gregory
    September 15, 2000 - 07:00 pm
    Ginny, Barbara, Admiral Faith, following on your thoughts of what we might do on the spot or from a distance of imagination of what we HOPE we might do----when speaking up or taking action is called for. So many have written about this and studied various aspects of group vs. individual responsibility. I'm always fascinated to read various studies' outcomes that stretch our knowledge of what exactly goes on when group or mob (or density of population, even) seems to lesson or cancel altogether our individual responsibility. We lose ourselves. We lose our...selves, is what so many studies say.

    The classic study (as mentioned elsewhere) is the crowd that stood by as the NY woman was being stabbed. (Late 60s?) No one stepped forward. That one study inspired hundreds of subsequent studies to look at WHEN do we step forward to help someone in need. The same answer was found again and again---when we are alone or in very small numbers. When the group increases in size (can't remember...7 or 8 or above?? seems like), then we expect the GROUP to step forward; we wait and wait, thinking some one of US will do the right thing, but often feel paralyzed to do it ourselves. That's only part of it. Another part is that we don't feel as compelled to act---not out of fear---just feel less responsibility for our fellow human being. We transfer responsibility to the group. And, yes, another part is fear of what will be thought of us by the GROUP. The bottom line, though, is that we feel different levels of responsibility as a lone individual than we do in a group.

    Maya Angelou speaks on this subject with a level of wisdom I fear most of us are still wishing for. She says, of all the virtues, courage is the ultimate. Courage to do what is not popular is her favorite example. She gives the example of the intimate group of friends who privately make fun of a gay person they work with.....and there you stand with your friends, Maya Angelou says, with either courage to say "That's not ok with me," or with silence and fear to speak.

    The group that sways with convenience and self-interest (and low courage??) is SUCH a universal experience, though, that Coleridge didn't need any late 20th century studies to inform his writing. And, of course, neither do we have to know of those studies to recognize the crew's waverings. Too familiar.

    September 15, 2000 - 10:29 pm
    If the Mariner and his shipmates had begun their voyage of discovery with half the Mazel with which my First Mate and I set out on a matrimonial 'cruise', thanks to Capt'n Ginny, they would still have been the first who ever burst into that unknown sea, but surely without the trauma and tragedy.

    On the other hand, I might not have had 150 interesting posts to read. Awesome! I'm trying to imagine the great interest with which Coleridge would read them. Perhaps he is!

    Part II of the Rime, the beginning of the descent into Nightmare, may seem like an odd thing to take along on a pleasant little getaway. But not really, since our travelling took us to Gloucester,Ma, with its famous Fisherman's Monument, fronted by the stones inscribed with the names of 5000 and some seaman who never returned. Appropriately, somehow, that Gloucester was the locale for shooting The Perfect Storm. Even a tavern there, called the Crow's Nest. How's that for a busman's holiday? And it get's better. On the way home, in Vermont, we spent a night in the Kirkside Motor Lodge. From our window we had a truly amazing view of St. Francis de Sales Church, a magnificent stone edifice, looming over the inn. Since I feel fairly certain that the Mariner (and the crew) was a Catholic, with a late-medieval outlook, I had no difficulty imagining him, in his ceasless journeyings, stopping there to pray.

    Part II must surely be one of the most vivid pieces of poetic imagery in any literary canon; together with its figurative speech and symbols and the Mariner's emotional, moral and spiritual turmoil reaching an O Christ! climax.

    Many excellent, interesting things have been said here about guilt, blame and shame, with penance and redemption yet to come. But I'm not convinced yet of his acknowledgement of sin or guilt. For example, 'And I had done a hellish thing/and it would work 'em woe': is that confession? or reporting the mutterings which 'they' were speaking among themselves? Is it heartfelt remorse for having killed something which had loved him? The 'glorious Sun (God?) still rises, accompanied by a 'twas right'. For that matter what do those two lines beginning with 'nor dim nor red...' mean? Can someone construe them for me?

    Points to Ponder is certainly a great part of this discussion. For what they're worth here are some of my opinions, briefly.

    1. The Mariner's real error, if it really is one, was that he acted without any 'knowledge' of a controlling force, such as the Spirit avengeing the Albatross.

    2. Yes to both questions in the context of the nightmarish circumstances.

    3. In their distress, the mariners felt the crucifix about the Mariner's neck was a mockery of christian love and hospitality and should be replaced with the carcass of the albatross...a somber hint of death to come.

    4. First part: no, the mysterious 'controlling forces' would not have been aroused. Second part: no, the Mariner's act would have been something to be dealt with, with maritime law.

    5. Interesting, worth pursuing.

    6. This one is too hypothetical for me.

    7. No and No.

    8. The ship is not going anywhere. It's becalmed.

    9. Not sufficient space.

    10. To indicate the dreariness, desolation, and helplessness of the Mariner's psychological and spiritual state.

    11. He has been struck dumb by the horrendous controlling forces which are deciding his fate.

    12. I do not believe that the albatross has anything to do with the cross; or is in any way related to something that the cross stands for. Just as I do not believe that the groom at the Wedding is Christ.

    13. In keeping with some aspect of Coleridge's moral universe in the Rime, the Mariner's act may have been a 'capricious' necessity. Nothing genetic; but the result of his being a bit of a cog in a big wheel.

    14. Yes, if the approval extended some moral force to the perpetrator.

    15. It's arguable.

    16. 'They' only start appreciating something after it is gone.

    Joan Pearson
    September 16, 2000 - 03:50 am
    Jonathan! First Mate! ! A daring, adventurous journey you have charted! Indeed cause for celebration! Everyone sleeps! Sound the bell!

    A magnificent voyage ahead for the both of you aboard the Good Ship Matrimony!

    A magnificent post as well! Having just returned from days at sea (side), I agree with you - the power of its presence draws forth musings - and a somewhat different perspective...facing a hurricane threat (always a thrill on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, vulnerable as is that narrow strip of sandy dune), all the while under the commanding influence of the big,bold fullness of the Carolina moon!

    I'm just in....full of sand, crab ... taffy, faced with the usual soggy towel, beach blanket mess and the need to be off to work this morning. Before beginning to read...and savor the 100-some postings of your impressions of Part II, I'd like to copy out my thoughts while under the control of the Sun-God, from the time HE rose in the morning...yes, magnificent bright hot-pink/gold sunrises each morning, certainly not "dim", and no, not a power-"red", though as riveting and commanding as if it were...

    I want to copy this out before reading your posts, because already the influence of the sea is loosening, and just from reading Jonathan's post, I feel less certain of the perspective I thought I had gained yesterday...

    I think it (new-found perspective) was rather cynical - for me. Perhaps not. It is scarey to reread actually...as if written by someone else. I won't spare you or me...will type it all in and see what you think. I have already started to argue with me, but will SPARE you that!

    I know for certain, I'm looking forward to reading your posts today. What you think is as persuasive as solitary communing with the sea. Forgive me if I repeat thoughts you have already expressed here during the past week.

    Again, Jonathan and FM, clear seas, fair winds ahead!

    Joan Pearson
    September 16, 2000 - 04:40 am
    ...for days the only world this sand, the sea, the SUN, the MOON...

    The sun, I say to Bruce, I see why to many, the Sun is God. "He" is all-powerful. We, the sun-worshippers depend upon HIS Presence to overcome the hurricane clouds treatening from the East, the chilling front and downpours reported from the West. We worry, and we watch each morning. He rises huge, hot pink and gold...surely, quickly, amazing really how quickly...from the sea it appears..."like God's Own Head" ...in answer to our prayer as clouds burn away in His presence.

    We are grateful, relieved, assured of yet another perfect day - and we worship, prostrate on the sand before Him. A benevolent God...warming us with His rays as they penetrate the #15 shield we have applied in anticipation of His presence... Benevolent? Do we need protection from benevolence?

    And if HE had not appeared? Would we still believe in His concern for our happiness and well-being?

    Hey, is this all in our own heads... Does the SUN God care one single ray about our little vacation?

    My thoughts turn to the Mariner... and Nature. Coleridge has personified Nature to make it easier to see this relationship as it appears to the Mariner.

    ~In Part First - the STORM_BLAST is the first character in the drama...HE came, dark. tyrannous and strong, chasing the ship into the ice with o'ertaking WINGS...The Storm is the enemy, the STORM is winged, a BIRD...malevolent.

    ~Enter another BIRD, large, white and pious...Bird represents DELIVERANCE from the ice, from Evil.

    Cooleridge works hard, works deliberately with his many revisions ....and gloss...to make vague the details, the facts of life beyond the personified characters, doesn't he? Why? Because he doens't really want us to latch on to any real reason for the act. Why? Because it doesn't really matter?

    What is the nature of this sailing trip...to where no man has ever been? Are they hunters,whalers, explorers...it doesn't matter, does it? They are such insignificant figures out on the sea...at the mercy of Nature...benevolent, malevolent?

    For WHATEVER REASON, the Mariner shoots the Albatross. Does it matter why? Did the men need food...it appears they are reduced to eating wormy biscuits...it would make sense that since they are off-course, lost, and probably hungry, anything edible that comes along, in water or in the air is fair game.... Should there be RETRIBUTION in Nature's scheme of things for this? Is this in itself , a CRIME against Nature, a life-changing event?

    Joan Pearson
    September 16, 2000 - 05:17 am
    More Personification...this time the SUN and the sun HE is God. And what did God do the next day? He did not show HIS FACE.. Clouds, mist and fog. Enough to convince man that God must have been displeased with the Mariner's action. Man is certain that this pesonified God notices his actions and metes out punishment based on his transgressions in the eyes of said God, never mind the reason the act may really have been committed...i.e. providing food for the starving crew. It doesn't matter the real reason, but certainly it wasn't directed toward the powerful God... Wouldn't that have been sheer stupidity?

    But, no matter, the SUN, HE did rise Like God's own Head the following morning ~ shouldn't this have convinced the Mariner and the crew that the Sun, or God for that matter, was not the least bit concerned about the actions of these little men, no matter why the albatross was shot down? No retribution, or withdrawal of the warmth, the love of the God as punishment...

    But wait! Another character...the WIND! Or the absence of this character...the Wind, (often the Holy Spirit) is referred to as the wind...the Spirit is not present and the crew finds itself in the DOLDRUMS. (Thanks so much for that, Nellie!!!)

    Now again, the Mariner feels he MUST assume the guilt for the plight of the crew, guilt that the gods are dissatisfied...and in assuming this guilt for killing the albatross, it is now symbolically on his back, around his neck, on his conscience and he must bear responsibility for all that follows.

    Isn't it clear that this IS ALL IN THE MIND OF THE MARINER?

    We've got to ask the QUESTION...is the SUN the source of warmth and love? Or only in the eyes of man? It is also hot and red and bloody, we see here. Is this LOVE? Is HE/SUN/GOD, as personified, a personal benevolent presence, or an impersonal, incomprehensible Nature-source?

    Is this what Coleridge is stuggling with as he presents a Man so consumed in guilt for an act so unworthy of such punishment? Or is Coleridge unaware of the problem he has presented to us?

    Clouds are forming, sunburn from yesterday where the #15 did not protect...omens??? Am wondering why we flock to this beach each year to test the healing, restorative powers of the "benevolent" sun...

    September 16, 2000 - 07:14 am
    Oh my oh my, what bright, brilliant shining gleaming thoughts for us this morning, and here I am running late with Part III, getting them up asap!

    Welcome Back, our Jonathan and many felicitations to you and your new bride, how exciting!

    Welcome back, Beach Babe Pearson!

    Oh Barb, oh Betty, oh boy!

    Let me get up Part III points to ponder, change the Previous Points to add them to the list (thank you, Jonathan, I appreciate those kind words) and, since I, too, have printed out your posts, I'll be right back atcha!

    Cap'n Authoritative hahahahaaa

    September 16, 2000 - 10:49 am
    Joan----Welcome back. The beach....ahhhh.....the beach. And there is Jonathan with his new bride also back from near the water.....I do so love the ocean, the lake, the sand, the birds. IRK. The birds. Hmmmmmmm. I feed the gulls myself, much to the other beachgoers' dissatisfaction. And I only do it when the beach is nearly deserted. I do so love to watch a gull swoop down to take a cracker from my fingers, spraying me with seawater in the process.

    Joan---You said in one of those posts above what I have been trying to say. We don't even know the nature of this voyage.

    The members of the crew are virtually dead men (No character development) before they are dead in fact.

    We don't know WHY the mariner shot the albatross except that there must be an Action on his part to spark the remainder of the poem.

    And saying that this ship is sailing in the mariner's head is very like saying that this is a nightmare voyage. From now on, especially. OK, it could be a "normal" voyage at the very beginning.

    NO, I call that back. From the time the mariner grasps the wedding-guest's hand and compels him to hear the story, there is nothing normal here at all.


    Joan Pearson
    September 16, 2000 - 11:26 am
    Hi there! I missed you...I'm back to feast on the last 100 posts. I think we had a story, we had guilt, we had this imaginary albatross wrapped around the mariner's neck the minute he put it there, or allowed that it be put there...the minute that he made the leap and accepted the connection between his action and what happened to the rest of the crew. I'm looking forward to the explanation of how the entire crew died and the Mariner was spared. Have NOT yet read Part the III, and will not until I read through your posts on II.

    Yes, I missed keeping pace with your posts!

    September 16, 2000 - 12:44 pm
    Joan P:



    Explain, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    September 16, 2000 - 01:36 pm
    Ginny I can answer for Joan..yes imaginary for after all this whole world created in the poem comes from the imagination of the poet. On that subject I do not think the poet thought through the symbolism of the poem on every level.Much of this symbolism was not intentional.It has been added and even by the poet himself, over and over again since he wrote it.

    We are about to enter the nightmare of the hallucinations that were intentional, and on a pure story leval sailors caught in the doldrums without water or food (we do not know why they ran out of water and food for sure it is a guess) would eventually faint from dehydration, and after a long coma would die. The author leaves us guessing why the crew all are dead and the mariner is able to remain on his feet. He can speak finally after wetting his mouth with his own blood.

    This is mysterious poem. I think I will go on vacation too. Can't go on a honeymoon though Jonathon. Congratulations. Adm'l Fop

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 16, 2000 - 04:25 pm
    Lovely to read posts from Jonathan and the returning Joan P. Ahh the coast, the sun, the moon on the water - bliss.

    We are experiencing one of first really humane days since early May. The sky has that clear blue that says fall and the temp barely hit 90. We had a downpour yesterday that was so welcomed that my lawn looks green although the grasses in the wld places are still bleached and dry. There is a calmness today, as our imaginations think fall.

    The sea has its share of ghostly tales and omens. The most famous of these is that of a ghostly vessel, which one account described as "a strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the mast, spars, and sail of a brig ... stood up in strong relief." Ill luck, if not tragedy, inevitably ensued after sighting this ship;

    This ship, the Flying Dutchman is the most well-known of all ghost ships. Although much of its story is legend, it is based on fact - a vessel captained by Hendrick Vanderdecken set sail in 1680 from Amsterdam to Batavia, a port in Dutch East India. Vanderdecken's ship encountered a severe storm as it was rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Vanderdecken ignored the dangers of the storm - thought by the crew to be a warning from God - and pressed on. Battered by the tempest, the ship foundered, sending all aboard to their deaths. As punishment, they say, Vanderdecken and his ship were doomed to ply the waters near the Cape for eternity. What has perpetuated this romantic legend is the fact that several people claim to have actually seen The Flying Dutchman - even into the 20th century.

    Listed in the The Naval Chronicle of Britain on Dec.1806; There was lately driven into the Bay of Donbeg in the county of Clare, (Ireland) the deck of a large vessel, to which were fastened by ropes five dead bodies. It is supposed that the unfortunate sailors had lashed themselves to the rings of the deck, during one of the late tremendous storms, and the ship encountering a very heavy sea, was dashed to pieces.

    Not our spector but another that the Mexican folk fear seeing is the spectre of a woman crying over her dead children: seeing this woman means *very* bad luck, perhaps even death.

    She is La Llorna -- the Weeping Woman. Her pathetic story is that she, a woman with children, loved a man who did not want any. Desperate to gain his love, she drowned her children; but, overcome with remorse almost immediately, she promptly threw herself in after them. In recent years, La Llorna has merged with the legend of the Phantom Hitchhiker: a mysterious weeping woman is picked up by a driver, and eventually reveals her horrifying story before vanashing.

    The Celtic goddess' of the sea, forewarn fate, and death & rebirth. They were ascribed as great healers and shape shifters (shamans).

    In Britain they are called MORGANS. The Vita Merlini records that his knights bore the wounded King Arthur to Avalon, to be tended by Morgen and her sisters. Britain's "once and future king" rests with her there today, still healing. In later versions of the Arthurian saga, she appears as the wicked Morgan Le Fay, demonized by patriarchal clerics as an evil sorceress. (Monaghan, Stewart, Matthews) Qualities: Dark Goddess of Death & Rebirth; Keeper of the Mysteries; Challenger; Witch, Healer

    YiLi Lin
    September 16, 2000 - 04:44 pm
    Barbara- back at your earlier post- I wonder if we need to give some thought to morality...is morality a societal construct or is there a universal MORALITY. If we deem that morality is societal, then it is probably situational- and thus explains the fluctuations of the crew- if we deem a universal morality and one that transcends humans- well then we probably have another 100 posts or so to sort out the nature of the acts. I wonder also if the notion of "savage" and "savagery" is something ascribed here as without value. Does savage mean bad or evil? Savage speaks of the primitive and perhaps as we touched on in regaling in the star myths of primitive peoples, we might look at primitive (savage) behaviors in this light. (and thus "no blame").

    Joan storm? what storm? eeeks- say it ain't so ...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 16, 2000 - 05:08 pm
    Hmmmm YiLi Lin I must think this out because you are right the concept of a God of Love only came about in about 70AD. Reading the RED TENT had me seeking the history of Judo-Christian beliefs. Since we know the poem does have our Mariner absolved of his nightmare after he is capable of love and keeping to the tenet of the poem than the moral of love seems to be linked societal and universal. Whow we are going to be splitting hairs don't you think to re-sort out the killing of the Albatross and our opinions of the crew as to if they were acts of a societal or universal morality.

    I think you are right-- it doesn't matter does it-- blame or not-- because, if this is a soul quest towards some sort of redemption than we would have to start examining other quests like Sir Gawain or Arther, seeking out behavior to blame as the cause of their challange.

    I think Joan has already made an argument for a blameless look at this story. But you are correct, to me savage was not describing primitive a forerunn of the behavior considered civilized. That to me is the course of the human struggle-- to become civilized, learning to think and make choices. Primitive Bad-- not bad so much as an embrionic behavior that is the seed of our desire to become more civilized. But I must say the word savage is to me more a verb than a noun.

    Shasta Sills
    September 17, 2000 - 09:29 am
    Faith, your comments on symbolism remind me of something Mark Twain said. He said he just wrote the books, and the critics put in the symbolism. Of course, you have to take anything Mark Twain said with a grain of salt. Does anybody believe he didn't know what he was doing when he put a black boy and a white boy on a river? But I suspect a writer is not always conscious of the symbolism in his work. Symbolism is probably more compelling when it isn't too contrived and too carefully worked out.

    September 17, 2000 - 11:22 am
    Whose Life?...Whose Dream?

    Thank you all, ever so much, for all the good wishes...but the Show must go on.

    The dream...for the second edition Coleridge subtitled it A Poet's Reverie...is getting curiouser and curiouser, judgeing by the Posts, as it works its magic on our imaginations and our rational/irrational demands for answers.

    How are you all at dream-analysis? Sometimes the ones off the wall are best of all...and could be right, too, in this strange case.

    And good luck to the Moral seekers. Ye shall find; but be forewarned. In this crazy universe even the Mariner doesn't get it quite right in the end.

    Joan: If the Sun (He,God) is so prominent in, and central to Part2, which you illustrated so well in your dazzling 'Sun Post', what are you going to do with the Sun (He,God) in Part3?...when it looks on indifferently, when so much evil and hallucinatory is transpiring? Go back to the beach...to your poetic, treasure-filled 'bank'...and fetch us another such a Post! My, oh my, you are living this Dream, I mean the Rime.

    Fetch me an answer, someone, to a question plagueing me. Why is the ransom paid by the Mariner, the self-sacrificing act, to call for help and relief and life for the crew who burdened him with the murdered Omen, and who now , as a dying gesture, seek to kill him with their glittering, curse-filled eyes...who shall live?...who shall die?...why is the Mariner's good act not followed by divine mercy? What is preventing a redemption in this time of utter sadness and despair, of life-threatening thirst, and a supernatural fear-inspired demand for more blood? Where is the real God? The Mariner's plight is worse than Job's!


    YiLi Lin
    September 17, 2000 - 12:31 pm
    The real god is within- so sayeth writings on just about every historical tracing of modern religious beliefs- christian, jew, muslim, buddhist, etc. so perhaps that is why there is no redemption to be found- people who seek redemption sometimes seek it from ANother, rather than coming to terms and accepting the self. And Barbara this will get exciting- I think we need to spend some time figuring out just what love is- whether in a societal or universal sense, or lets split those hairs and explore the possibility that love (not the text book versions of altruistic, romantic, etc.) by whatever way we uncover its nuances may have different qualities if it is societal from when it is universal. Hmm so in universal love which should transcend humans do animals "love", do plants "love". According to some indigenous belief systems that all matter contains spirit- I wonder if that was a hint to the possibility that all matter is capable of love- interesting even in light of the god (gods) discussions- perhaps that 'godlove' people seek is a universal love- an energy of spirit found in all creation?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 17, 2000 - 02:20 pm
    YiLi Lin - Why are we hooking Love, Spirit and God together?

    September 17, 2000 - 04:45 pm
    Back to my thought ..re a poem is a collaboration between two people ..the writer and the reader.. I am beginning to think I liked this poem better when I just read it dramatically outloud without thinking what each word meant...

    I dont know what that says about me...perhaps I just love a good story ..and believe the author did as well ...somehow I feel we take the fun out of reading ...when we try to interpret each word etc

    I will just continue to read your posts and drop a thought in for consideration .....

    anna in Virginia who is just a simple lady ..well maybe a bit convoluted but not too twisted

    betty gregory
    September 17, 2000 - 05:54 pm
    Annafair, you brave soul for admitting your impatience with looking too closely at each word. So, I'll join you. Maybe I'm just finding this out about myself, but the need to look at the whole is so strong that it takes something away from looking (so slowly) at such small parts. Same for books, too. (Also, I get restless and go on to 6 new books.)

    That doesn't mean I'm not enjoying reading all the posts of those who do like this closer look. Very, very interesting posts. Sometimes, I envy your patience, but other times I'm ok with my own need for the whole.

    September 17, 2000 - 07:20 pm
    Shasta that is not symbolism when Twain put a black and a white boy on the river that was grist for the actually story he was telling. I am afraid that my bent is more to looking at the actual story that is being told and yes, looking for some meaning some intrinsic value too. In reading epic poetry I look for the eternal myth behind the authors words. The nightmare the old mariner is going through, well I can not see any cohernt dream here but then dreams and hallucinations are not coherent are they. The ghost ship comes carring Death and Deaths Mate Animus and Anima both, and gets between the mariner and the sun(he/god)and leaves bars(locked up behind bars) across his face. So he is now seperated from the sun by the spectre.Death and Deaths Mate. FP

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 17, 2000 - 07:37 pm
    Count me in as a member of Annafair's team. She has said succinctly exactly what I've been thinking since the discussion of Part 1 began. To fly so far afield is to lose the essence of the poem. My opinion.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 02:00 am
    I love it - something for every taste - this site is especially for those who have as the site says,
    “a strong dislike for "analyzing a story to death." Sometimes the symbolic interpretation of a story or poem can seem pretty far-fetched.

    Nevertheless, as soon as you start writing, you start writing on some kind of symbolic level. Maybe you're not conscious of it, but it's there: in your characters, their actions, the setting, and the images. (Some writers are very powerful symbolists, but don't realize it; that's why authors are often poor critics of their own work.)”

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 02:11 am
    This part is so filled with imagery that the peom is becoming the Saga of the Mariner or the Tragic Song of the Mariner and certainly the voyage is taking on the aspects of a Myth. The brutality of the sun is really felt when Coleridge speaks of blackened lips.

    By considering the poem as a myth, especially with so many phrases continuing to enlighten our conversation, of course I needed to research the concept of myth to see if would fit. This is what I found:

    The myth is valuable for revealing knowledge. It is an intellectual, even a spiritual, tool, of which truth and wisdom could at one and the same time both be expressed. The ancients rightly regarded spiritual truth and experience as being incapable of being understood by words alone. A myth or an allegory would make a better means of conveying subtly and with a certain added force, the truth veiled under a set form of dramatic presentation. The myth would enhance spiritual truth as a drama reinforces moral situations.

    Its message is all the more powerful because it was known not to be a true story. Attention could be given wholly to the hidden message, which was not obscured by the outward occurrence. The myth known to be fictitious, deceives no one, but at the same time it is designed to instruct in the deepest of spiritual truths.

    The myth is abstract vocabulary and concepts and uses personification (symbols) and narrative instead of logical argument or scientific method (stories about gods of love, death, etc.).

    Characteristics of myth:

    1. Everything "out there" that impacts humans seen as acting with will and personality. Interchangeable relationship between humans and world.

    2. Symbolic representation, personification. Storm is warrior, earth is mother, etc. A symbol is given a name and personality. Symbols remain with us, however they might shift, expand, and contract across the boundaries of time, space and culture. They are deeply ingrained, as fundamental to our lives as they are to our literature.

    3. The significance of a symbol. Three levels: storm/storm god/image or statue. Worship not sticks-and-stones idolatry (as monotheistic religions claim), but worship of power behind symbol; however, symbol takes on sanctity because it indicates presence of power.

      The investing of outward things or actions with an inner meaning, more especially for the expression of religious ideas, symbolism is essential to every kind of external worship.

      For the Christian in the matter of baptisms and washings, of genuflection’s and other acts of reverence, of lights and sweet smelling incense, of flowers and white vestments, of unction and the imposing of hands, of sacrifice and the rite of the communion banquet, the Church has borrowed, without hesitation, from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations.

    4. If myths are symbolic representations of truth, then you can have more than one set of symbols representing the same thing. There is no question of the correct or orthodox version, since several versions can coexist.

    5. With the above truth, by analyzing the myth of a society you can get at the basic outlook and philosophy of the society. Analysis is by close reading, reading in geographical/political/economic context, and by cross-cultural comparisons for similarities and contrasts to get at cultural influences and nuances of difference.

    Myth as a cloak for abstract thought, implies that the mythmaker realized that abstract concepts were behind his stories.
    The sun which every evening goes down into the waters and every morning reappears in the sky is an appropriate symbol for the doctrine of the soul in its cyclic transmigration. Or the Sun as sky boat.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 02:43 am
    This is a "BY THE WAY"-- I had no idea that there was this kind of symbolism in our most honored medals. It probably needs to be in another discussion but it so illustrated how much symbolism is in the very fabric of our culture.
    The Navy's Medal of Honor
    was the first approved and the first designed.

    The Medal of Honor design consisted of an INVERTED, 5-pointed STAR. On each of the five points was a cluster of LAUREL leaves to represent victory, mixed with a cluster of OAK to represent strength. Surrounding the encircled insignia were 34 stars, equal to the number of stars in the US Flag at the time in 1862....one star for each state of the Union including the 11 Confederate states. The stars are also symbolic of the "heavens and the divine goal which man has aspired to since time immemorial" according to Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress back in 1777.

    Inside the circle of 34 stars were engraved two images. To the right is the image of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. On her helmet is perched an owl, representing WISDOM. In keeping with the Roman tradition, her left hand holds a bundle of rods and an ax blade, symbolic of authority. The shield in her right hand is the shield of the Union of our states (similar to the shield on our seal and other important emblems.)

    Recoiling from Minerva is a man clutching snakes in his hands. He represented DISCORD and the insignia came to be known as "Minerva Repulsing Discord". Taken in the context of the Civil War soldiers and sailors struggling to overcome the discord of the states and preserve the Union, the design was as fitting as it was symbolic.

    The ribbon that held the medal was originally a blue bar on top and 13 red and white stripes running vertically. The 13 represents the original 13 colonies. The color white represents purity and innocence, red represents hardiness, valor and blood, blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. The stripes also represent the rays of the sun.

    In 1965 the Air Force MOH was created and it replaced the Minerva portrait with the head of the Statue of Liberty. Lady liberty has a pointed crown instead of a helmet. And she does stand for liberty although she is derived from the imagery of Semiramis, wife of Nimrod, and Queen of Babylon. Semiramis was famed for her beauty, strength, and wisdom and was said to have built the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. She purportedly reigned for 42 years after taking control from Nimrod. She is a mythical figure who might be somewhat based upon a historical figure.

    Joan Pearson
    September 18, 2000 - 06:48 am
    Well, if we just take the poem at "story value" and stop talking about the symbolism, which some prefer to do, (and I include myself in that group, I must admit - finding it impossible to resist)...

    ...but if we just take the "story" in Part II, the appearance of the "spectre-bark", and its passengers, then we are still groping for the meaning, aren't we? Coleridge is telling us in this description of the "ship" that it is not only a ship (bark), but it is a spectre ship...a phantom ship.

    So now it's impossible to leave the story at the first level - the story...otherwise it would go something like this...the Mariner's crew drifting, barely moving, a painted ship on a painted sea, the sun relentless, no water, Mariner feeling guilty, accepting blame with this huge dead bird the size of a man draped upon his shoulders - in this heat!. Suddenly appears a ship out of nowhere, with these two babes who play some sort of a game..."I win, I win", says the one...and that means that the one who Lost gets to kill off all the crew and the Winner gets our Mariner.

    Now, we can't accept that level and say we enjoy the poem for the story, can we? I admit that's simplistic, but once we reach for the next level, we start to depart from the "story" , we are forced to...

    Starting with the "spectre-ship", the phantom-ship...it wasn't a REAL ship. What was it?

    Several clues are presented...it begins to appear in the distance, just before the SUN sets, (relents, loses its power)...it is vague, it is WHAT? Is it NOT the MOON? Le sol, la lune. As the Sun is "HE", the Moon ... Woman? Now we are starting the symbolism that some of you resist...there are NO women in these tale, are there> (I haven't read the whole thing through?) So we are forced to question Women here...and have no choice but to look to the meaning of the MOON in relation to the SUN.

    The Moon/Woman comes between Man and God in history, does she not? In this way, does Woman NOT signify Death? She certainly saps the strength of the Sun, putting him behind "bars" - "as if through a dungeon-grate he peered with broad and burning face..."

    sending him off as she takes over the lives of the crew. But what of the dual presence on that ship? We are told that the MOON appears "star-dogged"...for those who need to look closer for the significance of this, I'd like to explore the meaning of the Star and the Death - in - Life presence that "wins" the Mariner...

    What IS the moon? What are stars?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 08:18 am
    The sun, in its shining prime and glory, giver of heat and light and life, a passionate aspect of the Great Mother, the versatile Jill-of-all-Trades who issues forth and supports whole life. She was the Queen of Heaven and Earth,

    The Celtic poets say that on Doomsday, She will bear a daughter who will be the new sun, the next creation, the luminous world to come. Her celebrations took place on hilltops overlooking springs. A major ceremonial site was Silbury Hill (Sulisbury Hill) adjacent to the springs at Bath, once called Aquae Sulis. The Romans dedicated altars at Bath, sacred to Sul Minerva.

    Some early Christian mystics gazed upon the sun, the shining shawl which encircles Our Lady's shoulders, until they "became blinded by the light." It was understood that once having contemplated such brilliance, there was nothing left worthy of being seen. The success of this practice seems to have been a sure path to sainthood.

    The goddess was the controller of the cosmos, the sun and the celestial cycles. According to Greek mythology, Leto laid an egg which produced two offspring, the sun and the moon, Apollo and Artemis. The Maori Sun God must descend into the uterine cave of the Waters of Life in order to be regenerated daily.

    With the advent of the patriarchy, the sun underwent a sex change. Profound, this gender shift was a portrayal of the left brain revolution, the ascendance of rationality over passion. Female divinity was overthrown. The sun, with the strength of its brilliance, its sheer presence and potency, came to stand for the masculine principle, the power of rational thinking. <b?The moon, reflective, more subtle and seemingly erratic, came to be associated with the feminine in most cultures. Although the traits of the sun are thought to be male, it retains its female designation in the languages of Northern Europe, Arabia and Japan.
    "There is no sensible thing in all
    the world more worthy to be an
    image of God than the sun, which
    with its sensible light illumines first
    itself, and then all celestial and ele-
    mentary bodies; so God first illu-
    mines Himself with intellectual
    light, and then the celestial and
    other Intelligences."

    -Dante - 13th-Century Italian

    the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings." This was taken by the early Christians as a reference to the coming of Christ. There are other Sun-god figures in the Old Testament under a wide variety of names. They are Samson (whose name means "solar"), David, Solomon, Saul (equals soul, or sol, the sun--Latin.), Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Jephtha and the like. Their actions identify them as solar representatives. .Like Greek and Roman temples, the first churches were built with Eastern oriented facades, and worshippers faced the East, the direction of the rising sun, while praying.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 08:20 am
    Malachi, the Old Testament prophet, speaks as an oracle from God, "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings." This was taken by the early Christians as a reference to the coming of Christ. There are other Sun-god figures in the Old Testament under a wide variety of names. They are Samson (whose name means "solar"), David, Solomon, Saul (equals soul, or sol, the sun--Latin.), Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Jephtha and the like. Their actions identify them as solar representatives. .Like Greek and Roman temples, the first churches were built with Eastern oriented facades, and worshippers faced the East, the direction of the rising sun, while praying.

    Because the sun is always predictable, invincibly there (in temperate and tropical climates,), it was deemed to be all seeing, all knowing, all powerful. An eye is the symbolic expression of this concept. In Greece, the sun, Helios, is the eye of Zeus; in northern Europe, the eye of Odin; in Oceania, the eye of Atea; and in Islam, the eye of Allah.

    Since it determines both the cycle of the day and the circle of the seasonal year, the sun provides the framework within which our world revolves. As such, it suggest all celestial and earthly order. Due to its dependability, the sun stands for authority. Law and Order.

    Civil law is a projected value of the structured order of the universe. Hammarabi, who in the 18th Century B.C. codified Babylonian law, is always pictured standing on a stone column inscribed with the Code of the king and is facing Shamash, the sun, in Whom justice dwells. It is He who has sent down the law. Shamash, the sun was known as "great judge of heaven and earth" and His Sun Temple was "the house of the judge of the world."

    In Europe, kings and queens have claimed kinship to the cosmos. The first Christian emperor, Constantine I, was a sun worshipper. His coinage carried its radiant countenance along with a dedication to "the invincible sun, my guardian." In 17th Century France, Louis XIV, "the Sun King," surrounded his court in solar imagery and gilded it in pure gold of the sun as pronouncement of royal alliance with the Powers That Be.

    In a family context the Sun represents the main male figure or father. He may also represent any figure of authority. Vitality, Creativity, Ruler, King, Ego, Significance, Crown, Proudly, Gold, Hearth, Haughty, Arrogant, Egocentric, Powerful, Self-esteem, Inner self, Value, Forceful, leadership, Will, Power, Domineering, Self-centered, Egotistic, Father, Husband, Authority, Boss, B Basic Behavior, Character.

    Red in the West is the color of fire and blood and is symbolically ambivalent. On the one hand, red is the color of passion, fertility, sentiment, love, warmth and the life-giving principle. On the other hand, red is the color of anger, war and fire's destructive power. In alchemy, red is the color of the Philosopher's Stone (the goal of the alchemists) and carries the light of the sun.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 18, 2000 - 08:40 am
    StarThe presence of a divinity; supremacy; the eternal; the undying; the highest attainment; the angelic messanger of God; hope as shining in the darkness; the eyes of the night. The stars are attributes of the all Queens of Heaven, who are often star-crowned. the star is the symbol of Ishtar, Venus, as morning and evening star. The pole star marks the pivotal point in the sky and is thus the Gate of Heaven at night. Devine Guidanceand favour; the birth of Christ. the emblem for saints Athanasia, Bruno, Dominic, Humbert, Nickolas, Swidbert.

    The belief that the stars could tell what the gods planned was also old. Mesopotamians thought that anything out of the ordinary could be a message from the gods--an omen. Omens of all sorts were recorded for future reference. Any eclipse would warn the king to put his affairs in order and get right with the gods. Records from the reign of Ammisaduqa, the grandson of Hammurabi, show that scholars had already begun keeping systematic records of the movements of the planet Venus. (Venus, whether morning or evening star, is the easiest planet to see, and thus probably the first discovered.)

    The Greeks translated the Mesopotamian names into their Greek equivalents, making the planets into Greek gods. The powers of the planets were personal likes and dislikes and the myths of the gods were used to interpret their powers. Kronos (or Saturn, to use the Roman name) was interpreted as a hostile planet, with deadly influences, because Kronos killed his father in mythology. Prayers were made to the planet-gods, especially in magic texts. This approach can be called "religious" or "spiritist" astrology. The two forms of astrology were not sharply split. Prayers to a planet god were best offered at an hour when he was most powerful. "Religious" astrology is rather less common in the late twentieth century than is the "scientific" variety.

    Jews also adopted astrological symbolism and gave it their own interpretation. It was not possible to portray God directly. This was forbidden by the Second Commandment. But it was possible to portray Him indirectly, by portraying His assistants, the angels of astrology. It is important, too, that the zodiac is always shown together with images of salvation, such as Daniel or Isaac, and with symbols of Jewish religion, such as the menorah or the Ark. The God who chose the Israelites to be His own was the same who ruled the universe by means of the planets. Just as the angels worshipped in the presence of the Almighty, so the men and women of Beth Alpha worshipped in the presence of the angels. Just as the Sun and Moon were faithful and eager to serve their Creator, so were the people of Israel.

    Moon Whether male or female the moon is universally symbolic of the rhythm of cyclic time; universal becoming. The birth, death and suction phases o moonsymbolize immortality and eternity, perpetual renewal, enlightenment. The moon also represents the dark side of nature, the spiritual aspect of light in darkness; inner knowledge; the irrational, intuitional and subjective.Human reason as reflected light from the divine sun. The eye at night as the sun is the eye of day. The bringer of change as periodic re-creation of time and measurment, time being first measured by lunar phases. Suffering and decay, man's condition on earth; the realm of becoming. It controls tides, rain, waters, floods and seasons hence the span of life.

    The Moon also corresponds to the notion of a personal soul, as opposed to the universal soul, or anima mundi (Neptune); often indicates a strong emotional foundation which may in turn foster a sense of inner peace and tranquility.

    The Moon is also associated with a need for material security. Indeed, many people feel that they can only experience internal stability and tranquility of soul if the material dimension of life has been attended to properly. Material comforts may also lead to sensory experiences and impressions through which we encounter new dimensions of soul. The materialism of the Moon, a meaningful use of such resources to further enhance both our spiritual and worldly experience.

    The Sun and Moon together depicted together represnt the hieros games, the sacred marriage of heaven and earth. The frog and the toad live in the moonOften the toad or hare is three-legged protraying the three lunar phases. There is the man in the moon who carries a load of logs as a punishment. The sould of lunar animals; the general state of behavior. The moon with the sun depicted in crucifixion scenes represents the dual nature of Christ. The moon is the abode of Archangel Gabriel and Michael in the sun.

    YiLi Lin
    September 18, 2000 - 09:53 am
    I agree with those who wish to read a good tale for the sake of the tale- and I do that often. However, I find that here on the "discussions" we are encouraging and engendering discourse, which to me is the difference between my solitary reading for myself and the reading I do to explore new ideas with others.

    Faith the "eternal myth"- I think that is an important concept for what we do here- we look for the mythology of either our own modern lives or suppose the myths that guided the hand of poets, storytellers and ancient mariners. And as Barbara points out, these myths are encrypted in symbolism. But Barbara I do a hair split on symbols of "truth" symbols and myths I believe are experiential truths.

    No women! bye gosh- yes! dare we digress and imagine this ship with an all female crew- or at least one woman- hmmmmmmm.

    September 18, 2000 - 10:11 am
    That is the wonderful thing about discussions ...each can express their opinion and feeling...how dull if we all agreed and in lock step kept saying the same thing...nope I love it just as it is ...everyones posts gives all a chance to see another side ...sometimes I feel I would rather read and go on and other times I want to chew the subject long enough to digest it completely..

    I would never discourage anyone from feeling differently than I ...and I dont think anyone who comes here has such a delicate ego they would be turned away by a difference in opinion. I see all who post here as strong, thoughtful, with powerful ideas and opinions and able to accept anothers thoughts for what they are,..a different side of a thought.

    Love you posters hmmm maybe postees ? anna in Virginia who is feeling sassy with cooler weather finally here

    September 18, 2000 - 01:55 pm
    The Spectre Woman is so far the only woman in his poem and she is in the Nightmare. Admiral Fop has a deep interest in women who went to sea in the prior two centuries. Not Spectre women but wifes and servants and some crew members too. The so called superstition was not alive and well in the Royal Navy. The Historical Maritime Society

    Nelson and His Navy - Women under Canvas

    You are at: Home : Nelsons Navy : Women

    The more one reads of life within the wooden world the more confusing the role of women within that world becomes. To be sure there are regular references to women being carried but this is usually as a result of a charter or delivering an official and his family to some far-flung British outpost. As early as 1587 the printed regulations forbade women on board ship and the threat of severe punishment was proposed for those who contravened the order. However from then on written sources hint that the rule was ignored, and that for the next 250 years women were glimpsed on board but only as shadowy figures flitting around below decks.

    There is, however, a clear distinction to be made between those who visited the ship to further their trade, the oldest profession in the world, who left when the ship sailed and those who were there when the ship sailed, often with the collusion of the ship's officers. Of those living aboard the ship, they appeared to represent the social classes in that there were the women who served the needs of men and others who served the officers. Most of the contemporary references to this situation are drawn from various ribald songs which have survived from the time. Furtiveness was their watch word as they existed in a gloomy half-light between decks. What we lack is a first-hand account, so far as we know, no women recorded their exploits of life at sea.

    However, there was obviously concern from official quarters that this practice existed judging by the regulations in successive rule books. All through the eighteenth century the rules included articles such as this example from 1756:

    " ... no woman ever be permitted on board but such as are really the wives of the men they come to, and the Ship not to be too much pestered with them. But the indulgence is only to be tolerated in Port and not under Sailing Orders."

    The Captain of the CAMILLA in 1809 wrote that he disapproved of the previous Captain's habit of "having with him a kept mistress, a companion that did not do much honour to his station".

    Naturally many women visited ships when then were in harbour and it was noted that "it is frequently the case that men take two prostitutes on board at a time, so that sometimes there are more women on board than men ... Men and women ... shamelessly and unblushingly couple like dogs"

    It was always the case when a ship entered harbour that the bum-boats flocked out to it full to the gunwales with prostitutes which were selected by the sailors and brought on board. The boatman who brought them out often acted as a pimp and Jack Nastyface in his book describes the boatmen getting three shillings on top of his regular fare for each woman he brought out.

    The other group of women to be found aboard ship were the wives of officers, marines and seamen. There are allusions to officer's wives living on board at least semi-permanently from 1600. By 1800 it was certainly not unusual for admirals downwards to take their wives with them on a cruise. After Nelson had been seriously wounded at Santa Cruz he asked to be taken to another ship so that he would not offend the wife of Captain Fremantle, Betsy, with his wounds. She was on board his flagship the SEAHORSE.

    In 1800 Captain Sir William Henry Dillon took his wife to sea with him in the LEOPARD, the reason for this we are told was that he had recently married her and found out too late that she was a total spendthrift and would quickly squander his fortune. By taking her with him she would have no opportunity to spend anything. We know too that Dillon's Second Lieutenant also had his wife on permanently on board. The warrant and petty officers also applied to various Captains for permission to take their wives on board and this was rarely refused. We hear of Admiral St. Vincent complaining of the amount of water which women used while at sea for washing and the like.

    Richardson, the Gunner of the TROMP in 1800 took his wife with him on a cruise to the West Indies. He originally felt this was not suitable due to the terrible disease problems in their destination, Martinique. However, "after some entreaty I gave my consent, especially as the Captain's, the Master's, The Purser's and the Boatswain's wives were going with them: the Sergeant of marines and six other men's wives had leave to go."

    Although women were on board they rarely appeared but we do know that when the HORATIO struck a rock in 1815 and all hands were called to the pumps five women appeared to help. Only one of them was known to the officer present and that was the bosun's wife. Fifty years before that a dead woman was found "sewn up in a hammacoe" in the bread room of the DEFIANCE. After a court of enquiry it was decided that she had died of a fever and that those who knew of her existence were acquitted It is known for certain that women were present on many cruises and that they took part in some engagements. Those present at the Battle of the Nile (1798) certainly petitioned to be awarded the commemorative medal claiming they had served a gun during the fight. John Nicol, who served in the powder magazine of the GOLIATH at the Nile kept abreast of what was happening in the heat of action by consulting the women and boys who carried the cartridges. "Any information we got was from the boys and the women who carried the powder. The women behaved as well as the men ... I was much indebted to the Gunner's wife who gave her husband and me a drink of wine every now and then ... Some of the women were wounded and one woman belonging to Leith died of her wounds. One woman bore a son in the heat of the action: she belonged to Edinburgh ..." After Trafalgar (1805) Jane Townshend of the DEFIANCE applied for her medal "presenting strong and highly satisfactory certificates of her useful services during the combat".

    What did these women do during combat? The usual job seemed either to help the surgeon with his gruesome task or else to run cartridges to the guns. There has recently been some discussion as to a painting by Thomas Stothard showing a gun being served in the heat of action. Some commentators feel that two of the figures around the gun are women. I am not so sure. One of the problems for the modern historian is that the women were not rated and therefore did not appear in any of the muster lists.

    There were a third category of women to be found aboard the ships - those who masqueraded as men. The most famous case, admittedly during an earlier war, was that of Hannah Snell who served for at least five years as a seaman, soldier and even marine. At the battle of Pondicherry she was wounded in twelve places and removed one bullet herself to avoid detection! When she finally returned home she declared herself and was given her pay. In our period most of the references to female sailors are taken from popular songs and must be greeted with some scepticism. However from a court-martial document of 1807 we read that " one of the witnesses in this awful and horrible trial was a little female tar, Elizabeth Bonden, who has been on board the HAZARD these eight months. She appeared in court in a long jacket and blue trousers..." Another 'cross-dresser' was recorded in the QUEEN CHARLOTTE where, in 1815 William Brown had been serving for eleven years. William was a ' negress' and reportedly an excellent seaman, having filled, for many years, the prime position of Captain of t

    September 18, 2000 - 02:13 pm
    (cont) Elizabeth Bonden, who has been on board the HAZARD these eight months. She appeared in court in a long jacket and blue trousers..." Another 'cross-dresser' was recorded in the QUEEN CHARLOTTE where, in 1815 William Brown had been serving for eleven years. William was a ' negress' and reportedly an excellent seaman, having filled, for many years, the prime position of Captain of the Main Top. Earlier in the eighteenth century one William Prothero, a private marine on board the AMAZON, was discovered to be a Welsh girl of eighteen who had followed her lover to sea.

    There is another case where the Admiralty themselves told a captain to engage a respectable woman for the voyage and rate her able seaman. However she was to act as a maid to some princesses who were to be carried to foreign climes.

    The role of women within the wooden world can therefore be seen to be much more complex than previously supposed and it was only the complex rules and expectations of the time which prevented the whole subject being acknowledged and talked about more openly.

    As re-enactors we are doubly fortunate in that women can take an active role on board ship and still remain women without having to dress up as men.

    Click here to go back to Nelson and his Navy


    You are at: Home : Nelsons Navy : Women

    Unless otherwise stated all text and images are copyright The Historical Maritime Society 2000

    betty gregory
    September 18, 2000 - 03:33 pm
    So interesting, Faith!!! Patrick O'Brian's 20 book series of the best friends Captain Aubrey and physician/spy Maturin in the British Royal Navy gives many examples of women that fit the historical examples you list. O'Brian was a meticulous researcher. The only thing I can add is that captains varied in their adherance to the laws and in their beliefs. O'Brian's Captain Aubrey actually thought women on board brought bad luck in two ways---that prostitutes and wives (representing the very real 2 groups of women of society) kept the men from doing their jobs well and, second, a true superstitious belief of ill omen. Both men fell in love, though, at different times in the series, and said many painful goodbyes to wives before sailing away for a year or two, sometimes meeting children long after they were born. There were many other incidents of transporting welcome and unwelcome women, too, because there were no other ways for families of high military station (and otherwise) to be transported to distant posts.

    I had no idea that no records were made by women at sea. Of course, this is also during the time that no one would have published women's accounts. Oh, what a loss!!

    September 18, 2000 - 08:49 pm
    Cap'n Ginny, Sir! Since I was the last name on the list to get the video of the Ancient Mariner, who gets it next? Or shall I send it back to you, Mein Kapitan?

    A arvelous reading, with the mellifluous voice of Sir Michael Redgrave!


    September 18, 2000 - 10:21 pm
    Alan Villier's book, Falmouth for Oders, is an account of the HERZOGIN CECILIE, in a race around Cape Horn, in 1928, carrying a female stowaway. Near the end of the book the author recounts a 'yarn' he had with the stowaway.

    'On this day of calm I seized the opportunity to have a yarn with our stowaway. It was rather extraordinary, having a girl stowaway with a sailing ship, and I wanted to find out what she thought about things.'

    "I was never happier in my life. I know that I was looked upon with suspicion and distrust - anything but friendliness - when I made my prescence known at first; I knew that it was a rotten thing that I had done, to come here. I was glad to turn to as cabin 'boy' and was not long in discovering that there was plenty for me to do. I set out to please...and do all I could, and so won something approaching the toleration of the ship's company. I am glad to say that in the course of the long voyage I came to be looked upon, more or less, as part of the ship's company, and nobody seemed to have any violent objections to my being there. They didn't like it, of course.

    "I have gone to some pains to discover what were the sailors' objections to the prescence of women in their ship. I found them pretty natural. There are three chief ones, I think. First, that the presence of one unattached woman in a ship of men is highly undesirable and sure to cause troubles, in one way or another; secondly, that the nervousness and 'intuition' of womes is bad for the morale of the sailing ship; and thirdly, that the more delicate nature of women renders her unfit for the long and hard voyages of the sailing ship, which require a strength of character as well as physical strength that would find a good many women out. I pooh-poohed these objections, of course - for am I not a representative of my sex? - but looking back now I admit frankly that there is more than something in them. They are, indeed, pretty logical - the whole three of them. It is the second that is of most importance, perhaps. There is no place for nerves in a sail-ship, and her people don't want to hear about 'intuitions.' If things are coming, they want to let them come, and meet them then - not to worry about them beforehand and fret themselves into a state of nervous prostation so they cannot deal with the emergency when it arises...If I have intuitions, I don't tell anybody; if I am nervous sometimes, I try not to show it; if I ever don't feel quite like myself, I just keep on; Still it isn't an easy business...

    "Everybody has been very good to me, after the first few days when their pessimism and anger worked off a bit. It was a rotten trick I had played on them, I knew...I don't know - something that wasn't me seemed to urge me on.

    The days have passed pleasantly enough. I made a dress or two, and always have plenty to do...How do I like the life? And going around Cape Horn? I loved it! I was Wonderful! Beautiful! Glorious! I understood at last the urge that had sent me there; I found I was alive.

    "It is hard to explain - it is always hard to explain anything worth while - but there is an attraction about life in a sailing ship...almost overwhelming...It is queer how things just go on peacefully and smoothly at sea...I don't want to make port, though it will be interesting. It will mean the end of the beautiful sea-life for me.

    "No one who has not been in one can conceive how beautiful it is to be at sea in a sailing ship. Everything is beautiful and peaceful, and clean. Noiselessly, with a gentle motion, the great ship glides on with the water breaking into white at her bows and lapping softly all around her. One can, in some indescribable sort of way, get outside oneself in conditions like that, and look in, and see the things that do matter and those that don't...The sailing ship is a wonderful developer of character and moulder of lives; and she is a creation of beauty indescribable.

    It is the best thing that has ever happened in my life - this voyage. The only worry I have is how I can get one voyage more. Would I like one? I desire nothing more than that! Shall I have one? Yes! How? I haven't the least idea. I shall leave it to the fate that put me aboard HERZOGIN CECILIE."

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 19, 2000 - 12:47 am
    Wow between Faith and Jonathan I have new pictures of woman at sea. Great research Faith-- my impressions up to now were either damsels in distress or the ship's captain's lady but this is an eye opener. I guess I can bury my guilt of spending so many hours gazing out of the window in the eigth grade dreaming of being at sea and wishing I was a boy. Had I read Alan Villier's book, Falmouth for Oders I may have learned my dreams weren't weired and I didn't have to feel quilty about thinking I had to be a boy. Shuish in those years was I really angry that I was a girl.

    September 19, 2000 - 03:39 am
    Cookie,I think Maryal is next for the video?

    ON my way out of town I need to stop and say thanks to all of you for this fabulous discussion, back tomorrow for a closer look at your points!

    I was reading an article last night which asked the question similar to Joan P's question about the "imaginary bird" earlier, "is the spectre bark real?" Is it an hallucination? Who else saw the ship and its contents?

    That's interesting, isn't it?

    I'm printing out your posts and will carry with me, see you tomorrow.

    In other words, the essayist was asking could all this be a figment of the Mariner's imagination? The whole thing? Note the crew has no captain?

    What do you make of that thought, if you make anything at all of it?

    Welcome back, our Jonathan, we have surely missed you! Wonderful research, Barb, as per usual!

    Cap'n Crunch

    September 19, 2000 - 03:48 am
    Thanks for all the posts on women at sea. Interesting since it is new to me but I am glad to hear they were there.

    I think what is also interesting some of the same type of objections to women at sea are still voiced and many are very vocal against having women serve on military ships. anna in Virginia who loved sailing on the America years ago..It was hard for me to imagine a girl from mid America doing something so adventuresome...

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 19, 2000 - 05:13 am
    Re: Question #2 above --

    Whether in the Mariner's universe or in the universe of all of us, I believe that it is 90% a roll of the dice. Justice has nothing to do with it. I know many here will disagree with me but I think of the lottery. A particular number is handed to me and that is it. (It is common in combat for a soldier who escaped a bullet to say: "That one didn't have my number on it."

    Think of the work being done nowadays on genes. Each of us is handed particular genes by chance. Within that "box" (the 90% mentioned above) we have an opportunity in our small way to make a minute change in our life (the 10%) but eventually the genes win out.

    If a patient comes to me and mentions that he once had a heart attack, I ask him (her) if there is a history of cardiac problems in the family. If yes, then genes may very well be there.

    "The game is done! I've won! I've won!" Death wins the crew. Life-in-Death wins the Mariner. We cannot know which way our lives will go. Even with the genes, we might live to 100. And depending also upon our genes which also have an effect on our approach to life, we might move on ahead happily or we might spend the rest of our lives grabbing the jacket of others and telling everyone we meet about our time on the operating table or our near death experience in a car accident.

    Regardless of which approach we take, it is often common after such an experience to change our ways toward others:

    "He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small:
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all."


    Joan Pearson
    September 19, 2000 - 06:18 am
    Sometimes it seems we go far afield (asea?) from the poem, but then again, the poem seems to be pushing us to do just that, doesn't it?

    Coleridge provides so many sparks that send us in many different directions... lately to women at sea. Jonathan, there is to be said about those three descriptions of women at see...especially the second... women's intuition. Not just at sea, that intuition plays a strong role, often infuriating and frustrating the fact-loving male! Her intuition is often related to the Tide, the Moon, her monthlies...

    But this time, our Mariner comes under her (the Moon's) spell! Was there actually a ship? Of course not. What was it then? Did the other men on the ship see the same vague blur of a ship as did the Mariner? He slit his skin and drank his blood to moisten his lips and call to them, but there is no indication that they saw anything at all. (Except perhaps the "horned Moon with ONE Bright Star Within the Nether Tip"). That was factually all he saw. Barbara, thanks for the research on the Moon and Star...the Moon representing the cycle of life and death...came to complete the cycle for the crew...but along with her this night, came the lone star, symbol of the undying...the star which shone its light long ago, still shines its life after death. Death in Life.

    I think that no matter how one interprets what happened here, it is impossible NOT to be struck with the Mariner's vulnerability, helplessness, his passivity, his willingness to accept whatever hand he has been dealt, or as Robby says, however the dice have been tossed. But this Mariner (is he Coleridge, I have to wonder?) seems to accept not only his physical circumstance (I admit, he's in trouble), but within...his soul, his very conscience, he accepts the fact that Nature's fury is personally directed at himself, that the men are now dying because of his own single sin...the killing of that albatross. Ginny, I don't see him sitting there with that albatross carcass wrapped around his neck!!! Now, it's the symbolic albatross...and HE HAS PUT IT THERE HIMSELF...and is now hallucinating that the MOON and the DEATH STAR have approached the ship to mete out the punishment for his act which he has come to believe was evil, because others say it was.

    Is man really that helpless in the whole scheme of things? Or is he capable of more than the Mariner has exhibited here? In other words, does one have a choice whether or not to accept the roll of the dice? Or specifically, did the Mariner HAVE to accept that albatross around his neck because others demanded it of him? What if he hadn't? Would it have made any difference?

    September 19, 2000 - 08:08 am
    NoNoNoNoNo... Attention on deck!!!!! I have one of the Ancient Mariner Tapes and need someone to send it to. The three people I have emailed have already seen it.

    DOES anyone need the tape? If not, back to CAPN GINNY,SIR, it goes.

    Maryal the Multitasked Mariner

    September 19, 2000 - 08:25 am
    JoanP---Fascinating question--does the mariner have to accept the albatross when it is put around his neck? Is it still around his neck? Do the other mariners see the ghost ship?

    On a realistic level, the Mariner is outnumbered when the albatross is first hung around his neck. What can he do but accept it? Not to accept it, to fling it into the sea, would bring greater danger.

    I agree with you that the Mariner is hallucinating, or having a nightmare, or is caught up in an absurdist drama. (Beckett could have made a play of this poem, I think.) He bites his arm to get blood to moisten his mouth so that he can speak, but there is no response.

    Soon the Mariner will be completely alone in the world of the living. Can he save himself? Not on this ship, not in the middle of the ocean. No, he can't. The best he could hope for at this point would be to have Death win, but Life in Death wins the throw of the dice.

    There are situations in life over which the individual has no control, when the only control left to the individual is his or her response to the situation. (Idea stollen from Victor Frankl who survived the Death Camps.)

    By the way, have any of you noticed that no one in this poem has a Name? Hmmmmmmmmmm.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 19, 2000 - 08:27 am
    The fact that no one has a name helps us to relate this event to what goes on in Real Life.


    September 19, 2000 - 08:44 am
    Maryal and I both have the video tape for the Mariner! If there is anyone who hasn't seen it, please send me an email with your snail mail address and I'll forward it on to you! Otherwise, it goes back to Captain Bligh!

    We've got to put in somewhere for supplies. We need some lemons or limes or some such---the crew is starting to get scurvy!!

    Lorrie (Cookie)

    September 19, 2000 - 08:46 am
    Lorrie---We can't put in. We are becalmed in the middle of whoknowswhere with a very strange ship approaching. Don't worry about the limes and lemons. We won't be needing them.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 19, 2000 - 08:58 am
    We Cabin Boys live a down-to-earth life. It's "go for this," "get that," "where have you been?" We don't live in illusions. Doesn't any of the crew see that Coleridge wrote an allegory -- a prolonged metaphor of Real Life?

    Frustrated Cabin Boy

    September 19, 2000 - 08:59 am
    Maryal: On that sombre note, and as we go into Part III and that "spectre-bark" approaches, do you feel that there's something sinister awaiting us? I do.


    September 19, 2000 - 09:01 am
    Lorrie----Yes, I do indeed. This whole voyage is a major creepout for me.

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 19, 2000 - 09:06 am
    Robby, I'm with you. Coleridge wrote this poem as an allegory about real life. As far as I'm concerned, the psychological aspect of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the most important one of all. The reactions of the mariner to extraordinary abuse, extreme hardship, stress and deprivation are something that should be discussed here, I believe.


    September 19, 2000 - 05:49 pm
    I would like to hear more of your idea of the Rime being an allegory for life, Cabin Boy Robby! Can you make specific comparisons between what happens to the Mariner and Real Life?

    Could you enlarge on your theme a bit? Back tomorrow morning, I am carrying my own cheerful albatross around on my neck with your posts printed out it's about 4" thick, no kidding!

    Segue #1: OK, you've all seen the tape, great. Where does the bird fall in the tape?

    How long did the bird lie on the "deck" in the poem or do you think the mariners jumped in and swam and fished it out to hang it around the Mariner's neck?

    Do we have anybody besides me who is familiar with dead birds (Pat W??) who is willing to speculate how long it would take the bird to....er....fall apart in that heat? OR?? Or??

    Where is our bird lady Pat W???

    Big bird to wear around neck in bad heat.

    Thus speaketh the chicken farmer with no live chickens left but who would not wear one around neck for all the mariners in the ocean.

    Cap'n Chicken Little

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 19, 2000 - 06:07 pm

    I believe I did enlarge on that in Post 825. And to enlarge even further, if the person who keeps buttonholng someone to re-tell his story has flashbacks, then we have (as I stated in an even earlier posting) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After all, mental illness is nothing more than "normal" activities carried to an extreme.


    September 19, 2000 - 06:16 pm
    Real life is: We are born, we learn to be civilized hopefully, we mature and face danger at every turn as we begin to leave our mothers side, we reach our reproductive life,we reproduce, we love, we hate, we survive illness, death of beloved ones, our own sinister side must constantly be monitored, sometimes "the cast of fortunes dice" go against us,sometimes we are terrific winners , if we survive we age and we tell our stories and we die. That is real life. fp

    betty gregory
    September 19, 2000 - 06:22 pm
    Connections to life. We need to be known. We write, we tell, we wait to be answered, acknowledged, we tell more, we look for signs that we are known. Feedback, validation, understanding equals being known.

    Sometimes an entire lousy day can be turned around simply by someone acknowledging a post of mine. We want to be known.

    September 19, 2000 - 06:31 pm
    You are absolutely right Betty and that is probably the big draw to posting on the internet. Faith

    YiLi Lin
    September 19, 2000 - 06:54 pm
    Thanks for your reply Robert- because I too thought we hit on the allegory for life a bit back. But now that we are onto that again, and with the dynamite post from Faith, it would be neat to take another swipe at the concept, especially in terms of Part III.

    I'd like to think the notion of fortune's dice and what appears to be the survival of the mariner- who some think of as a not really nice guy- would really give us pause. I know I am thinking more and more about the if...then societal rules that were laid out to my generation, especially the rules written in the chapters for women.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 19, 2000 - 10:00 pm
    OK hugs hugs hugs all around we have all worked so hard and Betty hit a chord hugs Betty. I think this poem is forcing us deep in our inner sea or life's waters-- meaning we are touching the source of all potentialities in our understanding. It is great to be validated but I think for many of us validation means ageement and we are seeing something so personal that there are as many nuances to understanding as there is crew abourd this discussion therefore, we are not all in agreement. But yes, we can validate that you have done a fine job sharing what you understand. Please, I hope you can continue to enjoy your undestanding without others necessarily agreeing.

    Breathe everybody we are all OK! In fact, better than OK we have shared a gold mine of thought, and feelings in this discussion. For me it has been one of the best in quite awhile. Hehehe I have desided some of us are creating the 'gloss' with our research to this discussion. What is truly amazing is that none of us want to take the soft and easy way to understanding ourselves as we examine this poem.

    I do not know about y'all but this poem is like the shock of donner and blitzen as it is forcing me to acknowledge that I need to define, so that I can articulate, my inner beliefs. For me this is definatly an allagory to a soul journey more along the lines of Tolkien or Lewis or even Oscar Wilde's story of spring.

    Ginny the art work is fabulous and the one showing the woman in the bow that I assume was a spector was as ghostly a graphic as I've seen in awhile. It gave me the hibbies just looking at it.

    September 19, 2000 - 11:07 pm
    Thanks Betty, I always enjoy your posts. As I do those of YiLi Lin, Faith, Robert, Capt'n Ginny, Malryn, Maryal, Lorrie, Joan, and Annafair, and Barbara. And that is where I started tonight.

    It's too bad we can't watch each other reading these posts. A nod here, a shake of the head there, a raised eyebrow, a shrug, a smile.

    On the roll of the dice in life, Robert, or the luck of the draw, surely most people today would agree with you on that, while they vigorously argue that it is not so.

    I'll make use of a quotation from Joan's post, when I say, along with others I think, that it seems we have here the making of a guilt complex. And once he acquires it, he can never seem to shake it. In the end, despite all his efforts, and a temporary redemption, he still makes it obvious to the wedding guest that an exorcist is needed, to rid him of his self-induced fiends.

    Having accepted guilt, he suffers the torments of the guilty, whether of his own making, or imposed from without. But the complexity of it all! Or perhaps as someone has said: the absurdity of it all!

    Perhaps we can be certain of only one thing, and I think we should take it into account...the Mariner's inherited religious background, when trying to understand him as he acts or reacts. Of course he is made aware of and is acted upon by Spirits not of his heavenly hierarchy.

    The roll of the dice might indicate a loss of faith in his God whom he would have regulate and determine everything. O Christ!, Heavenly Mother!... he's still calling on them. The idea of rolling dice might serve him as an argument in denying or condoning guilt. Just as well, let us say, as: 'I didn't think that it was wrong to shoot the albatross.'

    He's a nice guy. He shows his concern for his shipmates with the heroic act of biting his arm for the blood which will make it possible to shout for help. A Sail! A Sail! Part 3 is the Mariner's, I think...of his own making in the form of hallucination The spectre-bark represents the hope (an act, surely), still alive in him. The crew don't seem to have any. Here is help!

    The spectre-bark comes, so to speak, at his bidding. Horrors! Instead of help it brings death for the crew, and the ensuing loneliness, not to mention the clinching which the curses give to the feeling of guilt.

    As Malryn says: it's the psychology...exploring, or observing the Mariner's mind and soul. The motivations...

    Oh!,Oh!, I'm in trouble. Goodnight All


    September 20, 2000 - 06:19 am
    On my grandparents' farm, they had a dog who relentlessly chased chickens all day, if he was allowed. To break him of this habit, my grandfather tied a dead chicken around the dog's neck securely, so that he couldn't dislodge it. After a few hours of carrying around this by now rotting bird, the dog was cured of his chicken-chasing for good. Has anyone else ever heard of this method?

    I would assume that by the time the sailors hung the albatross around the Mariner's neck, it had become fetid, at least!



    YiLi Lin
    September 20, 2000 - 10:13 am
    self-induced fiends- my sentiments exactly. thanks for expressing it so succinctly- we create our own demons, angels, spectres and gods,and thus our only recourse for redemption is to look within ourselves. ?

    Joan Pearson
    September 20, 2000 - 10:40 am
    YiLi, YESSSSSS exactly! We either look to ourselves, or trust in Astrology or the Moon, the tide, the gods to decide our fate as the poor, passive Mariner seemed to do.

    But hey, what if he did look to himself, and came up with the guilt thing and this is his response to his deed. Sigh......

    betty gregory
    September 20, 2000 - 10:52 am
    He may have looked within, but that was it. Whether he had PTSD (which is likely) with guilt/shame/regret/confusion added in, I think of it all in terms of "unfinished business." Things yet to be resolved. We probably all identify with that.

    September 20, 2000 - 11:47 am
    In order to psychoanalize the Mariner you need to know more about him before he sailed or in other words you need to know the Author who just puts him there and has him act, then suffer and bear the consquences in this nightmare of hallucination. If we look into the Author we might see a real split in his mind as to his Religion in his childhood, and his exposure later to the world of the Universalists, and to the wide reading he did which was not limited to English philosophers but ranged through all the Greek and Latin books he read which lead him to oriental philosophy too. So, he is still young and not aware himself of his own demons as the words pour out of him to make a poem, not a statement of what life is all about.!!

    As he matures he must have been just as concerned as some posters are as to "Why did I write thus and so?"what do I mean?Where did this come from? How can I explain this?" and he rewrote and reworked his epic poem. I assume he was never truly satisfied. And he also was using opium and knew what "nightmares of hallucinations" were really like and how unbearable that must have been for him. This may have been one way to write of these particular demons. Fp

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 20, 2000 - 02:51 pm
    When Robby wrote that the Rime of the Ancient Mariner is an allegory, a metaphor for real life, he did not mean that Coleridge was writing "a statement of what life is all about". Robby will correct me if I'm wrong, but I am of the opinion that what he meant is that the reaction of the Ancient Mariner to what I called "extraordinary abuse, hardship and persecution" in an earlier post is a rather typical reaction to extreme and terrible stress which can occur in real life today.

    I have no desire to psychoanalyze the Ancient Mariner or Coleridge, either. My only intention in interpreting this poem is to try to understand the mind, motivations, behavior and reactions of the lead character, the Ancient Mariner, as depicted in the poem by its creator.

    It also is not my intention when reading the Rime or anything else to find myself in this or other works. I wrote an autobiographical novel years ago which told me and tells me today more about myself than any other piece of literature I ever read. Because of some extremely severe stress from my childhood on, I can relate to some of the behavior and reactions of the Mariner, but I do not see me in him or him in me. I do, however, see some not untypical reactions to worse stress than I personally ever had in the Mariner's behavior.

    For example, it is my contention that shooting the albatross was not a huge "sin" in the mind of the Mariner. It was a deed he regretted, but not one that would have plagued him the rest of his life until the superstitious seamen accused him of killing the good omen which caused the breeze to blow and the ship to continue on its course. Since they believed the myth about the albatross, the seamen believed the killing of the bird caused the ship to become becalmed. The Mariner, therefore, became responsible in the seamen's eyes. He and he alone was the guilty one.

    Because of the action by the seamen of turning on him and placing the albatross on his back, the killing of the albatross took on immense proportions in the mind of the Ancient Mariner. Seeds of guilt were planted with the reaction of the Mariner to the action of the seamen, and what was a thoughtless prank, more or less, became a sin of immeasurable magnitude in his mind.

    The lack of water and the diminishment of food and nourishment while the ship was becalmed led to the hallucinatory nightmare of the spectre bark and the Mariner's vision of Life in Death. After all, that is what the hopeless experience was: "Life in Death". The seamen fall one by one in front of the Ancient Mariner, thus adding to the enormous burden of stress on him and the guilt he felt.

    The horror of the hell he alone lived through was etched deeply in his mind and led the Ancient Mariner to tell his story to anyone at hand in order to find relief from the terrible pain of the experience. Any relief he felt by reliving and purging himself of that experience was short-lived, so he told the story over and over and over again. This is something that happens today, happened yesterday and has happened for thousands and thousands of years to people who cannot bear the flashes of memory that torment them. This is how the story of the Ancient Mariner is related to real life today, in my understanding.

    What I've said here in this post is in part the kind of pscyhological study of this poem that I suggested be done here in this forum. It is not necessary to "psychoanalyze" the Ancient Mariner or Samuel Taylor Coleridge to find the answers and meaning that Coleridge himself wrote in this work.


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 20, 2000 - 03:06 pm
    Malryn's first paragraph in Post #849 is exactly what I meant.


    betty gregory
    September 20, 2000 - 04:16 pm
    Even though I'm new at this---looking at literary poems---I would think that some readers might see something familiar in the tale, might identify personally with something small or something large. Others might recognize portions as true to life, either from personal experience or general knowledge. Still others might make unexpected connections or, through discussion, expand their understanding of different issues.

    What I find particularly satisfying, though, is the interactive process of thoughts---one person inspiring thoughts in another, which inspires thoughts in a third, etc., etc. I can almost hear our collective brain cells firing up sleepy neurotransmitters. I've always thought deep learning took place when someone felt engaged in interesting or controversial or challenging topics, like muscles that are challenged in exercise.

    One aspect of the poem that I would think some of us might find familiar is the whole issue of how we handle what other people think. (Or did someone write something about this a few posts back?) I know it's easy to say that what other people think of what we do/say/are shouldn't sway us or have a negative impact on self concept, etc., but it's a common problem. I tend to go up and down in immunity to others' opinions. During some phases of my life, I've felt more protected than others. My siblings and I had a pretty frightening childhood. Criticism was rampant, so most of us have had to work pretty hard in adulthood to not feel vulnerable. That's why the reactions of the mariner to the crew's blaming him call up thoughts of how my siblings and I have had various levels of success in dealing with old wounds.

    Joan Pearson
    September 20, 2000 - 04:43 pm
    Betty, I think you are on to something...reacting to others' assessment of what we are and who we are, especially criticism can shape our self-perception. This stems from childhood, doesn't it? I had an awful one too...and so I can relate to this. I think I'm hearing three different explanations for the Mariner's acceptance of the albatross/guilt.

    First, Coleridge seems to me at least, to be blaming in all on the Moon, Nature, Fate, however we define the operative being described here.

    Then there's Robby, (and you too Mal?) who thinks that the traumatic experience at sea, the men blaming him, their death was enough to send the Mariner into shock, from which he is not able recover.

    Then, there's the third explanation, the Mariner's acceptance , for whatever reasons, (Faith says we don't know enough, Mal that it is not important), but I agree with this one, the Mariner accepts what others think of him, that he is guilty of defiling Nature, and therefore responsible for the fate of the crew because of something something that occurred before the trauma, that causes him to see himself and his acts only through the eyes of others. Although he may not feel that killing the albatross was so wrong, he accepts that it must have been, because the others think it was. Fae, you explained that syndrome so well in one of your earlier posts.

    There is the religious explanation too, but we seem to have dismissed that in this discussion, although I'm not so sure that Coleridge would have done so.

    Still the question, if the Mariner had NOT accepted the guilt associated with the killing of the Albatross, had he defended his deed to the men, the men would still have died, he would have survived and quite possibly led an okay life...unless, as Robby says, the experience was so traumatic, to have caused the guilt. You often hear of folks who survive plane crashes, or the men who survived combat in war when their buddies died...there is not only shock from what they have witnessed, but also guilt that they even survived.

    Isn't it amazing that we are each reading something different into the poem? Yes, I agree, the fact that these men DO NOT HAVE NAMES leaves us space to try on the different characters and interpret their actions through our own experience...

    September 20, 2000 - 05:56 pm
    Sometimes I see this very differently ...Coleridge wrote a poem...it does not necessarily follow he meant it to reveal his own problems ..he put together a poem that was interesting, intrigueing, a horror story. He used other sources to flesh it out and allowed his imagination to take it and run.

    Sometimes I see the Mariner retelling his story not so much because he wishes forgiveness, or even believes he was wrong because he shot the albatross. He does it because it is a grand story to tell..it is the one thing in his life that sets him apart. He survived a terrible ordeal and he tells his story (buttonholing even a guest at a wedding) for a time he is listened to..he has their attention, and most likely thier sympathy...since it was a terrible event in his life.

    I guess from what ever one else feels that is a very simplistic reading ...anna in Virginia who is about ready to leave on a vacation ...I will have my laptop with me but I am not sure how often I will use it since my stated purpose is to Visit with relatives and enjoy some funny stories and LOTS OF GOOD FOOD

    September 20, 2000 - 05:59 pm
    Mal that is a fact,you are so right. He did write this epic poem in a far better way than we could write it. One reason of course is his psychological profile.Probably is what made him write this great poem that inspired so many feelings, attitudes and thoughtful responses to what he did write. I love ghost stories and this is one. Most ghost stories have no explainations. They would not be good ghost stories if they did so in that way of thinking who would really want to have a full and complet explaination of what the "meaning" is. Adm'l Fop

    September 20, 2000 - 07:24 pm
    That would be enough to make any mariner seek information or counselling on how to recognize an omen, how to interpret it...or dread the consequences of an incorrect guess.

    I want you to believe that this unused gloss was found among the 17th century pedant's papers, which Coleridge used to add some workable moral to his Rime.

    But what Invisible Spirit in the Rime, up to this point, has the moral right to administer two hundred heavy thumps to the Mariner's newly-awakened conscience? More than likely the Mariner is wondering where his 'kind saint' was, on the day he shot the albatross.

    Was he wrong in setting his hope on 'a speck, a mist, a shape'? Has he now sent his two hundred shipmates to their deaths by wanting to help them? In the dark, with fear at his heart, in his distraught, bewildered head comes a whisper: 'Is there a God?'... 'Is there a just God?' Sound familiar?

    The way I see it, for now. Jonathan

    September 21, 2000 - 09:08 am
    Faith---I agree with your comparison of this poem to a ghost story. Reading your post, I immediately thought of "The Turn of the Screw." There are many many interpretations of James' short story, and there is no way on earth to firmly prove any of them. What is the evil presence"? Are the children already evil? What happened at that house before the story begins?

    As for this poem, seems to me that the Mariner's guilt comes when the four times fifty living men drop down cursing him silently with their eyes. This curse in the dead men's eye brings guilt. The shooting of the bird is nothing compared to the men's deaths.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 22, 2000 - 01:26 am
    Oh my, I wonder if everyone is standing dumb with no laugh nor wail with throats unslaked, with black lips baked? At this point I hope and not that everyone with a heavy thump has dropped down one by one, with all our crew's souls flying to bliss or woe!

    The sound is deafening here are we groaning and sighing in the Moonlight waiting for part four?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 22, 2000 - 02:13 am
    "The mysterious problem of dreams" and, for Coleridge, their horrific nature, he believed are caused by gods intervening in the lives of men, "that they are a result of the action of malignant spirits," and that "the dreamer's bodily position and state of health both causes and influences dreams."

    When his mother shrieked on the night of his father's death, Coleridge claims he started from his sleep exclaiming "Papa is dead." Although Coleridge did not know it at the time, John Coleridge had recently dreamed he would die . As Coleridge thought more deeply, he ascribed the possibility of prophecy to "deeper dreams," which he said were imageless but contained "a profound Presentiment or Boding." Prophetic dreams were the stuff of tragic drama from Shakespeare.

    If dreams were caused by malignant spirits, that would account for the terrors he suffered from in his dreams. Believing he had done no great evil, while dreaming, a sinful feeling would arise, he felt spellbound and unable to articulate why he felt guilt. Feelings of sin and guilt were a recurring question for Coleridge as he tried to comprehend his dreams.

    Coleridge was unabie to account for the origin of his nightmares. He could not dismiss the possibility of an external, spiritual influence on dreams... "in dreams, it is also possible to see and hear things which are not 'really' there to be seen or heard. The understanding of the dream is 'equally inevitable and innocent', but carries with it complex possibilities which may confirm or deny an important fact or personal truth..."

    Coleridge had complex thoughts upon"night-mair." He used the "mair" suffix, meaning a (female) subscribe or monster, rather than "mare" (from Old English mere) meaning a female horse, because "he implicitly wished to convey his belief in their suffocating, monstrous qualities." Coleridge also placed great emphasis upon the agony of being "touched" in nightmairs, as when "a claw-like talon-mailed Hand grasped hold" of him. Sensations of sight, hearing, and taste also occurred, all of which caused him to decide that nightmairs were not properly dreams, but rather a "species of Reverie . . . during which the Understanding & Moral Sense are awake tho' more or less confused, and over the Terrors of which the Reason can exert no influence . . . because it is not true Terror." In addition to the sense of touch, Coleridge's nightmairs were also characterized by sensations of suffocation, emptiness, and nothingness.

    In 1796 began the association between Coleridge and Charles Lloyd, a sensitive young Birmingham quaker. Although friendship with Lloyd was a pleasant opportunity for literary exchange, Charles Lloyd's maddening nocturnal experiences during his residence in the Coleridge cottage provided yet another refinement of 'nightmair.'

    Coleridge writes that Lloyd "perceives every thing & hears every thing, and whatever he perceives & hears he perverts into the substance of his delirious Vision." Coleridge integrates much of his understanding on nightmair into The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere.

    Coleridge's most original and sometimes wild speculations as he sought to trace specific dreams and the characters of his "Morphean space," he called his "dreamatis personae," to specific bodily ailments.
    Examples: Guilt and Falsehood could be "traced to the Gastric Life";
    the liver provides the organic source for "life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame";
    the need to urinate might provoke dreams containing water imagery;
    fear has its origin in the digestive system;
    rage, in the vascular- muscular system, etc.

    In the Ancient Mariner, "The mariner's experience reveals, in many ways, the true physical and spiritual horror of an imagination that has frozen, 'suspended' in time." The medical imagination is therefore the link between the body and the mental activity of dreams and poetry.

    During the voyage to Malta in 1804, Coleridge recognized in himself the figure of the Ancient Mariner. Although, Coleridge wrote the poem in 1797-98, as Faith has pointed out in an earlier post, the poem appears to have a strong relationship to Coleridge's biography.

    September 22, 2000 - 05:14 am
    Barbara---Fear not, this body dropped not down. Yet.

    September 22, 2000 - 07:04 am
    Fear not, fear not, thou Mariner, this body drop't not down, either.

    The Cap'n, as is true of all Cap'ns everywhere was waiting till everybody had their say. And wonderful "says" it was, too. The Cap'n, in fact, is overwhelmed with the "says," and fell overboard carrying the 200 inch thick printout of same! hahahaa

    Cap'n Overboard!

    But the Cap'n has clambered back up the side of the ship holding the precious discussion clenched with sword in teeth, and the grape havest is on hold whilst the Tropical Storm dumps 4-7 inches on these organically produced grapes which will probably cause them to rot, Scuppernong wine for all, Cookie!

    OK, let me say ONE thing before I start referencing your posts, what a grand discussion you have made of this!

    Dead chicken Country: Yes, Lorrie, I have heard of that practice, it certainly would not work with OUR dogs, they would eat it. I say that based on 20 years of them digging up dead chickens, the riper the better, yum.

    I have inquired from my husband (Mr. W) how long in LIFE it would take a large bird to disintegrate hung around neck. W read the poem last week himself so he sort of knew where his flaky wife was coming from THAT time and said 2-3 days, tops. If hung fresh, which of course it was not. So the bird is either, as you all have suggegsted, a dream, imaginary or whatever, but physically I believe 'tis not possible.

    Robby, I had read that post you referenced, and Mal's too, and thank you both for that explanation.

    I think I possibly disagree but I do see where you are coming from. the dice thing reminds me of the Clotho, Achesis and Atropos business. I was tending to think of the Mariner's progress here in this poem as symbolic of life stages, the roll of the dice aspect, I thought was neatly phrased by you, I would like to advance my own theory as fast as I can type it.

    Wonderful points, Jonathan! Some critics have questioned the Mariner's NOT questioning God's part here in the death of the other Mariners.

    Back later, when the Cap'n is dried off a bit, pass the GROG, Admiral FOP!

    Cap'n Drenched

    September 22, 2000 - 09:52 am
    Happy Happy Birthday, Betty!!!
    and many more, we are so glad you are with us!


    September 22, 2000 - 10:55 am
    Ok, Cap'n Drenched is dried out, what a marvelous wonderful discussion you have all made of this.

    I LOVED Robby's comment about our group readings of things, and YiLiLin's , and Annafair's, we will miss you, Annafair!

    I loved Mal's explication of her idea of the poem, I am working on my own and hope to present it when we finish.

    I hope we all will take that time to do that in the end.

    I read the poem over and actually got chills this time when I read this, this is good writing, and you can always glory in it just as if it were the first time before you look deeper, we're HERE to look deep.

    Admiral FOP: Great ideas about the sort of split personality of Coleridge as far as religion went and a lot of other things.

    Joan P: Fabulous insights, just wonderful, every time I come to one of your posts I turn around 360 degrees in my thinking, thank you!

    Maryal: dead characters, no names, wonderful, thank you so much!

    Jonathan: what electric posts, and so many delicate questions asked with no answers, we must examine your thoughts more closely.

    Barbara, thank you SO much for all that timely research, loved the symbolism and women at sea, especially!

    Pat Westerdale is the person who researched, sized, and put up the wonderful illustrations in the headings, they are the famous Dore engravings, made for this poem.

    Robby when I asked about the poem as allegory I meant something on the order of what the various parts of the life experiences as we see the Mariner experiencing meant. I am still struggling with that, myself, but I have reread (for the third time) your posts and Mal's and see where you are coming from.

    To me, life is not a crap shoot. To me, it's a series of decisions. I do not believe that somebody else spun, measured and cut the thread of my life as the Ancients did, nor that it's the luck of the draw, or genes or anything else.

    By gum, when you come to the end of your days, if your genes held out and you are alive in your 90's and your luck held out and you are in your right mind, there better BE something of quality and substance IN that mind or it's not worth the journey. That is my opinion.

    I see the Mariner's journey one of choice. His choice.

    Presented with hurdles in life, he reacted, and how he reacted influenced WHO he was. Or was not.

    I think your posts raise several unanswered questions and I can't believe and don't want to leave Part III till we at least look at some of them?

    Will you join me in the Cap'ns Quarters for some tea and light refreshments and look at Jonathan's and Robby's questions a bit harder??? With a special nod to Joan P?

    Cabin Boy, kindly fetch up the Cap'ns best GROG, we will need it for this next step into the world of unreality!

    Cap'n Queeg

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 22, 2000 - 10:59 am

    If "life is a crap shoot," that does not necessarily mean that "somebody else" spun, measured, and cut the thread of your life. Sometimes dice just "accidentally" fall off the table and end up "snake-eyes."


    September 22, 2000 - 11:16 am
    Jonathan stated, "Of course he is made aware of and is acted upon by Spirits not of his heavenly hierarchy."

    Why are these Sprits NOT of the Mariner's heavenly hierarchy? Do we agree that the Mariner has a heavenly hierarchy? Why?

    I really would not like to leave Part III without a nod to the clashing and incomprehensible images fluctuating in this section?

    Why is it that in this time of severe loss the Mariner's only "heavenly resource," (cf. The moral of the poem at the end) appears to be nameless (again!) spirits under the ship and Death and Life in Death.

    Where is God in this instance?

    Why can't the Mariner attribute the death of the crew to the loving God of the moral at the end?

    Why do all the Mariners have to die? What did they do?

    What is the significance of "Life in Death's" winning the Mariner's life? Why were they throwing dice at such stakes? ONE man against the entire crew? What set that one man out from the others? What does this mean, if anything?

    If you believe that there IS a religious theme or moral to this poem, then why did the Mariners have to all die for causing the one death of one bird? That is a lot more than an eye for an eye, this is 200 times 2 eyes, is that a religious principle?

    Then Jonathan asked, "why is the Mariner's good act not followed by divine mercy?

    What good act?

    And then the question was raised, "What is preventing redemption?"

    For whom? The Mariner or the other sailors?

    Are you still addressing Part III, here, Jonathan, or a later part?

    Are you referring to his biting his own arm? You said he was a nice guy, but was his motivation for their sake or his own in spreading the big news?

    I found it interesting that it was blood which allowed him to speak, am I the only one?

    Joan P: Wow you do slip those in on people, so Moon/Woman came between God and Man in earlier times, too? Adam and Eve and who else? Fascinating always fascinating to see the way your mind works, or the way I perceive your mind works.

    So here the woman Life in Death comes between…..not God and Man but Death and Man in the roll of the dice. What is that saying???

    What kind of a universe is this? How much is it ordered by higher and invisible powers, and are these benevolent or malevolent?

    What does it say about the Mariner's thinking, if , indeed, this is a psychological study, that he feels that the governing "spirits" in HIS universe are Death and Life in Death, and that they decide his fate with a roll of the dice?

    Is this something the Mariner made up because he could not reconcile the deaths of the men with the same benevolent God in the last stanza?

    What relevance does the term "Life in Death" have in relation to the mariner?

    Robby asked, how do we handle what other people think? Would you say from the Mariner's reaction here that his "immunity" to the opinions of others (loved that, Robby) was high, and if not, how might he have otherwise reacted?

    I'm going to put these points to ponder up, if you like, you might try your hand at one or two.

    Cap'n Bligh

    September 22, 2000 - 11:17 am
    Robby, I caught your post, WHO then is throwing the dice?


    robert b. iadeluca
    September 22, 2000 - 11:20 am

    1 - Dice don't have to be thrown. They can fall.
    2 - It wasn't blood that enabled the Mariner to speak, it was liquid for his parched mouth. There was no water available.


    YiLi Lin
    September 22, 2000 - 11:38 am
    Why are the mariner's dying because they shot a single bird? Is a single act the cause of death? Something here reminds me of the be good you get good, be bad you get punished- if not by something (one) external then by your own undoing- hmm what happened to the notion that everyone dies- if not now, then later. I'd not like to confused myself about the fact of dying, (even if the moment is decided by dice simply falling off the table). I'd like to have the courage to die well. Now what does it mean to die well? I think it has a different meaning for all of us. I wonder then if the mariners died well.

    September 22, 2000 - 11:39 am
    But that "liquid" was blood, Robby, that can't be denied.

    The dice in my house do not throw themselves except in earthquakes.

    If we deny that somebody or something shoots the dice, we deny the existence of "other powers," don't we?

    The dice just happen to fall? The thread cuts itself? Or, to the ancients, the gods cut the thread and threw the dice.

    Interesting concepts.

    Cap'n Concepts

    September 22, 2000 - 11:40 am
    YiLiLin, great question, did the Mariners die well? They cursed another man as they did, to me that would not be dying well, what say you all?

    In the heading it goes.

    Cap'n Soggy

    September 22, 2000 - 12:38 pm
    C'mon gang. Let's post a few funny ones for our shipmate. And while we're at it, let's remember that Coleridge could make even a blade of grass glitter.

    Faith...I love a ghost story too. One that leaves you (Wedding Guest) feeling haunted. And for that matter, '...for a few years he (Coleridge) had been visited by the Muse...and thence-forth was a haunted man' (T.S.Eliot)

    Maryal...I think you're right; but then it is the death of the crew (for which he is responsible) and the terrible curse in their eyes, and the two hundred souls departing with the sound of 'the whizz of MY crossbow' which serve to remind the Mariner of that first act, and now its fateful consequences

    Barbara...Your post (858) is just a really splendid background piece! It reminds me of, and you must be familiar with it, C's poem 'The Pains of Sleep'. I can't bring myself to post it here. Terrible. On the other hand, I've been using for years, before I ever read the poem, the method for assuring a good night's sleep, which C describes in the first stanza. I was stunned when I first came across it...so charmingly poetized.

    Cap'n Ginny...Hang on to those papers. While the rest of us are jabbering away, you've been secluding yourself in the captain's quarters trying to get a handle on them. (and, wow! doing very well!) My wife's advice to you, is to consider publication. This discussion may well turn out to be the most awesome study ever done on The Rime, in the Reader Response form of criticism!

    She also insists that the Mariner's sad tale comes as a result of having set sail on a Friday! A sea voyage begun on a Friday is sure to be dogged by bad luck. Coleridge himself was made aware of it by a ship's captain in Malta, in 1806. At least his note-book entry on it carrys that date. Over the years, as we know, he made many changes to The Rime; but he could hardly have changed the sailing time! That's Fate!!

    Are you laughing, Annafair?


    September 22, 2000 - 12:47 pm

    September 22, 2000 - 12:50 pm
    Jonathan, what's your wife's name, we need her IN here! The Cap'n appreciates her excellent appreciation of fine writing, and agrees with her: we need to find a....what? A place to put this discussion permanently on the Internet, it's a Study Guide in itself, isn't it?

    What will we call it?

    We will certainly put it on a search engine, if we have to open a new Home Page to do it. Maybe we could call it.... hmmm. Mature Reflection on another Ancient Mariner? or?????

    How does your wife know the Mariner set sail on Friday?

    Cap'n Bemused

    September 22, 2000 - 03:34 pm
    Adm'l Fop is standing on the quarter=deck with an eye glass watching the "ship" we are following.I have answered most of those questions imo in past posts especially the guilt and remorse.Now.. I spy no ghost's but they are over there. I spy no snakes of green and gold but they are over there.I am spooked by some of the amazing word pictures and by the thought of being alone on a ship of dead with slimy things and water snakes uhg... And finally finally the Mariner we watch is "able to pray" and the albatross fell off(stink or not Mr. W.) So, I must admit to the religious aspects of the poem but then don't I also admit the astrology symbols. And as Mrs. Jonathan says Superstition must enter the gates. And who will ever light an opium pipe after reading this nightmair. Do not correct my spelling on pain of Barbara's "sniff" ..Fp

    September 22, 2000 - 05:24 pm
    Ginny, CAPN SIR-----WE are the ones who set forth on a Friday. We posters right here. September 1st was a FRIDAY.

    ADM FOP --I have such a picture of you standing on the quarterdeck, looking through the telescope! Your talent for creating characters is admirable, Admiral, SIR!


    September 22, 2000 - 05:38 pm
    Was it REALLY a Friday? Why didn't somebody tell us that? Not that I'm supertitious or anything?

    Admiral Fop, I wondered who that was standing on the quarter deck with an hour glass, when I saw your tattersall robe. I saw the Black Watch last weekend and saw what I thought was tattersall but I may be confused about that, they were good, tho, the pipes and drums and the other band.

    Can anybody here play the bagpipes?

    The Part IV Points to Ponder are up and one of them is kinda startling, to me, what do you all think of them???

    Cap'n Furl

    September 22, 2000 - 07:29 pm
    CAPN Ginny, SIR!----Yes, it really was a Friday when we set forth. I looked it up. Such a fine day it was--hearts brimming with joy to be setting forth upon the sea, bounding over the billows, feeling once again the salt spray in our hair. And look at us NOW!


    September 22, 2000 - 07:38 pm
    And look at the Mariner, weighted down with tha d___ albatross watching those slithery water snakes.

    betty gregory
    September 22, 2000 - 07:40 pm
    It was the metaphorical "roll of the dice," luck of the draw, that we set sail on a Friday. Some things in life, a lot of things, just happen.

    Joan Pearson
    September 22, 2000 - 07:48 pm
    Some wonderful things happen on Fridays, like your birthday, dear Betty!

    A toast! Raise high your glasses, if you can...and cheer our birthday girl

    September 22, 2000 - 08:11 pm
    For Betty...I'm raising my glass very high. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    I like to think you haven't been reading The Rime today.

    Have a wonderful day!


    September 22, 2000 - 08:11 pm
    And pass the grog to Betty

    betty gregory
    September 22, 2000 - 08:25 pm
    ....well, thanks, everyone, my heart runneth over....

    It will not surprise many to learn that I was born in the middle of a ferocious hurricane in Florida. At 7:30 in the morning, the only available transportation to the hospital was from two brave policemen. My mother tells the story with sweet memories; my father does the usual, corny, teasing, "that explains it!!"

    September 22, 2000 - 08:39 pm
    Here are notes entered by Coleridge on April 24th, 1806, used in concluding that the Mariner's ship sailed on Friday. What do you think?

    '2047 ...a Halo with bright stars just within, and a perfectly bright serene full moon in the center/. The planets larger/the moon not/why?-

    '2048 Eldridge and his warts cured by rubbing them with the hand of his Sister's dead Infant/knew a man who cured one on his eye by rubbing it with the dead Hand of his Brother's - Comments on Ancient Mariner? - Our Capt 'Damn me! I have no superstition, I had as soon sail on Friday as on Saturday; but this I must say, that Sunday is really a lucky day to sail on/indeed to begin any sort of business upon/'

    I think I hear Coleridge asking the Captain: 'How about a ship sailing on a Friday?'


    September 22, 2000 - 08:44 pm
    Well Happy Birthday Friend Betty.What is thatSundays child is full of grace mondays child is fair of face tueschild i forget, Thursdas child i forget, Fridays child is loving and giving Saturdays child must work for a living....any way I hope you read something really light and fun. I watched a really soppy love story on romance channel and cried and had a wonderful time this afternoon and boy was it fun.I was missing only having a friend to cry with. My movie buddy has been ill this year and not up to our old tricks.Back to the Mariner the most interesting to me of the question re part 4 is why he suddenly has a new perception of the snakes. I will ponder that question. Hi Joan where are you hanging out...Adm'l Fop might invite you up for a cup of birthday grog with Miss Betty ,eh. Oh and Ginny I do not have an hour glass I have a spy glass , a eye glass, you know Adm'l Fop

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 22, 2000 - 11:36 pm
    My brain-injured (automobile accident) Florida son has been with me for almost two weeks. His condition has worsened considerably in the past forty-eight hours. It is imperative that I leave this enlightening voyage and focus my attention on finding a neuro-psychiatrist and other such medical help.

    Reporting a fallen seaman on the aft deck, Captain, Sir.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 22, 2000 - 11:53 pm
    Malryn my prayers are with you!

    Betty belated Happy Birthday!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 23, 2000 - 12:07 am
    More thoughts prior to leaving chapter three--

    Survival comes down to two things, the role of strategy and the roll of the die. In this day of the Atom it seems reasonable that the universe functions by a precise set of laws as opposed to a system like the dynamics of weather which produces life threatening effects that because of the nature of the weather system cannot be forecast earlier than a week ahead. The traditional model of a created and sustained world, preprogramed in its development with establisheed laws of nature, operating by chance within underdetermined laws, and the presence of chaos is the the classical idea of God and divine action in the world.

    Rolling the dice, the story of an epic struggle between Nature and Death where powerful divination, "fate," is assembled in hopes of winning a final and lasting victory over life. Playing chance or gambling is rooted in our longing to know the cause of things and how effects may be controlled.

    From the book entitled Gambling and Spirituality, A New Anthropological Perspective
    The dominant religions of the world judge gambling on a moral basis, claiming that it is secular. But not too long ago, gambling...was intricately connected with religious rites and festivals and, in fact, such sacred gambling also lies at the root of Western religious development. Although it may seem to be a contradiction in terms, gambling is as spiritual as praying. Both activities seek divine affirmation and reversal of fortune.

    Archaeological Records Tie in Dice with Cycle of Death and Rebirth. No historical period or culture on the globe lacks the means for gambling, and it was often associated with death and rebirth. One Egyptian tomb-painting (c. 3500 BCE) depicts a nobleman in his after—life playing a dice board game of hounds and jackals. A Sumerian board game was found in a royal cemetery dated to circa 2600 BCE. ...Icelandic and Hindu mythology mirror many Native American myths that claim that the gods destroy and recreate the world on a diceboard.

    It is a common occurrence for many mythological figures to play alternate roles as a good gambler or bad. Gambling stories aren't about good versus evil, but that good and evil are part of a continuum that must stay in balance. In fact, the bad gambler isn't always killed, but is whittled down to a more manageable force.

    Gambling mythology is that gambling universally is a metaphor for both the crucifixion and the resurrection. In literature, we have the bankrupt roulette-player in Dostoyevsky's novel, The Gambler-- "One turn of the wheel, and everything changes. . . . What am I today? Zéro. What can I be tomorrow? Tomorrow I may rise from the dead and start to live again!"

    Whatever goes up, must also come down. The spinning wheel of fortune gives the illusion that life is constantly evolving. Life is really a never ending cycle.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 23, 2000 - 12:14 am
    There is this spiritual dilemma within each of us. The voice of soul, which is how the Divine's creation is revealed to us, we have silenced by the noise of our mind. Our soul has allowed the mind and our emotions to outcreate it.

    This dilemma raises the basic spiritual question of how this "Prodigal Son" of attention, eternally seeking greener pastures and straying far from home, is to be returned. For many of us we connect with our God, silencing our mind, through prayer, contemplation or meditation.

    Aquinas says essentially, we are hardwired to search for truth. We see metaphors of truth in nature, and weave allegories of truth into our stories, literature, music and religious beliefs. Our oral traditions and writtings point to diologue within. Many believe that the soul is released from the body at the time of death, and the soul holds the lessons taught by experience and therefore, we become seekers to discover the real purpose of life here on earth. Some believe we return to live again till we get it. It being a balance within and an alignment with our God or a universal power.

    The Christian belief is because all sons of Adam are spiritually dead, we are consequently incapable of saving ourselves. But, God the Father may bestow Faith and eternal salvation upon us, leaving the remainder to their sinful desires.

    Bible quotes that could fit the theme of Chapter three:

    By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.

    I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"

    Deut. 5:26 For what mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? Cry of when in response to where, drought of communion with God Vulnerable when things go wrong for professes faith in God, among those who those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, not those already filled.

    And so we have a Mariner seeking a savior, a speck his hope out of his drought of communinion . Praying and with anticipation, hope for what he knows that will enable him to 'feel better', to be saved from his nightmare that is like a discription of hell, he observes the speck becoming a ship.
    (Heaven's Mother send us grace!)

    Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
    How fast she nears and nears!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 23, 2000 - 12:21 am
    Between the Mariner and the sun, as if he was in a grated dungeon the sun also peers through the ribs of spectre ship at the
    The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
    Who thicks man's blood with cold.

    God the Father, ruler and sustainer of the universe obscured from the Mariner as if the Mariner were in a grated dungeon and passing God's light, the "sun of righteousness" the divine essence in man through intervals of time alloted to each of us. The ribs are spaced like the grate but the rib is part of our body. The ribs are like bars of music that seperate the notes played together and within a time frame. Each frame leading us to The Death Ship, a naked hull, without guile or betrayal that comes for us all.

    Most ghost stories are about coming to "get ch'ya"-- The Teeny Tiny Woman. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban we have dememtors that drain your soul and Dracula renews life by sucking blood from his victims.

    "...and whistles thrice. " a heavenly number that represents the soul as four is the body. Also symbolizes the authority of accumulated effort, once or twice being a coincdence, but three times carries certainty and power.
    Seven days and nights-- seven the number of the universe the microcosm, completness, in total, seven rays of the sun by which man passes from this world to the next , pillars of wisdom, seven angles of the presence, cardinal virtues, deadly sins, tiers of purgertory, devils cast out of Christ, periods of fasting and penitence. The Ark rested on the seventh month and the dove was sent on the seventh day.

    This chapter reminds me of the battle in "The Witch and the Wardrobe" or Jesus in the desert 40 nights and 40 days. The description of a ship becalmed in such dire circumstances with all the crew dying and the Mariner living for another seven days and nights seems implausible. This fantasy seems to me to be describing a crisis of the soul that brings him to his knees. The souls of the crew like the arrow that killed the albatross pass by "Like the whizz of my cross-bow!"

    Was the arrow whizzing from his cross-bow in part I, his spirit killing the albatross?

    betty gregory
    September 23, 2000 - 01:32 am
    Mal, let us know how your son is. I'm thinking about you.


    September 23, 2000 - 05:28 am
    Very sorry to hear that Mal's son is not doing well, every mother's heartache, our thoughts are certainly with her in this difficult time, and we wish her well as she sets out on her get well voyage, may she return quickly and safely to us with good news.

    Admiral FOP, if the lowly Cap'n might help a bit, being a jingle type person herself?

    Monday's child is fair of face,
    Tuesday's child is full of grace
    Wednesday's child is full of woe
    Thursday's child has far to go
    Friday's child is loving and giving,
    Saturday's child works hard for a living,
    But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bright, and bonnie, and good, and gay.

    I can remember that because I am Tuesday's child and in my past career as a high school athlete, I was called "Graceful Geiger" (my maiden name) due to my penchant, because of my great height and extreme clumsiness, to fall down on the basketball court.

    I have one Wednesday child and one Sunday child, as well.

    Which day are YOU? Does it ring true or are you the opposite?

    Barb, thank you for those wonderful thoughts, they sort of lean toward what I'm about to say here.

    OK, brace selves, your Cap'n, freed from his enforced imprisonment by Insurgent IRK, (Midshipman Maryal), having read and reread your opinions till the pages are smeared with ink, apoligizes for not having been on deck this last week, but as always here in the Books, was covered for very nicely, the discussion is a winner, no matter which day it set out on.

    Robby mentioned allegory for LIFE. I have been thinking about that, and I would like to give my own interpretation of what I think this symbolizes.

    IF this is an allegory for life, we have to take the facts presented as they are in the poem. We can't go into the Mariner's backgound, or upbringing, or possible psychological interpretations, we have to take what's presented.

    WHAT stage, I asked myself, of life, is being represented?

    IF this IS an allegory I believe it's clear that MAN, EVERYMAN has sinned. Perhaps you don't like that word. Perhaps you prefer, accident or roll of the dice or whatever, we've all given our persepectives on what we think of his act of shooting the bird.

    I'm going to say he sinned. And falls into a state of ostracism, and trauma, so great that he imgaines spirits, Life in Death, phantoms, Death, etc. He's pretty upwrought, isn't he?

    Now here is where everybody who does NOT see a religious theme has to struggle to explain the moral, the third stanza from the end, God, Church, pray, in this Part IV we have a saint, we have blessings, it gets pretty darn hard to say this is the result of a "later gloss?" It's not. It's there in black and white.

    What does it mean that the Mariner adds piety, church, God, pray, shrive, at the end?

    To me it represents Everyman in his journey thru life. He's in control. He sins, for whatever reason, he does the deed. He suffers the consequences. When he can no longer deal with the problems of his life, he tacks God on, to help.

    Man tacks on God when it suits him, "there are no athiests in fox holes" type of thinking?

    That's my conception of the Mariner as metaphor for life, what do YOU think?

    In this aspect, then, the points above of the Mariner's universe take on very signifigant meanings, and have not been addressed, and of course, WOULD not be addressed if you see no religious parallel? Of course once again, the POEM says in Part IV, "I looked to heaven and tried to pray," also.

    And of course, some people might say the Life in Death aspect of the Mariner in this section is his separation from God. Where is that line about so lonely that God Himself scarce seemed there to be?

    Cap'n Furl

    September 23, 2000 - 05:57 am
    And thanks to Pat Westerdale for the marvelous new Dore engraving illustration!

    Cap'n Queeg

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 23, 2000 - 06:39 am

    I'm not suggesting that we go into the Mariner's background or upbringing. I am just saying that this is the life that was handed him based upon the throw of the dice. In the poem, the dice determined that the other seamen were to die and he was to live on with constant emotional anguish or, in other words, Life-in-Death.

    I don't know on what day I was born but I understand there are calendars of some sort that can tell us. I was born Sept. 25, 1920. Can anyone tell me what day that was?


    betty gregory
    September 23, 2000 - 07:43 am
    Much in life we don't have conrol over. The crew had no control over the Mariner's shooting the bird. The Mariner had little or no control over the crew's reactions. He did have some choices to make about his responses to their reactions. All had no control over the weather conditions---and it was the unforeseen weather that had an effect on amount of water and provisions. At that time, even the ships that planned well could run into conditions that caused shortages.

    The illness and death and entry into hallucinatory nightmares---all that is up for grabs, interpretation-wise. At the time, superstitions explained much. From our vantage point, we can consider the water and food deficits, delirium, then coma, etc. And isn't it familiar to us how often one calls out to God in a crisis? Religious or not, many at their wits' ends will call out to God.

    From my own perspective, the need to identify a starting place as sin (or some version of wrongdoing) to explain the results is doing something quite common, but problematic. It's very common to look for blame when bad things happen, but,from my perspective, it's rarely productive and often comes with faulty reasoning. (Speaking in general.)

    Excuse the example, but I was trying to think of a family that had had a lot of bad luck recently and I thought of Larry Hanna's family. Think how ridiculous it would be to try to find who's at fault for all the recent illness. Yet, we do a lot of that---look for a starting place of sin/bad to explain terrible luck. What is more realistic is that there are numerous factors that explain a result, some of them not as obvious as others. Poor grades in a third grader could be secret headaches, troubles at home, teacher illness and too many substitutes, troubles with friends, yet to be discovered learning disabilities, sleep problems, a physical growth spurt that has momentarily affected learning. Or a combination of several of these. If it's a temporary problem, sometimes we never do know what the cause is. "Does not apply himself" is rarely the accurate explanation.

    September 23, 2000 - 08:26 am
    Robbie, you are a Saturday's child.

    September 23, 2000 - 11:59 am
    Well I also am a Saturdays child and that means work for a living and I have done that from 12 to 70, and if you count selling ads for the school paper to pay for my violin, then I started at 8 years old earning and paying for my own stuff. I find it only natural as our whole family earned our own spending and gave our own tithes at Sunday school also. My mom was a good economics teacher. We also gave her part of each wage we earned (except for my violin money)

    This morning I have read Barbs posts twice and Ginnys and Bettys too. Robbys was short but expressed my though that this whole trip may be chance. And his,the mariners, reaction to the circumstances are sometimes what I think mine might have been and other times I get an adverse reaction and think what a fool. I have been through some pretty good emotions with this poem.

    I pondered my feelings at the end of part four. The Mariner who was so horrified by his nightmair, so dismayed at being the one alive after the roll of the dice, so bewildered but he looks up at the universe, out to the sea, he sees life..he sees beauty..and he feels his heart full of compassion and/or love and calls out a prayer
    O happy living things ! no tongue
    Their beauty might declare
    : A spring of love gushed from my heart,
    And I blessed them unaware :
    Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
    And I blessed them unaware.
    The spell begins to break.
    The self-same moment I could pray ;
    And from my neck so free
    The Albatross fell off, and sank
    Like lead into the sea.

    September 23, 2000 - 12:04 pm
    What do you all think about the question in the heading about the "unawares" thing? I thought that was pretty startling, myself, wish I had thought of it!

    Cap'n Grog

    September 23, 2000 - 12:13 pm
    Ginny---I think that word "unaware" is very important. The beauty of those water snakes hits through the eye and goes directly to a blessing which the Mariner realizes only upon speaking it. It comes directly from his heart, spontaneously, freely, unbidden.

    He who was (spiritually) dead is now living. And the dead bird falls from his neck into the sea.

    By the way, the albatross is mentioned in the last stanza of all the parts, with the exception of Part III which has the "whiz of the crossbow" and the very last stanza of the poem.

    The poem has Seven parts, and Seven is the number of perfection.

    Let's ask the Admiral if we can all have some special Saturday grog in celebration of Robby's fast-approaching Eightieth Birthday! Never too early to start partying.


    Shasta Sills
    September 23, 2000 - 12:15 pm
    If we give Barbara a few minutes, I am sure she can find those calendars somewhere on the Internet that tell you what day it was when you were born.

    September 23, 2000 - 12:16 pm
    Now what does it mean "blessed them unaware." He says it twice. He means unaware as there are other ways to rhyme this passage. I thought of my self, a person not much given to traditional religion', though my childhood was in protestant home and church. I though of times of crises when I did not pray however some small thing would draw my attention away from my pain to the glory of "life" again and I could be filled with love. Then with out words my emotions would be somewhat like this poem expressed and so I guess "unaware" means that with no words no plan no intention to do it his spirit rose in him and reached out to "life" and the universe. It is prayer.

    September 23, 2000 - 12:21 pm
    Faith----wonderfully expressed, and I agree.

    September 23, 2000 - 02:21 pm
    It's a weird page, but it will tell you the week day on which you were born.

    September 23, 2000 - 03:33 pm
    Faith, that was BEAUTIFUL!! We ought to keep a book of our greatest quotes here, that was fabulous!

    OH NO, Pat!!! NO!! Thank you for that but I'm Thursday's child!!! oh no, they called me Graceful for nothing, (well I never was or will be)....oh no, I have far to go....oh....nooooooooooooooooo!


    September 23, 2000 - 03:34 pm
    Hey, does that mean Cabin Boy Robby is "fair of face?"

    He looked very fair to me in Chicago!

    Cap'n Fair

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 23, 2000 - 04:02 pm
    Pat W: Thank you. I work hard for a living. So what's new?


    September 23, 2000 - 09:45 pm
    Wish I knew how to post that Grog song Will just have to hooha from the quarter-deck "Grogs being served by the steward on Adm'l Fop's deck. Come one come all we are going to have a Saturday ball."

    September 23, 2000 - 09:46 pm
    Capt'n Ginny, from this Thursday's child, (at my age, a good reason to be optimistic) your post is a great help in coming to grips with the strange transformation of the Mariner's spiritual or psychological well-being, here in the middle part of the Rime.

    Part 4, Magnificent! The only Part, the 4th of 7, with a happy ending, after such an horrific beginning. What a relief for the reader, (and no doubt, the Wedding Guest) to see the Mariner happy, blessed and blessing, and unburdened. I can't resist passing along a 'gloss', hand-written in the margin of an old book picked out of a bin at the booksellers...a book of commentary on the human situation. An anonymous, simple, heart-felt exclamation of human sentiment.

    'There is no need for anyone to worry or feel alone. None whatsoever! They can trust Him, step out in faith. Every sorrow and care will be gone. Hallelujah. The journey from darkness into light is so short. Once it's been made, the life left behind seems so long ago.'

    The 'trust' here would seem to be...what? the hope or expectancy...to let it happen? The Mariner lacked even that; but it happened nevertheless. Coleridge here gives us one extremely beautiful 'explanation', and one very 'everydayish' in religious terms...seeing things by moonlight!...or the intervention of a kind saint.

    It is not my intention to convert anyone to a belief in God. Neither was it yours. God has suffered so terribly at the hands of his devotees, that He has lost all credibility among others, and that's unfortunate.

    On the other hand, for those who might feel the Rime becomes unnecessarily godly with all this...let's pursue the problem of finding the truth in it as looking for the Real-in-the-Unreal.


    September 23, 2000 - 09:48 pm

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 23, 2000 - 09:58 pm
    Hmmm I am having a hard time seeing the sin -- as we know the story, Jesus didn't sin and yet he was praying in the garden to be released from all that was to come - a punishment that was taken on for the sins of man and in that garden Jesus does say he'll go ahead with all this, if he must.

    I do not think Jesus was the only one in the world to suffer for something he didn't do (taking the story as we know it from bible stories not from archiologists and historians).

    The gamble to me is not just the die cast by the specters of death, but rather, in life for all manner of reasons, some reasons that have little to do with instagating behavior, we shoot a bird. Shooting that bird I see as the arrow being one's spirituality attaching itself to something that feeds at our table, which to me means, within our realm of understanding, our beliefs that are really not in keeping with... how can I say... our rightousness...our spirit or soul. These understandings or beliefs emanating from our ego as the thinking and expression of the virtues and sins, if you would, of our life.

    Yes, the Mariner shot the bird-- making a connection-- that didn't cause anything-- the Mariner does not have the power of the universe to shoot something and all manner of things happen.

    The crew is scared and needs to blame.

    The Mariner's 'sin,' is attached to a loss of his rightousenss...or the lack of alignment of his pure spirit with his ego or behavior. He shoots or, sends his spirit to the bird. The bird representing the negative side of his ego. Once he killed the bird there is an attachment to the bird regardless, if the crew attached it to his neck or not. Once anyone affects something we are attached to that person or event if only in our memeory.

    The bird, a symbol of his guilt and shame that leads to his dispair that he carries around his neck - the crew, like anyone's ego, is like our inner Greek Chorus or our inner dialoge-- we have done something that gives us pause and how often our inner dialoge goes something like, "Oh its OK...Oh no this is bad... Oh no, not only is this bad I (ego) have caused something bad to happen that is effecting others."

    Than of course we must justify this self-incriminating view we have chosen. We only have the Mariner's word that the crew's eyes were looking at him, blaming him. When we have done something we feel responsible about, regardless that the self-blame is in-appropriate, we assume everyone is looking at us, thinking the worst, thinking all the thoughts that we are thinking about ourselves. Yes, the crew placed the bird around his neck but does that also mean that their eyes are filled with blame as well? Maybe not, maybe the Mariner just assumes their eyes should be filled with blame and therefore, that is what he sees in his dispair.

    The Mariner has in affect created his own hell. He took on feeling not only wrong and guilt but piled on himself the crazy thinking of the crew that desided that he caused the weather. The Mariner is in a crisis of spirit as many of us have experienced when we experience a harsh blow that somehow we think there was something we should have (we all know there is no such thing as should> done differently with our lives or for another to prevent this harsh blow. "If only I had been there, done this or that, known, tried harder, not been so stubborn, listened to so and so, if, if, if."

    And so we shoot our bird of "if only," feel overwhelmed, in dispair, block out our spirit, all the time really looking for and wanting someone to tell us we are OK. Even if they do say we are OK, we don't believe it. No one can make us feel better.

    Refering again to the book "Too Scared to Cry" by Lenore Terr. M.D. that includes many stories but one especially. She follows a group of 25 California children who were on a school bus that was hi-jacked and buried in a mountain of dirt by the hi-jacker for three days before the children were found. Some children now adults believe they were bad for a variety of reasons, some blocked the whole experience from their memory and all experience post-truamatic stress syndrome that accompanies any innocent reminder of the experience from the smell of dirt, to sitting in the dark, wearing a similar color shirt as was worn on the fateful day etc.

    In affect the children lost their spirit-- the part of themselves that is connected with universal joy. An alignment of knowledge, and feelings with their inner spirit. The alignment of ego and spirit, like taking a tuning fork till there is a correct vibration for your note/song. And that note or song is opened to the joy of the universe or the joy of God.

    I prefer Joy to Love. Joy is free from attachment to another that causes us to want, wonder, or worry, keeping us from our inner voice. Joy accepts life as it is not longing for what is easy or comfortable and therefore, we do not short-cut the necessary steps that lead to our goal, nor lament our mistakes but accept situations and we move on. Joy says "I am special and don't have to put up with people's bad behavior," so that we do not sacrifice our priciples in the name of unity between people. Joy is not about our "rights" and the demands created by such rights.

    Where Coleridge uses the word love. For me the word love is better used as a verb, as the tender thoughts or actions nurishing another that allows for good feelings within. The problem I think comes when too often we want certain behavior in return or certain signs of affection or signs of pleasure with our gift of love. Love I think is a bundle of actions or thoughts which is energy, acted on in a gentle supportive way that nurishes others and by acting using this bundle we nurish ourselves.

    I think the less stable is a love centered in our emotions or feelings, the part of us that is our ego and like the crew, our ego can go this way or that way and attributes certain behavior to mean hope or fear or doubt, making us dependent on 'feeling good.' The ego wants to jump at solutions, where as our joy, truth, creativity is free of hoping for a certain outcome and allows us an alert and open mind.

    Both our spirit and ego express energy - our job I think is to align them and that allows the universal spirit or God to join forces with us so that this union looks like, trusting the universe or loving all that is within the universe but, is actually only a joining of forces that happens when we have done the work of aligning our spirit and ego.

    I have a big problem with the concept of loving 'all that is within the universe' because, 'all that is in the universe' is not interested in supporting my aligning my ego and spirit. Where as I do not need to hate what we call evil, I am learning to detach so that the evil will look to its own welfare and I am not attached to it by either manipulating it or fearing it, in other words shooting it.

    I see the Mariner as having committed spiritual suicide. His killing the bird, which was something he knew, that ate with him and played with him-- By the act of shooting and killing he created a great bond. This bond was spiritual suicide. The crew, like his ego reflects the very words of his mental vacillation. He accepts his guilt but NOT the guilt the crew wants him to accept.

    This reminds me of Sid Simon's allagator river game where we have no clue why others choose one character in the game as 'better than' the others since we can only imagine based on our own individual values system. The Mariner choses a different version of guilt than the guilt the crew accepts.

    In affect we have a Mariner experienceing St.John of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul," and until the Mariner can have faith, in this poem love, in all things of the universe he experiences the torment and pain of dispair that is like being burned by the sun without water, thirsty and wishing for a savior in every speck on the horizon. No different than when we are in emotional pain and we think if we pray enough, or learn enough, or go to enough therapy sessions,-- for some, the other way, if we excersize enough, or drink enough, or eat enough, or not eat enough or, or, or, we will 'feel better.'

    The amount of time we are in emotional pain seems to be determind by some supernatural figure rolling the dice. When we re-affirm our spirit and align our spirit with our ego, dispair drops away. With little ego energy left, everything, all the universe is one and the same. Good, bad are measurments of man just as guilt is no longer seperating his soul from the connection with his God or the universe and therefore, the albatross drops off into the sea of chaos. Serpents are brave and glorious for diving within the sea of chaos and remaining whole while reflecting the light of the universe. the Mariner has bottomed out and is opened to the 'Hand of God.'

    Joan Pearson
    September 23, 2000 - 10:04 pm
    HooooooooooHA! Adm'rl Fop!!!! Was you looking for this, sir?

    Grog Song

    September 23, 2000 - 10:22 pm
    HooooHa there"ye remind me of a LadyJoan from another life",sure'n that is the grog music. The verse I like is the one where they cut off Jacks grog but raised his pay 5c a day. Hey. Tonite we will be merry. Adm'l Fop a fae by any other name is still fae.

    September 24, 2000 - 05:20 am
    The thing I really like about this discussion of this old poem is the way we can look at it from totally different perspectives and totally different eyes and still not only get along cheerfully but we can actually learn from the other opinions.

    Remember the Cap'n's insistence that you say one way or the other what you thought the killing of the bird represented?

    Was it wrong?

    Was it a sin?

    Was it an accident, a fluke?

    How you think of that act determines the rest of the story.

    No, Betty, nobody would attempt to look at somebody else's misfortune and attempt to assign "blame" to that person's blameless life. It's not for the outsider to judge real life, but our task here IS to say what we think of this poem. I liked what you said, tho.

    I liked Barbara's post, and conversely, Jonathan's too. I don't agree with Barb's assessment of his sending his own spirit to the bird, but, again, I think what he did was wrong.

    But a lot of what we do is wrong. And who is to say what degree of "wrong," is wrong? How could you eat anything, like the character in American Pastoral by Philip Roth, if you worried over being WRONG? The wheat "killed" for your bread. The animals killed for your meat. The grass "killed" because you walked on it. The fly "killed" because you swatted it.

    I don't think the killing of the bird caused the deaths of the other mariners, the storms, or anything else, but he DID kill the BIRD!@ Doggone it, I think you all are too quick to excuse him and say no crime happened, that's he's just the innocent victim? He's not, in my book. He did the deed.

    It'a an all creatures great and small type of thing and if you look on the engraving and read the first form of the poem that Midshipman Maryirk (love that) posted, the doggone thing was huge and the Mariner originally had a trust relationship with it: it was a one on one originally, wonder why Coleridge changed that? Interesting, that.

    Like shooting your dog. Or your parakeet. Trust is trust.

    But it depends on how we look at the singluar act of killing the bird, it all hinges on that and how you personally perceive it?

    I loved this in Barb's post:

    "The Mariner has in affect created his own hell." That's great, Barb, I agree. And she also said we have no other word for the curse in their eyes but the Mariner's own. Apparently by the (fancied) hanging of the bird and the feeling of the curse, the Mariner himself feels he was wrong, too. That's what I get out of it.

    Changing the subject, the writing here is superb, and I find to my considerable shock, as a consequence of looking hard at the gloss that I have misunderstood a couple of lines all these years~

    Your Cap'n is in shock.

    I hoped this would happen, tho. I did want to see this thru new eyes.

    The lines:
    And a thousand, thousand slimy things
    Lived on; and so did I.

    I bet I have myself repeated these lines countless times. When, for instance, somebody really great dies, somebody with great promise or talent, I wonder that I am still here and they are gone. I wonder why they with all their brilliance are gone and I remain. In this context I often repeat those words, feeling inadequate, you see, but NEVER did I EVER realize that by doing so I was not expressing humility but the reverse~~

    The gloss!!! The gloss says:

    He despiseth
    the creatures of
    the calm,
    And envieth
    that they
    should live,
    and so many
    lie dead.

    That came as a perfect shock as that is the complete opposite of how I took it.

    And then I always thought this section reminded me of the Jonah and the gourd story and I reread that one, and again, I was wrong.

    So if nothing else, I am learning a lot here and need to rethink my application of those lines a bit, this is just GREAT!

    Cap'n Grog

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 24, 2000 - 05:34 am
    I agree with Barb. "The Mariner, in effect, created his own hell." Killing the bird was not a "sin" but it was wrong. It was not an accident. His underlying reasoning for doing it is irrelevant. The intent, if he had one, is irrelevant. Whether we meant to kill that person or not, we live with the act for the rest of our life. The memory lives on and on in our mind (life-in-death) and we find that the only surcease we have is "getting it off our chest" by telling others.


    September 24, 2000 - 06:03 am
    Oh Robby! I DO like that: "he memory lives on and on in our mind (life-in-death)"...

    Oh well said, I love that!!!

    Cap'n in Awe

    September 24, 2000 - 09:20 am
    ADM Fop,SIR! --that was a fine party you had last night and I feel my head splitting in the aftermath. It's been a long time since I have lifted so many cups of grog. Do you think that may be why I had the strangest dream about a ghost ship coming alongside with Death and Life-in-Death on board. And no crew, no crew.

    CAPN Ginny SIR!--Back to the bird. I think that what the Mariner did was wrong. None of the other members of the crew shot the bird. He did. And for no reason. He seems unaware that his act is wrong, but as we all know, Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The Mariner comes to understand his wrongdoing only through the events that follow his slaying of the albatross. He has broken the circle of life, or broken into the circle of life, without knowing it, unaware, as it were. And then he suffers and suffers and suffers until he can see that those water snakes are not "slimy things" but creatures of great beauty.


    betty gregory
    September 24, 2000 - 10:02 am
    Ginny, you wrote that we would never blame those who have misfortune, but my point is that we do. Those whose lives are a struggle are often blamed for the same. People who live in poverty, people in ill health, people whose skin color inspires stereotyping. These and many other groups are routinely BLAMED for their misfortune.

    My several posts have centered on the intersting search for blame. As we looked for the source of the misery, death, death in life, Mariner's haunting story, I've seen a universal search for cause and effect. My point has been (must not be a point if no one understands) that cause and effect is rarely as simple or direct or identifiable as we think. Our common practice of blaming those in poverty or those who are misfortunate (throughout the world in various ways) is often misdirected and often misses the complexity of the situations. My point has been that blaming those who suffer often shows up when we search for cause and effect.

    All this is related to "just world theory." Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to good people. If something bad happens to you, you must be bad in some way. This troublesome theory still permeates many of our common stereotypes and often shows up when we look for cause and effect.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 24, 2000 - 10:03 am
    AMEN to what Betty just said.


    betty gregory
    September 24, 2000 - 10:04 am

    Joan Pearson
    September 24, 2000 - 10:40 am
    I agree, Betty. And I agree that is the case here. And also, while we are talking about blame, let's add that God is often blamed for "letting" or "willing" bad things to happen. Good people blame God too. Turn from God, question his very existence...how could God allow such horrible suffering!

    I'd like to think that in dark, rough times I'd find some consolation in God. "There are no atheists in foxholes", the saying goes. But these dying sailors did not turn to God, did they? But the Mariner does observe, of the dying sailors,
    "The souls did from their bodies fly-
    They fled to bliss or woe!

    The Mariner himself did not turn to God. He "looked to heaven and tried to pray", but couldn't...Only a "wicked whisper came and made my heart as dry as dust"...

    YiLi Lin
    September 24, 2000 - 11:04 am
    the dilemma we've faced here is part of the human condition. Many cultures have traditional belief systems that evolve around "taboo" (perhaps Barbara's sin). When a member of a social group transgresses, a number of what are reported as self-inflicted things occur- including illness and death. Often healing or attempts to pacify the deed and move the spirit to a better place (heaven?) takes place through rituals that require confession- public or private. I see this fundamental cycle in the rime- the mariner telling his story to the wedding guest the confession- one that leads to healing.

    Now I am not saying that I agree that all it takes is a mighty confession to correct ones action, just making an observation. But I do agree killing the bird, whatever it represents, whether seeing it as a creature in terms of a character in a story or seeing it as a symbol presented by the author- the fact that it took on the form of a living being, killing it is wrong.

    I wonder though- and here I am pushing Betty's envelope a little further- would we have had as much sympathy for the killing if it happened in a poem wherein one of these members of the designated underclass of a society were killed? I wonder also if one member of the underclass killed another of the same class- would we expect retribution or would we pass it off as "things happen". It is so easy to have rage over the killing of this beautiful creature that we ascribed to whom we ascribed a lofty symbolism.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 24, 2000 - 11:26 am
    Great Betty YES! I think if we look at the bird as a realistic model - the large bird that is friendly is shot than there is one sense of judging the Mariner's behavior and we want to shy away from the Mariner since we do not like to smear ourselves with owning bad thoughtless behavior. If we look at the bird as a symbol than the fact of shooting it becomes something we can relate to our own lives. Like shooting ourselves in the foot as the saying goes-- we sometimes do damage to some part of ourselves for all manner of reasons.

    Lets take someone not victimized and therefore owning the guilt of society attached with that issue-- lets take someone say an alcoholic. Yes, he shoots his arrow-- like the end of part 3 says the souls of the crew are whizzing past like the arrow well, the arrow than could be a symbol of a soul whizzing past making the Mariner's arrow that shot the bird his soul or spirit.

    OK so the alcoholic no longer alignes his spirit and ego but only wants to feel how having alcohol allowes him or her to feel and all his/her energy, thoughts, spirit is figuring out how he can get the drink. Society, his/her family, is like the crew and they blame the alcoholic because-- say the daughter did not win Homecoming Queen. They are sure that if the alcoholic was not observed by others in the community the daughter would have won. The alcoholic feels bad knowing that drinking is something to hide from the family and society and also does not like that the alcohol is so important and so feeling personal guilt it is easy to accept the guilt placed around his/her neck even though it is not right on his/her issue, it allows the alcoholic to feel dispair and guilt.

    That dispair and guilt creates a hell or a roller coaster of feeling good and than feeling guilt and if the alcoholic gets real bad there are the hallucinations of snakes and colors and dry mouth.

    Until the alcoholic can find a power greater than the ego's desire to feel good with alcohol there is misery and the desire for someone to save him or her and the fear of death from the drinking on and on.

    So yes, the alcoholic shot the bird as in taking the drink and abandons his/her spirit by placing it in the value of feeling the way the drinking allows them to feel. But, to say the alcoholic is bad is simplifying the issue. It is the journey to recovery that is the story just as any of us have abandoned our spirit at one time or another for any number of reasons. Some of us owned honest guilt since we perpatrated a damaging act and some of us because we have taken on the guilt that belongs tø another force whether it be fate or another human or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Joan Pearson
    September 24, 2000 - 11:51 am
    This question continues to intrigue me, primarily because Coleridge continue to reference the question - both in the poem and in the gloss. IT is a BIG question, but we are not yet addressing it, except the guilt/blame issue on the human-blaming-human level.

    Where is God in the Mariner's mind during his ordeal, as he is forced to watch the eyes, (condemning eyes) of the dying crew, consumed with guilt. The roll of the dice is simply that the Mariner will live, while the rest of the crew dies. The fact that the Mariner is condemned to Death-in-Life comes from the eyes of the Crew and the Mariner's acceptance of his guilt as the reason these men are dying. Let's say (again) - what if the Mariner had not shot the Albatross at all. That would eliminate the blame question altogether, or would it? Would he still suffer shock and trauma, feeling unworthy that he was the only survivor? I think he would be experiencing this same Death-in-Life experience, as many war Veterans still experience the horror of what happened to their fallen buddies, while they must relive the nightmare fifty-some years later!

  • ***************

    But Where is God in this instance?

    My perspective , obsession, is with the Moon in Part III, continuing into Part IV. I feel Coleridge speaks volumes with the SUN/MOON imagery and it is now how I find myself interpreting the meaning and messages of the poem.

    Look at HER..."casting the sun behind the dungeon grates"...obliterating the Sun (God) - The Mariner looked to heaven, tried to pray but only saw the Moon rising onward and one after one, by the star-dogged Moon the men drop one by one

    The Moon's white beams, "like April hoar-frost - this horned Moon with one bright star...

    What is a horned Moon? What image comes comes to YOUR mind when you hear of horned anything???

    The Moon obliterates the warmth of the SUN, chilling the crew, bringing forth cold sweat on the dying men...as they drop in the moonlight one by one.

    The Moonlight picks up the water snakes..."in tracks of shining white, the elfish light fell off in hoary flakes"...

    And the Mariner sailed on, his heart cold and hoary too - in the light of the moon, until finally, a flash of golden fire (SUN) is the Mariner's heart thawed, and unaware he blesses, he recognizes these "happy living things", and with that simple awareness of warmth, fire, sun, God, ...the albatross, guilt, disappears from his shoulders.

    I have not read beyond Part IV...so I still don't understand why, if the Albatross, (the guilt) is removed from the Mariner at this moment, why does the guilt continue to haunt the Mariner...why the need to explain himself to the Wedding guest???

    I am going to WATCH for the Moon's part in the rest of the story...I don't think we've seen the last of her.



  • Ginny
    September 24, 2000 - 12:01 pm
    I am sorry, Betty, that I did not indicate that I did understand the point that you made, that people are often blamed for circumstances beyond their control, that is true, certainly.

    I guess I was reacting to your Larry Hanna example, of whom certainly nobody in their right mind would attempt to cast blame, and I was saying I ("we") didn't, in his case. But I ("we") do lots of times, I do realize that as well. And it is true that there are some people who just have horrendous bad luck, too.

    I reread your post and I agree with what you said, and I apologize that I did not seem to state so earlier, not that the Cap'n's words mean a whit anyway, (tho it's somewhat startling to realize somebody is actually reading them). Anyway you did make your point.

    We know that bad things happen to good and bad people alike. The interesting thing here, to me, is what Joan P just said, the absence of any God in the proceedings--we have a definite "foxhole" here but no God. Instead of God we have water spirits, Life in Death, Death on a spectre ship, it's interesting, this universe which surrpounds the Mariner. "So lonely 'twas that God Himself scarce seemed there to be." God is definitely mentioned, tho. "Nor dim, nor red, like God's own head, the glorious sun uprist." But the foxhole seems unoccupied by any heavenly spirit, being instead overrun by other nightmarish things.

    Does this indicate the Mariner can not blame his own God for these circumstances and prefers to put it off on these spirits? I think this is an interesting point.

    The "unaware" thing, I hate to even touch, after Admiral FOP's exquisite phrasing, but the author of the question does have a point: you can't actively bless something without being aware of it. And if you know you are aware of it, it's not "unawares." A tricky, silly, perhaps semantic question.

    I liked Admiral FOP's answer,and think there could be no better, but I tarry a bit over that one, too, just for the heck of it.

    Now that point to ponder #2 up there in the bottom section, that's a good one. Why couldn't he pray?

    Why not? What difference would it have made if he had been able to?

    I agree, that's interesting, and I loved YiLiLin's point, would we have the same sense of wrong if one....say.... gangster lowlife killed another? Are we qualitative in our sense of right and wrong? I deliberately used gangsters here rather than enter into any possible misunderstanding.

    Of course in the case of a gangster, we might say they brought it on themselves, mightent we and good riddance. And how is that any different a judgment from what YiLi Lin said? So where do we draw the line? I think that is an interesting point!

    Midshipman Maryirk brought up a good one too: " Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The Mariner comes to understand his wrongdoing only through the events that follow his slaying of the albatross. He has broken the circle of life, or broken into the circle of life, without knowing it, unaware, as it were...."

    oooo, good points there. So the Mariner gained understanding vicariously witnessing the death of the other sailors.

    Here's a question I never saw asked or answered:

    WHY did they get up? Why did they sail the ship? What difference did it make? The spirits could have sailed it on, the spectre ship managed with no sails??? WHY???

    Maryirk's "Ignorance of the Law is no excuse," reminds me of anotehr legal phrase: The hand of one is the hand of all.

    Interesting, hah?

    Cap'n Intrigued

    September 24, 2000 - 12:02 pm
    Oh jeepers, Joan, we are typing together and it looks like you are going the same place I was, let me read yours and see!

    Great minds run....



    September 24, 2000 - 12:11 pm
    GREAT point on the moon, Joan, put that one up in the heading, have no idea what a horned moon is, or how it pertains here.

    Barb, we three were posting together, what a hoot, the Cap'n can't keep up with you all.

    Barbara said it's a journey of recovery, I want to remember that when we get to the final stanzas because I believe that one thing is what pokes a hole in the Mariner as Christ theories, too. Or one of the things. I know nobody has mentioned that one yet, but it 's the most common one other than the Robert Penn Warren Albatross as Christ.

    It's always fun to compare what we read with other pieces of literature, and there are three I'd like to bring to your attention.

    Annya Taylor found that Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment can be compared in close juxtaposition with Mariner.

    "Students have unearthed the following:

    The early act of killing, the incomprehensible motives; the long penance; the hauntings from alternate spiritual sources (Svidrigaylov and Sonya); the debilitating effect of utilitarian and self-aggrandizing theory divorced from feeling; the isolation of the criminal from the human community; the criminal's burden of willful self-destruction; the final uncertainty about whether the criminal is healed after being punished."

    I thought that was fascinating and sounds like Robby!!!!

    Likewise Paul Magnuson, in an article concerning the "Coleridge-Wordsworth Dialogue," mentions that in "Adventures on Salisbury Plain," drafted by Wordsworth. "Salisbury" and "Mariner" both contain similar narratives:

    "A sailor or mariner is persecuted by unjust forces, commits a crime for reasons that are never fully explained or clear, wanders aimlessly pursued by the unjust powers and a sense of guilt. In 'Adventures on Salisbury Plain' and Ancient Mariner the psychological effect of the crime and the wandering is that of the destruction of personality and the dizzying submission to tormenting dreams. 'Adventures on Salisbury Plain', along with "Salisbury Plain,' which it revises, is explicitly a poem of political protest.

    Another similar theme is found in Wordsworth's 'The Discharged Soldier.' Both the Mariner and the soldier have returned, but they still wander, outcasts narrating their tales.

    Why does Wordsworth in 'The Discharged Soldier' duplicate the physical appearances of Coleridge's Mariner? What is the significance of his naturalizing the tale that Coleridge presented as supernatural?

    Why does Coleridge seem to be more concerned in the Mariner with a psychological rather than a social explanation of guilt? Do Coleridge's changes in Wordsworth's narrative in 'Salisbury Plain' constitute a critique of Wordsworth's own poems?

    I thought that was interesting, as there are several scholars who think that Coleridge and Wordsworth must be read as a dialogue. This critic has some fascinating statements, like:

    Coleridge commented extensively on Wordsworth's poetry, to praise Wordsworth, and to assure readers that he, Coleridge, did not totally agree with Wordsworth… Wordsworth is the poet of nature; Coleridge, of the supernatural."

    Your Cap'n loves stuff like that!

    Cap'n Enjoy!

    betty gregory
    September 24, 2000 - 12:24 pm
    Thinking of who we deem blameless (and thanks, Ginny, for making clear that the Hanna family carries no blame whatsoever---now I understand YOUR post better)------I wonder how we might feel about the Mariner if he was an uncle, a favorite uncle. Or a brother? Does our intimate familiarity, or lack of it, have an effect on our perceptions of others' wrongdoings?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 24, 2000 - 12:28 pm
    Just happened by and stopped for a moment. A person who is not addicted to alcohol or other drugs cannot understand motivations the addicted person has. You made some good points, Barbara, but you made them from the viewpoint of a person who is not addicted to alcohol. Assessing blame and guilt is only valid in my opinion when it comes from the addicted person. Any 12 step program will show this through the fourth step of the program and the willingness of the addict to take that fourth step.

    About the horned moon. Long ago in a post I mentioned the Leonid meteor showers Wordsworth and Coleridge witnessed before the Rime was written. Here's what it says on the site reached by this link.

    About the Leonid meteor showers Coleridge saw
    Quoted from that site:

    "Abstract: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner contains many vivid astronomical allusions which have been much discussed in the two centuries since its first publication in 1798. It seems to have escaped attention, though, that the poem’s conception, on a long walk begun by Coleridge, William and Dorothy Wordsworth on 1797 November 13, may have been stimulated by a Leonid meteor shower outburst during the preceding night; indeed, observation of the meteor activity may have provoked this extraordinary walk itself."

    The image that comes to mind when a horned moon is suggested is that of goats, cloven hooves or the devil. In the case of the Rime, I believe those images are wrong. See above.

    Now back to caregiving.

    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 24, 2000 - 01:28 pm
    This crew member fell overboard a while back and has been bravely dogpaddling through the waves in an attempt to catch up with the ship; and I now have the topsails in view...and I'll be catching up soon.

    September 24, 2000 - 02:59 pm
    Wow I feel like I have read a whole book of speculation on about 10 different subjects.I want to pick up on "Where is God?" and "Blaming God" My opinion only: people who have been exposed all their life to the aspect of God as the final authority, all seeing, ever present, all knowing, then certainly if God is to be blessed for all grace why not blamed for all disgrace. It is a truth and is in mens minds if not consciously. It is why we can "call down blessing" unaware since it is subconcious. It is why we can shake our fist at not God because he might retaliatebut misfortune the roll of the dice, bad luck. etc..

    As to blame, blaming the victim as in "What did you do to make that man hit you, rape you, kill you.?" It is easier to assign at least a potion of the guilt to the victim than face plain evil with no explaination. If the child had come straight home the stranger would not have picked her up and raped her. It is human nature and always has been.

    Horned moons always have an ancient meaning to me of the Goddess of Hathor. If you ask me why I will say "Well holy cow, I don't know." shades of the red tent...Fp

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 24, 2000 - 05:42 pm
    Wild and wooly this afternoon-- I posted not seeing YiliLin's post and evidently was posting as both Ginny and Joan were also posting. Lot said and again I'm sharing only my thoughts, not trying for collective agreement here.

    This struck me "When a member of a social group transgresses, a number of what are reported as self-inflicted things occur- including illness and death. Often healing or attempts to pacify the deed and move the spirit to a better place (heaven?) takes place through rituals that require confession- public or private. I see this fundamental cycle in the rime- the mariner telling his story to the wedding guest the confession- one that leads to healing. "

    Yes when our emotional reserves are low often our physical reserves are low. I remember having so many mishaps when my life was shattered some years back. The concept of removing the bad vibes or the inner spirit that seems to affect our entire system so that we seem to bring physical illness upon ourselves, I can see now as more than the work of some less sophisticated society that works with a Shamin. We are less able to ward off illness when we are in dispair and that is easier to fix with a doctors visit than the work to 'fix' the painful dispair or guilt or whatever. The way we still do 'fix' that dispair is like being a Shamin to ourselves as we share our story with others -- it may even be the bases for the sharing at 12 step meetings.

    And so Yili Lin you are suggesting that the retelling of the story by the Mariner has value, his confession is leading to his healing. I like that.

    And Betty what struck me most about "All this is related to "just world theory." Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to good people. If something bad happens to you, you must be bad in some way." is the book Bad things happen to Good People It is interesting how we do not like to associate with bad, so much that it feels revolting and folks that do bad things are not us. We prefer to think of ourselves as good. With that basic premise about bad I think we have a terrible time recognizing and cleaning up the bad within.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 24, 2000 - 05:43 pm
    Wow Joan to me you are bringing up lots of issues in this statement
    "Where is God in the Mariner's mind during his ordeal,
    he is forced to watch the eyes,
    (condemning eyes) of the dying crew,
    consumed with guilt.
    The roll of the dice is simply that the Mariner will live, while the rest of the crew dies.
    The fact that the Mariner is condemned to Death-in-Life comes from the eyes of the Crew
    the Mariner's acceptance of his guilt as the reason these men are dying.
    Let's say (again) - what if the Mariner had not shot the Albatross at all. That would eliminate the blame question altogether, or would it?
    Would he still suffer shock and trauma
    feeling unworthy that he was the only survivor?
    I think he would be experiencing this same Death-in-Life experience, as many war Veterans still experience the horror of what happened to their fallen buddies, while they must relive the nightmare fifty-some years later!

    I think Joan, you have come up with the phrases from the poem that show that God is obscured in the Mariner's mind. The moon seperating him from the sun/God. I love the phrases you chose as they say...He is dead to his spirit. His spirit is his connection to God.

    That is a question-- is he really forced to watch the eyes or does he chose to watch the eyes and interpret them as condemning. And if they are condemning him than that is the blame that we have been speaking about. No one really has the right to blame or condemn another although we all do it.

    The crew is dying and if their faces are sunken from lack of water and food their eyes would look large so an observer would see eyes more than any other facial feature.

    Yes, the Mariner appears consumed with quilt but is it the guilt over what the crew would like him to feel or another guilt. He certainly is not fighting the blame and acts like it is his due. Is he really that sold on the concept that he had the power to affect the weather?

    Does the Mariner feel condemned to Death-in-Life only because the eyes of the crew say so or has he condemned himself to Death-in-Life when he seperated his spirit from God and placed guilt and dispair on himself?

    To eliminate the blame coming from the crew is one issue but the Mariner appears to have taken on some guilt over shooting the bird and his acceptance of the crews punishment looks like the crew's blame is his but than how is his guilt over shooting the bird assuaged?

    His hell seems to be as much about his guilt and dispair if we take the hellucinations as a fantasy. If the events that lead to a ship full of dead sailors is a real happening what is the likelyhood of one man living 7 more days and nights than all the others and how do we explain their rising from the dead to sail the ship home? Yes, shock and trauma if they really all die but if that is real than how do we explain their resurrection.

    Now to have experienced a crisis of spirit that can be best explained by a blistering hot unrelenting sun that blackens lips and with no relief in sight, there is a feeling of isolation as if all around were dead and the self injury just to justify your having the right to speak, the feeling of being in a dungeon and frozen with no warmth from God or any living soul, numb to the world and except for the pain numb to yourself, wondering if death wouldn't be easier, that love and justice nor anything you were taught to depend on just does not exist--yes, amen, been there, done that, felt that, it lasted for over 8 years and so my 7 nights and 7 days were 8.

    There are survivor issues with all kinds of horrific experiences including a crisis of spirit if others affected by the shocking circumstances have not recovered a working life. And I would suggest that the Death-in-Life experience, as many war Veterans still experience is the post-truamatic stress syndrom that many not only Veterans experience when anyone has experienced a crisis that affects their ability to be autonomous.

    And the other statement "I have not read beyond Part IV...so I still don't understand why, if the Albatross, (the guilt) is removed from the Mariner at this moment, why does the guilt continue to haunt the Mariner...why the need to explain himself to the Wedding guest??? "

    My own experience has been that when there is a loss of all the underpinning of life and you are distant from your spirit or God, there are so many small nuances of understanding that often something triggers the issues of your experience and there is this need to examine it again while sharing it with another. The original feelings of guilt, fear, dispair, etc. may no longer be your driving force but forgiveness is ellusive and there again are so many more areas of your life that the event affected that forgiveness to yourself becomes an almost life time project.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 24, 2000 - 05:44 pm
    And yes Ginny , Why, what is the point, what is the significance "WHY did they get up? Why did they sail the ship? What difference did it make? The spirits could have sailed it on, the spectre ship managed with no sails??? WHY??? " Hmmm have to put some thought into that question.

    You are correct Malryn, my addiction is not the typical alcohol or drugs and I do attend Al-anon and ACOA but I also have my share of addictions in order to 'feel better.' I was not trying to assess particular blame or guilt only using as an example some of the documented thinking of an addicted personality. And yes, I agree for every alcoholic there is an individual story with their particulars that have seperated their spirit from a power greater than themselves.

    If a Meteor display prompted these lines than thanks be the power of nature.
    About, about, in reel and rout,
    The Death-fires danc’d at night.
    thanks for finding that Marlryn.

    Nellie do we throw you a piece of line? You do have some water with you don't you...we could all use a swig of some pure clean water if nothing else to cool our brains me thinks.

    Faith I like this "people who have been exposed all their life to the aspect of God as the final authority, all seeing, ever present, all knowing, then certainly if God is to be blessed for all grace why not blamed for all disgrace." reminds me that a crisis of spirit is probably not different than the typical rebelling of a child towards parants until we sort out that they are no longer...the final authority, all seeing, ever present, all knowing...and we place our parants in the context of universal humanity.

    September 24, 2000 - 07:13 pm
    I think it's spinning out of control.

    Or is it my head?

    I thought we were all going to be sadder and wiser at the END of the poem! But the caliber of the posts, their thoughtfulness, their diversity, the views, the insights...I feel I have already arrived at that blessed(?) state...aw shucks, just a light-hearted response to all your amazing posts! Congratulations!

    YiLi Lin
    September 25, 2000 - 07:06 am
    And to think all this time we've only needed one spot of rum. So I think a ladle all around in celebration.

    Ah yes, the meteor showers- explains a lot. Thanks.

    September 25, 2000 - 11:30 am
    Ah my fellow travelers I have found a black barge and I am sailing West to Iowa on a sea of grey macadam for two weeks..I will use my carrier pigeon laptop as I can to check here and see if you are still afloat...I am much too short (5') to wear that albatross...after all his wingspan is nearly the same as my heighth...do you think he shrank as he dehydrated ? I am not surprised the albatross sank like lead..have you ever had to lift the foot of someone who was paralyzed? The first time I did that for a friend I was so astonished at the weight, the heaviness of that paralyzed foot...It took considerable strength to place it back on the support..

    Frankly if I had been the MAriner I would have said GOOD RIDDENCE!!!!! Ah well I think I will take the cork out of the bottle and have a swig to properly launch my barge ...best to all of you ...to the cabin boy would you please air out my cabin before I return ...thanks

    anna in Virginia ...on a rainy day ...

    September 25, 2000 - 12:53 pm
    When I said it's spinning out of control, last night, I did so intending some irony of course. Our Mariner's dream is out of control...well that's the nature of dreams and, especially, nightmares. The discussion is successful beyond the wildest...! Wonderful posts.

    Here's what I mean. At the beginning of Part 4, he is still our Mariner in agony...only it's about to get worse, much worse, in the next half dozen stanzas. And then just like that, he tells us that everything is wonderful, beautiful and lovely...not 'the heavens declare the glory of God', which he would have recited when young, but his own spin,...the water-snakes, of all creatures!, God's arch-enemy and fallen angel, Satan, acquires a beauty beyond the ability of any tongue to declare!

    And the Albatross? Has it really fallen away? Or has the Mariner simply forgotten it, for the moment? And what does the Moon have to do with all this?

    When we whiled away a few days at the seashore recently, Ingrid and I would sit on the rocks after dark and wonder at what the Moon could do with the tip of a breaking wave...a long bead of silver, dancing and glittering to the glory of the imagination! Awesome! Like The Rime itself.

    And that's what it does to me; but it's beginning to exasperate Ingrid to be always hearing about the Mariner. Some of it far out.


    Nellie Vrolyk
    September 25, 2000 - 01:45 pm
    Barbara, yes you can throw me a line or one of those life boys. I have a bottle of Perrier water tucked in my belt and you can all have a sip from that.

    Not many comments of my own as yet, but I am reading everyone's with fascination.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 25, 2000 - 01:55 pm
    Oh God Jonathan love thine enemy-- see beauty in thine enemy-- shesh! And yet, I am now thinking untill we can, we really do not fully accept ourselves since none of us are 'all' good. Shesh life is hard!

    Nellie I really think I will need more than swig of Perrier, me thinks I need enough to drown the fire in my belly. Why not magic up a raft of Perrier hehe.

    betty gregory
    September 25, 2000 - 07:05 pm
    Hehehehehe, Jonathan, had to chuckle at Ingrid's exasperation with your attention to the Mariner. Thank goodness her role in the recent wedding wasn't as "guest."

    Loved your description of the moon on water. Beautiful.

    robert b. iadeluca
    September 25, 2000 - 07:16 pm
    Annafair: I thought only the Cap'n had a cabin.


    September 25, 2000 - 08:35 pm
    Ah Cabin boy, you forgot the Admiral. I will have to think of a good discipline for the boy. It is never fair to a child to let him go unpunished for even small transgressions as he may grow up to be unwelcome in graceful company, dontcha know. Admiral Fop

    September 25, 2000 - 09:11 pm
    Robby surely there is space for one so short ..perhaps a corner in the captains cabin...?

    My barge is waiting to be launched..the hold is nearly full and only the last bit of luggage needs to be put in place. We are carrying a goodly supply of water we shall have a drop to drink. Thankfully there will be NO ALBATROSS and if any bird gets in our way ..we will AVOID it all costs...

    We sail at dawn or nine am whichever comes first on Wed ...take care ...anna in virginia

    September 26, 2000 - 04:12 am
    Ingrid! Well, now we know and what a pretty name!

    hahaha, Yes my own husband has been dragged into the Mariner so many times he's getting his own glittering eye when it's mentioned! hahahaa

    But isn't it FUN? And who KNEW? We did try this once before and it died immediately so I'm not sure you all realize what you have done!!

    Avast! There goes another lifeboat over the side with Annafair on it, I hope she didn't take the compass, the Cap'n does not like this sailing in strange directions? Hurry back, Annafair, lest the Hermit Good approach YOUR boat!

    Jonathan, I loved that "out of control" comment! Yes, the discussion, like the Mariner's voyage, is all over the place, I love it, myself.

    This week the grapes came in, we are growers, and my life suddenly is totally out of control so you won't see much of me for a bit, but I have a renewed sympathy for the poor guy, I know how he feels, actually.

    You do tend to take the smallest thing as a big significance, and your own crashing thru the china shop of life does tend to come to an abrupt halt?

    I really hate the feeling of being out of control

    The sinking like lead business, of course, is interesting when compared to the sinking of the ship like lead later on. I would imagine, not having thrown any lead into the sea, that it's a pretty fast shot to the bottom, and I would likewise imagine that a bird that dead that long would NOT tend to sink like lead, normally, but rather float a bit, but again, have not actually emulated the Mariner's experience.

    The whole albatross here, I believe Joan P was right, is mythical. The very second he could pray, it fell off??!!?? and likewise fell like lead into the sea. We have to assume that physically he was hanging out over the sea himself, otherwise it would have fallen on the deck? Right? And likewise he had to shoot it when it WAS over the deck or it would not have been available to HANG on his neck in the first place. Likewise why on earth would they keep a dead bird on the deck in hot weather? And finally likewise, a dead bird would have fallen off of its own accord 2-3 days max, and not from the smell.

    So from all that we do see the bird as symbolic. The bird is symbolic the spectre ship is symbolic (of WHAT?) the spirits on the ship are symbolic, the Mariners are symbolic (of WHAT??)

    What do the other sailors symbolize?

    Navigator Nellie, great to see you clambering back up the side of the ship, you appear a little parched, have some GROG. Did you see that phantom under the boat, he's been follwing the Mariner, you know, nine fathoms deep in the water, like a submarine?

    Here's a new thought on this Part IV, will put same in heading:

    Great points, Everybody, on the end of the Parts. This Part IV, also ends with the albatross, but it "sank like lead into the sea." It might be interesting to take only the last two lines of each Part and see if they themselves tell any story, and if so, what that might be?

    I love the big long gloss about the moon and the planets, being expected like lords but there is a "silent joy at their arrival."

    Have always been intrigued by tales of the solstice and the supposed joy of primitive man when it was discovered that the sun actually WAS going to return and the days would lengthen.

    This is a super use of meter here:

    I closed my lids, and kept them close,
    And the balls like pulses beat:
    For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
    Lay like a load on my weary eye,
    And the dead were at my feet.


    There we have Coleridge making a pulse in the rhythm of his meter, you could beat a drum to: For the sky and hte sea, and the sea and the sky....ba ba BAH ba ba BHA ba ba BAH ba ba BAH ....I would say that's an ANAPEST but am open to correction and that stanza has 5 lines in it, too.

    I'm looking back at the other five line stanzas, and am not sure I see any particular pattern, do you? What am I missing here, I don't think Coleridge is sloppy, I bet it means something, but WHAT?

    Never seen that question asked, either.

    How and why does the Mariner's own saint get involved in the act?

    What is the function of prayer in the Ancient Mariner?

    What is the difference between what happens to the Mariner in the moonlight and what happens in the sunlight?

    Is it possible that the other meaning of "gloss" might apply here: "a purposefully misleading interpretation or explanation?"

    Considering Coleridges' own epitaph for a moment:

    That he who many a year with toil of breath

    Found death in life, may here find life in death:

    What does the term "death in life" mean as related to Coleridge's own life? Does the phrase "death in life" take on new meaning after reading this poem?

    More anon!

    Cap'n Harvest

    September 26, 2000 - 04:31 am
    Here's ANOTHER one I just found, have we addressed this?

    What causes the Ancient Mariner's change of perception of the snakes?

    I like that one, have we addressed it?

    Cap'n Catch Up

    September 26, 2000 - 07:23 pm
    Freud's success depended on the willingness of the unhappy Viennese ladies to believe that he understood them. What does this have to do with the Ancient Mariner? It's a thought which came to me while pondering Part 4 of The Rime, and the tough questions set out for us. It's a question of where do we look for help when we're in our own personal fox-hole; or when we're pushed over the edge by something, or someone...rolling the dice, seemingly.

    The remarkable chain of events: the battering by external circumstances, the fears of superstition, the self-torture, the strange visions, the mystical feelings, which end with the Albatross falling away, is magnificent as dramatic poetry. Why question it with asking how or why?

    It would take a religious saint to answer the questions with authority! I, for one, hesitate to second-guess the powers that be...where even angels would fear to tread. But despite my hesitation, I find it irresistable to ask: Was the Freudian view Moonshine? Is the latest new gospel Moonshine?

    Moreover, by giving the kind saint credit for his 'redemption'(if that's what it is) I believe the Mariner made a grave unknowing error. Until such a time, when his God will extend eternal rest and peace, graciously, mercifully, the Mariner will continue to do penance while being fiendishly posessed and driven.

    Cabin Boy! Bring me a noggin of rum, to clear my head!


    September 27, 2000 - 10:06 am
    Yes Jonathan, or until he walks through that last door. Life in Death, Finding true life after walking through the door of death?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 27, 2000 - 10:42 am
    Back for another moment.

    Freud. Some sections of Part IV are full of passion and life, not death. The moon is perhaps a female symbol? The snakes are perhaps a male symbol? Whatever the interpretation, it seems to me that the Ancient Mariner has suddenly fallen in love with Nature and life again. Love, the beneficent emotion. Of course, the dead albatross falls away in the face of such love of life as represented by Nature.

    If the Ancient Mariner is by religion Catholic, as Jonathan once suggested and the poem leads me to believe, the idea of sin and guilt for what he did would be very strong in him, would it not? There are many who believe penance must be paid for sin, and this feeling would possibly be augmented because of the mariner's religion. Is it possible that the persistent repetition of the story of his "sin" and the reliving of it is part of the penance this obsessed, Catholic Ancient Mariner subconsciouly thinks he must pay?


    September 27, 2000 - 10:56 am
    Mal, your post about love being the factor that "removes the albatross" sounds right, and that he keeps confessing over and over seeking forgiveness for sin,yes. Whether he sinned or not is a moot point, isn't it as he assumes the guilt? Such complications. Such a heavy debt he assumes that can never be paid off in life, only in death. eh? Fp

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 27, 2000 - 11:02 am
    A hard question you've posed for me, Faith, since the only debts I have witnessed that are paid at death are doctors' and hospital bills and funeral expenses.


    September 27, 2000 - 02:21 pm
    Malryn...I was hoping I could coax you back into the discussion. Your perspective matters too much to all of us not to be missed.

    The Rime can be unsettling with its endless litany of woe, and now a form of exaltation.

    I try to imagine the Wedding Guest, and he is very important to the structure of the ballad, isn't he, as a mental health professional, trying to understand and help. What if the WG had been someone like Freud? We know that Freud mined the classics in the development of his theory. Did he ever comment on this literary creation? It's quite legitimate to consider it as just an old man's dream. There is no record of this particular maritime tragedy. No other 'witnesses'. But plenty of exciting reading in the Age of Exploration. Throw in a familiarity with the writings of Josephus, Psellus, and the mystic Jakob Boehme...

    Your posts in the past offered a distinctive, I'm certainly not suggesting a Freudian, but an objective, psychological view. We're all really different listeners, aren't we? And how interesting, as a listener, to change the point of view occasionally. Is that a hindrance? Confusing? As Robert asked a zillion posts ago: How do we approach this poem?

    Drop by...if and when inclined.


    September 27, 2000 - 03:34 pm
    I have a compliment for you all, and I don't want to make you self conscious or anything, but I've had a letter from a lurker in this discussion who wrote last night that he/she thought that the posts in this discussion were the best he/she has ever read in any discussion in the Books.

    THAT is high praise, indeed, especially considering who this person is, and it just really causes me to pause once again and reflect on what a wonderful group job you really have done, and....the voyage is not over YET! The brig is empty, no person has walked the plank, and I heard that Midshipman Irk has been hiding a stash of...of...CHOCOLATE, so everyone show up at 6 bells (no I don't know what that is but BE there) and we'll split a Hershey bar dipped in peanut butter (the Cap'n has been hoarding too).

    Expecially since it looks like those dead guys next door are beginning to stir? (Or maybe that was a trick of light or something, but they sure look viable to me).

    Have you all noticed that they did not rot?

    Why...does that mean anything?



    Cap'n Chocolate

    September 27, 2000 - 03:36 pm
    Jonathan, in all that reading I did there was a good bit about Freud, I'll go back and try to see what the actual references were, I seem to remember they were not complimentary, but can't remember to WHOM? hahahaaha

    Yes, chocolate chip cookies at 6 bells!

    I have found, to my shock, in looking at Topic #8 above, that in reading the last stanza of each part of the poem, that you would, indeed, know what you needed to know?!?!!!!

    I'm amazed. I did not ever notice that before. I wonder what, if anything, it means. I wonder if the first stanza of each part also does the same thing?

    Going to see... Do any of you have any thoughts on #10, by the way? I would like to know, actually?

    Cap'n Chip

    September 27, 2000 - 03:53 pm
    I admit I do not have a good hold on the role of prayer in this part:
    "that self same moment I could pray;
    And from my neck so free
    The Abatross fell off, and sank
    Like lead into the sea."

    So there the Ancient Mariner is finally able to pray, apparently because of this stream of love gushing from his heart.

    But now here the gloss says "The spell begins to break." So we have a "spell" of some kind? The nightmare? or??? But the other men are still dead, or whatever they are and they even get up?

    And WHY do they get up? Has anybody addressed that and I missed it? I mean, let's face it, the spirit under the ship could have carried it back to land, the spectre ship tacked with no sails?

    And I'm sort of confused here and....well, just confused I guess. I think we will have a very spirited discussion of penance after the Hermit at the end, because if it is penance he seems a bit more driven and unforgiven than one would have expected. (Now I realize the psychological application of the PTS, but am talking about the...religious one, I guess).

    IS the Mariner now "forgiven?"

    Do you wonder what the "wicked whisper" was which came to him the first tme he tried to pray??

    As Barbara St. Aubrey said to me not long ago, it's much easier to ask questions than to answer them! hahaha She is RIGHT! hahahahaaa

    Cap'n Question Box

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 27, 2000 - 04:55 pm
    Thank you, Jonathan. My real life rôle as listener-therapist for my son is the important one now, but these discussions are a relaxation and stimulus that relieve the burden of that rôle, so I'll come in when I can. I am the Wedding Guest forty times over at this time.

    I was not familiar with the writings of Jakob Boehme. I hear Boehme and I think music. Have to figure out why soon. Jakob Boehme wrote about the oneness and no-thing of God, as I understand it, about Divine Wrath and Divine Love. What little I read told me something about the character of the Ancient Mariner, as created and built by Coleridge.

    ".....chaotic "fire" that burned without giving light. This was the quality of divine wrath or bitterness (Grimmigkeit), which perpetually turned in upon itself and consumed its own substance. This self-destructive activity caused tremendous pain and anguish within the divine nature, the first suffering that the universe had ever known. Boehme described this first principle as 'the craving to draw into itself.'"

    From this "self-destructive activity", Boehme says that God, in this search, progressed to Divine Love, the sensation I presume Coleridge described when he made the Mariner able to see outside himself and pray, thus losing the burden of the albatross. Interesting to think about. To my mind, Boehme's writing about this does not sound like a unique idea. At one point in my life I translated a good bit of Dante's Divine Comedy, so this has a somewhat familiar ring.

    Robby has stated here that the mere act of talking about a severely traumatic event to someone, anyone, is a kind of therapy. For that reason, the Wedding Guest is most certainly a therapist, just as Freud was to the Viennese women who believed he understood them.

    It was an interesting idea today to expand on the thought that the Ancient Mariner might have been Catholic and to think about the implications of that as far as his repeated reliving of his hellish experience was concerned.

    How does one approach The Rime of the Ancient Mariner? It's a toss of dice, a look through a kaleidoscope, an analysis of Pollock's works or the Sacrificial Dance by Stravinsky. One might almost say it is a reflection of what one is.

    Objectively speaking, I prefer the psychological approach, which seems sharp and clean, to the more artistic, perhaps, metaphysical and religious ones, which are less that way. The psychological approach satisfies me, and as the primary reader of this work as far as I am concerned, what satisfies me is the route I follow.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 27, 2000 - 05:42 pm
    Here's why I thought music:
    "BOEHM, Theobald (1794-1881), German composer"


    September 27, 2000 - 11:14 pm
    Thank YOU, Malryn. And I know a little more abort Jakob Boehme, (b1575), who is difficult, to say the least. I have trouble getting past his alchemical terminology, although he did also write some basic christian non-institutional stuff. He had just recently been translated when Coleridge read him. I felt better when I found out that C had once said, that what he had got out of Boehme's writings was what he had brought to them. Well now, doesn't that fit The Rime?

    On the question of the 'wicked whisper': don't I wonder about that one! Perhaps it is, as they say, that difficult word in a poem, which, if one could only get at the meaning of it, one would have the key to the whole poem.

    By way of making a start I'll suggest; a whisper that his prayer would be futile; foremost in my mind would be the whisper: there is no God. Or in another way: life is a toss-up, what's the use? Despair, to despair of hope is a sin; or no hope: the last time he hoped it turned out disasterously. Perhaps a devil whispering and recommending skepticism. I seem to remember hearing or reading that the 'dry as dust' sensation while trying to pray, is quite common. I have to admit that my prayer is of the 'reverential resignation' kind, recommended by Coleridge in The Pains of Sleep. It's very effective.

    It seems to be clearly indicated that love made it possible to pray. Was it a whisper indidating to him that he lacked love. He could not have had any love left for the crew. And we know how he felt about those 'thousand thousand slimy things'.


    September 28, 2000 - 07:05 pm
    Any one interested? Here's an excerpt from the recent Holmes biography, which may throw some light on what Coleridge saw in the moon, based on his notebooks, written in Malta (1805).

    'One of his most persistent night-themes is the huge Mediterranean moon viewed from his garret window across Valleta harbour. To Coleridge it was still the magic moon of the 'ANCIENT MARINER', but now he turned to it with a new intensity, as a witness to his own sufferings. One midnight it was 'blue at one edge from the deep utter Blue of the Sky, a mass of pearl-white Cloud below, distant and travelling to the Horizon.' He found himself praying to it, as to a divinity. 'Consciously I stretched forth my arms to embrace the Sky and in a trance I had worshipped God in the Moon: the Spirit not the Form. I felt in how innocent a feeling Sabeism might have begun: O not only the Moon, but the depth of the Sky!'

    He recognized in this a profoundly religious instinct that was to grow with ever-greater force in the coming years: that he was not spiritually self-sufficient, and that he had a primitive, almost pagan, need for an external power. 'O yes! - Me miserable! O yes! - Have mercy on me, O something OUT of me! For there is no power (and if that can be, less strength) in aught within me! Mercy! Mercy!'

    On another, calmer night the same feeling emerged more philosophically. Now the moon presaged a whole theory of poetic language, which would take its authority from the same recognition of transcendent human need deep within the spirit. Now it was the language itself - the divine LOGOS - which impelled Coleridge from a pagan Pantheism to the rebirth of a fundamental Christianity. The moon at Malta provided Coleridge with a religious revelation about divine power radiating through the natural universe. It was for him, with his fundamental and never-abandoned identity as a poet, essentially an ARTICULATING power, an expressive FIAT as in the opening of the Book of Genesis.'

    From his notebooks: 'In looking at objects of Nature while I am thinking, as at yonder moon dim-glimmering thro' the dewey window-pane, I seem rather to be seeking, as it were ASKING, a symbolical language for something within me that already and forever exists, than observing any thing new. Even when the latter is the case, yet still I have always an obscure feeling as if that new phenomenon were the dim Awaking of a forgotten or hidden Truth of my inner Nature. It is still interesting as a Word, a Symbol! It is LOGOS, the Creator! and the Evolver!'

    And the beautiful Moon Gloss came into being?

    Malryn (Mal)
    September 28, 2000 - 09:51 pm
    Yes, is anyone interested?

    You've lost me a little here, Jonathan. Sabeism is a worship of the stars, as I recall. LOGOS is a Greek word:

    "1. Philosophy. a. In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos. b. Among the Sophists, the topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves. c. In Stoicism, the active, material, rational principle of the cosmos; nous. Identified with God, it is the source of all activity and generation and is the power of reason residing in the human soul.

    "2. Judaism. a. In biblical Judaism, the word of God, which itself has creative power and is God's medium of communication with the human race. b. In Hellenistic Judaism, a hypostasis associated with divine wisdom.

    "3. Theology. In Saint John's Gospel, especially in the prologue (1:1-14), the creative word of God, which is itself God and incarnate in Jesus. In this sense, also called Word."

    The gloss, as I have it: "In his loneliness and fixedness he yearneth towards the journeying Moon, and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward ; and every where the blue sky belongs to them, and is their appointed rest, and their native country and their own natural homes, which they enter unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival."

    I feel lost, even when I read what you posted from the Coleridge notebooks: ".....I seem rather to be seeking, as it were ASKING, a symbolical language for something within me that already and forever exists, than observing any thing new."

    Coleridge was trying to find answers to the same questions that Boehme asked? I am endeavoring to relate this to the torment exhibited in the poem and ultimate easement of this pain.

    Are you suggesting that the Mariner's struggle was that of Coleridge? I don't entirely agree. Parts of a writer's thinking and emotional struggle, if there is any, is bound to show in his or her work, but it is my feeling that Coleridge was too professional and experienced a writer to let that struggle dominate what he did, even under the effects of laudanum.

    I will say this. A drug-enhanced brain can create all kinds of complications to things that demand only simple solutions, including the creation of visions that are only visible to the person with that drugged brain. In trying to "go straight" changes could possibly be made to a work that do not necessarily go hand in hand with the original idea or premise.

    I am courageous enough to venture that too intellectual or probing an approach to any piece of literature has a tendency to distort what the work actually is with a superfluity of entangled counterpoint. This can muddle and confuse the meaning the author intended.

    I, for one, am much more interested in the Rime than I am in analyzing the character of its creator. Tonight I read some Dylan Thomas poetry, encoded enough at times to make the mind stretch almost too far. I don't really think Coleridge did this. I believe he used what he knew in a poetic way to paint his portrait of a troubled man and an agonizing condition which Coleridge had witnessed and studied.

    This is from a non-intellectual who still believes the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.


    Malryn (Mal)
    September 29, 2000 - 09:16 am
    L'shanah tovah!
    Happy New Year to my Jewish friends all over the world.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    September 29, 2000 - 09:41 am
    In keeping with the Jewish holiday here is a reminder of Jewish history and blame that is woven into so much of our western litereature. Many have likened the Mariner to the story of "The Wandering Jew." Coleridge knew him as bearing the mark of a cross on his brow as the albatross was borne about the Mariner's neck:
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.

    The mariner, as in most versions of the Wandering Jew, wishes death to end his indefinite suffering. The place of exile has moved from the wilderness of European villages, out into the uncharted oceans. Just as the Wandering Jew will forever roam, so will the Ancient Mariner, spreading his tale of tragedy.

    Coleridge's variant of the Wandering Jew, the man is repentant for his sin, he has prayed to God for forgiveness. Yet Nature is still turned against him. He still has to wander the earth aimlessly telling his remorseful story. He will forever be in agony for the one sin he has committed. It is an unfair persecution, his crime was not deliberate and our sympathy is elicited.

    According to legend, as Jesus struggled up Golgotha with his cross, one man kept tormenting him and ridiculing him. For this sin, he was condemned to wander the Earth until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The story first appeared in 13th-cent., but the wanderer was not identified as a Jew until the 17th cent. The history that developed this legend starts with these events.

    The glorious first five years of Nero's reign under the wise guidance of Seneca and Burrhus, make the other nine horrific by contrast. "For such a demon in human shape, the murder of a crowd of innocent Christians was pleasant sport. The occasion of the hellish spectacle in Rome was fearful, the most destructive and disastrous that ever occurred in history."

    It broke out in the night between the 18th and 19th of July,518 among the wooden shops in the south-eastern end of the Great Circus, near the Palatine hill. Lashed by the wind, it defied all efforts of the firemen and soldiers, and raged with unabated fury for seven nights and six days. Then it burst out again in another part, near the field of Mars, and in three days more fires laid waste two other districts of the city. The police and people, under the influence of the panic created by the awful calamity, were ready to believe the worst slanders, and demanded victims.

    Under the wanton and unnatural vice of Nero, there began a carnival of blood such as even heathen Rome never saw before or since. A "vast multitude" of Christians was put to death in the most shocking manner. Some were crucified, probably in mockery of the punishment of Christ, some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts and exposed to the voracity of mad dogs in the arena. The satanic tragedy reached its climax at night in the imperial gardens on the slope of the Vatican (which embraced, it is supposed, the present site of the place and church of St. Peter): Christian men and women, covered with pitch or oil or resin, and nailed to posts of pine, were lighted and burned as torches for the amusement of the mob; while Nero, in fantastical dress, displayed his art as charioteer. Burning alive was the ordinary punishment of incendiaries; but only the cruel ingenuity of this imperial monster, under the inspiration of the devil, could invent such a horrible system of illumination.

    Some historians have not doubted the truth of this terrible persecution, but that the Christians, rather than the Jews, or the Christians alone, were the sufferers. It seems to some historians, difficult to understand that the harmless and peaceful Christians, whom the contemporary writers, Emperor Nero's teacher, Seneca, Pliny, Lucan, Persius, ignore, while they notice the Jews, should so soon have become the subjects of popular indignation. It has been discussed that Tacitus and Suetonius, writing some fifty years after the event, confused and damned the Christians rather than the Jews, who were generally obnoxious to the Romans, and justified the suspicion of incendiarism by the escape of their Transtiberine Quarter from the injury of the fire.

    A Jewish Augustine (a name applied to Nero's court entourage. A group of ne'erdowells who, along with the Emperor, practised debauchery on a scale never seen before or since. Massive orgies involving the Vestal Virgins, and the roaming of Rome's streets to attack and mug innocent victims. Any resistance led to the victim's death courtesy of Nero's Praetorian guards). This Jewish Augustine was mentioned as the one who suggested to Nero to start indulging in bestiality.

    But the atrocious act was too public to leave room for such a mistake. Moreover Nero, had no quarral with the Jews. His second wife, Poppaea Sabina, a year before the conflagration, had shown special favor to Josephus, and loaded him with presents. Josephus speaks of the crimes of Nero, but does not say a word about any persecution of his fellow-religionists. "It is not unlikely that in this (as in all previous persecutions, and often afterwards) the fanatical Jews, enraged by the rapid progress of Christianity, and anxious to avert suspicion from themselves, stirred up the people against the hated Galilaeans, and that the heathen Romans fell with double fury on these supposed half Jews, disowned by their own strange brethren."

    The Jews caused trouble in Judaea and then in the empire at large, they fell in the esteem of the gentiles. They were not popular among the Roman mob because they were reputed to be so aloof that they would not even give anyone directions, if asked.

    The most unfortunate in this period was Palestine, where the ancient and venerable nation brought upon itself unspeakable suffering and destruction. Jerusalem was razed to the ground, The temple burned, and not one stone was left upon another. The history of the Jewish wars records that the only way to deal with the "Jewish problem" in Palestine was to get rid of the Jews - which is exactly what the Emperor did, instigating the Diaspora.

    At last, in May, A.D. 66, under the last procurator, Gessius Florus, a wicked and cruel tyrant who, as Josephus says, was placed as a hangman over evil-doers, an organized rebellion broke out against the Romans, at the same time a terrible civil war started between different parties of the revelers themselves, especially between the Zealots, and the Moderates, or the Radicals and Conservatives. The Zealots took forcible possession of the city and the temple and introduced a reign of terror. After a siege of five months the entire city was in the hands of the victors. The number of the Jews slain during the siege, is stated by Josephus at the enormous and probably exaggerated figure of 1 million and 1 hundred thousand. Eleven thousand perished from starvation shortly after the close of the siege. Ninety-seven thousand were carried captive and sold into slavery, or sent to the mines, or sacrificed in the gladiatorial shows at Caesarea, Berytus, Antioch, and other cities.

    September 30, 2000 - 08:46 am
    Jonathan, I thought that was wonderful and sometimes, as at this time of year, the moon, the harvest moon, is just unbelievable and you can, yourself, well imgaine lots of strange things that might take place. That was beautiful about the blue moon, and I've seen it orange too. One can well imagine ancient man at the solstice being relieved when the days began to be a bit longer. Thanks so much for that one.

    Mal, I keep forgetting to say your explications of the poem are so lucid, one can see you are, indeed, a writer. I , of course, being of a....sort of, I guess...parsing nature, love to nit pick, we can have something for everybody, I think, and it's fun to each do our own thing.

    Barbara, with the Romans, some day we must read I, Claudius, wouldn't that be fun? My understanding of the Romans before the insane emperors was that they were tolerant of other religions, quite tolerant, as long as those religions worshiped the Emperor at the same time and of course as the Roman Empire developed and several madmen took the position there was bound to be some horror.

    This last trip to Rome took us to the Cataombs and a very sobering place it is, too.

    I did not get in Nero's golden house tho and will next time.

    If we are all ready, let's move on, if you like, to Part V?

    I'm going to withhold what I think of Part IV till we get to the end, because it fits my own, probably incorrect theory.

    Still looking for the Freud references!

    OK this Part the Fifth contains many exciting and wondrous things, we've got the Sprit under the ship, the spirits manning the bodies of the sailors who pull at ropes tho there is no breeze and there is no wind and the spirit under the ship is actually moving the boat.

    This would make a great horror movie, wouldn't it? So spooky, all these fantastic sounds and sights and stuff.

    For some reason this stanza has always stuck out in my head, maybe because it's bouncy:

    The body of my brother's son
    Stood by me, knee to knee:
    The body and I pulled at one rope,
    But he said nought to me.

    I thought that was interesting, would you refer to your nephew as the body of my brother's son? That kind of makes it more....distant and horrible, to me.

    The Dore engravings, here, by the way, still show the Mariner with the bird around his neck in these scenes and in sleeping and of course that's not correct. Wonder why he did that?

    I'm a little confused by the last two spirits, tho, what penance has the Mariner done? What IS penance and when did he do it?

    Cap'n Grape Harvest

    September 30, 2000 - 02:06 pm
    I want to tell you Cap't I refuse now and forever to go aboard that ship. Adm'rl Fop...However the body is just that the body of the nephew, and is inhabited by an angelic soul. These bodies are not to be feared as they are only being used to get the boat back on course and eventually to save the mariner. See:
    But not by the souls of the men, nor by dæmons of earth or middle air, but by a blessed troop of angelic spirits, sent down by the invocation of the guardian saint. `I fear thee, ancient Mariner !' Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest ! 'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, Which to their corses came again, But a troop of spirits blest : For when it dawned--they dropped their arms, And clustered round the mast ; Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths, And from their bodies passed.

    October 1, 2000 - 07:44 am
    Admiral FOP, SIR! That will NOT do, Sir! Admirals lead at all times! Kindly prepare your boarding party and approach one of those bodies with some spirit (whose?) of some kind within and inquire as to the directions back to port???

    We will wait here. You may wish to take oranges?

    Prepare the boarding ramps and hurry, the thing is sawing back and forth like a pawing horse.

  • an act of self-abasement, motification or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin.
  • a sacramental rite that consists of private confession, absolution, and a penance directed by the confessor
  • something as a hardship or penalty resembling an act of penance as in compensating for an offense."

    I submit to you, not being Roman Catholic myself, and requiring instruction here, that the Mariner has performed no penance whatsoever up to this point?

    In fact, the very second, the very MOMENT he felt SORRY and felt he COULD pray, the bird sank off. If the bird around his neck constituted a penance, it was the penance of a moment.

    Penance, by its very definition and I am open to correction, does not come from others, no curse in their eyes, nothing. Others may prompt feelings, but true penance has to come from the individual or is done by the individual who truly repents at the hands of a confessor. We have not met the Confessor yet. We do not see sorrow, and when we do, the bird falls off.

    I am interested in your reactions, I hope we don't lose the Admiral if that other ship takes off in a bound.

    I was somewhat astonished while reading a biography of Thomas a Becket by his chief biographer, the learned William Urry, of Oxford and City and Cathedral Archivist of Canterbury, to find a physical example of penance noted.

    It seems that Urry despised his subject, for his pride and the truly awful things he did?!?

    Apparently Thomas a Becket was a .....proud and haughty prelate who, however, upon his death was found to have mortified himself with a particularly hideous and "verminous" hair shirt. Penance. Nobody knew. But we know the Mariner's very thoughts and he's only penitent once and the body of my brother's son thing reveals no sorrow whatsoever?

    I submit he has done no penance, or if he did, it is about to start?

    Cap'n Fearless
  • Deems
    October 1, 2000 - 10:43 am
    Penance----seems to me that in undergoing the strange taking over of the ship, of watching the dead men rise to take their former positions on this luckless ship, the mariner meets the requirements of definition three which CAPN Ginny has given us-- ("something as a hardship or penalty resembling an act of penance as in compensating for an offence")

    Although he is not actually DOING anything, the mariner is undergoing a surreal and ghastly experience. He is surely undergoing a hardship. Think of other forms of penance, such as the hair shirt that Thomas a Becket wore to mortify the flesh in order to keep in mind the spiritual. Becket imposed the penalty. In the case of our mariner, the penalty is imposed upon him, but he undergoes it without cursing his fortune. And I think that is the main point, the mariner accepts the hardship rather than railing against it. He does not return to his old ways of finding the whole world ugly because he is in bad straits. Thus, we have valid penance.

    And thus the mariner begins to pay back for what he has done. But the penance is not over yet. He has more ordeal to go through.


    robert b. iadeluca
    October 1, 2000 - 10:48 am
    Sometimes just staying alive is a hardship and perhaps paying a penance. Think of those veterans who returned alive from war knowing that everyone of their compatriots had been killed.


    October 1, 2000 - 10:49 am
    My favorite lines from Part V:

    The silly buckets on the deck,
    That had so long remained,
    I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
    And when I awoke, it rained.

    Those last two lines give me a shiver. Water is essential to life and is used symbolically in much literature to represent life itself.


    October 1, 2000 - 10:50 am
    Right, Robby-----yes, I agree.

    October 1, 2000 - 07:15 pm
    I'm eager to join you in Part V; but I've taken some time to work up an answer to some tough qestions Malryn asked me (958) re the Holmes extract. I feel I owe her an answer. I've had an interesting time finding it!

    The answer, Malryn, is a look at the Rime as a tale of a Mariner dogged by the moon. The moon is mentioned eighteen times; each time in a significant way, making it, easily, I believe, the controlling factor in the Rime. The raw data. No theory; because I have none. The line numbers are those of the 1834 edition.

    1.L78 The Mariner cringes at the memory of the glimmering, fog-smoke white of the Moon-shine. And thereby compels the Wedding Guest to ask: Why look'st thou so?

    2.L114 In broad day-light, the glorious Sun of day-break turns into the bloody Sun of high-noon...suddenly a reminder of the moon!

    3.L203 Darkness. Listening, looking, and waiting...for what? The Moon, according to the gloss.

    4.L210 The dramatic appearance of a hornéd Moon, suggesting a devillish(?) human or animal being or Spirit?

    5.L212 Did the Mariner know that, for whatever reason, the cursing and dying had to await the arrival of the Moon?

    6.L263 Here begins the hold the Moon has on the Mariner, who is completely swayed by her, knowingly or unknowingly.

    7. The Moon Gloss! Help me on this one.

    8.L267 The whole sorry world of the Mariner is 'bemocked'. The Moon offers the Mariner a striking new way of looking at, acting upon, and reacting to his surroundings.

    9.L272 Can one, as the Mariner does now, according to the gloss, accept as meaningful, or real, what is seen by or in the light of the Moon?

    10.L321 and L322 The Moon in plain view, is marshalling the forces of nature - the cloud, the rain, the lightning - and sets off an astounding, supernatural event...dead men give a groan, rise up, and begin to work the ropes. 12.L329

    13.L417 This is amazing...the ocean as the slave of the Moon! The ocean as an eye, looking to the Moon, ready to do her bidding.

    14.L432 The Moon, in her turn, looking on...on a world somehow of her own making.

    15.L437 Is the Moon not to be relied on? By her light the Mariner's world was made beautiful, loveable. By her light he still feels cursed by the crews' glittering eyes.

    16.L474 Home at last! Oh, the joy of it!...in a moon-lit bay!

    17.L475 The Moon, now as shadow, (image, reflection?), would seem to reside in or on the water.

    18.L478 The weathercock, of all things, stilled by moonlight! Not by the Moon; but by that white light which brings to mind the Moon-shine white at the beginning, which seemed to leave him with a terrifying memory.

    I wonder if I've overlooked some? In any case, I'm ready to do Penance.


    October 1, 2000 - 07:17 pm

    William Frost
    October 1, 2000 - 07:52 pm

    I have followed the Colridges researches, looking for the inspirational poetry it might inspire in your correspondants. I sat up when the subject of the moon arose. I wasn't particularly interested in Coldridge's abtastung but I was challenged to look back at my responses to the very broad spectrum of moon strikes. Here is a poem I wrote then:
    CH'ANG O

    In Chinese mythology, Ch'ang O is the moon goddess celebrated in poems
    and novels. She gave birth to 12 moons,
    11 of which somehow disappeared.

    In another legend she is called the wife of Hou I;
    she fled to the moon when he discovered
    she had stolen the pills of immortality
    given to him by the gods.

    Each year Ch'ang O's flight to the moon is celebrated
    with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Cakes are eaten
    and shared with friends and neighbors; many go outdoors
    to look for the resemblance of a toad on the surface
    of the moon. According to one account, Ch'ang O was changed into a toad.


    William T. Frost

    Yellow orange rising, dyeing the tides
    pregnant in diffusion through the dull sacs
    stretch-marked between the horizon's red guides.
    Ch'ang O lives; climbing her stair she contracts.
    It is the 15th., 9-month lunar node
    we eat our round moon cake, lie on our backs
    and watch the silver outline of the toad.

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 1, 2000 - 08:08 pm
    Jonathan, my mind is dull and tired, since I have spent close to three weeks with a very close family member whose brain and mind do not function normally because of serious injury. One segment of time sane; the next one not.

    You say moon to me, and I think tonight of luna, lunatic, lunacy and what you said in your post, so look at the Ancient Mariner as a man who is not completely sane. A fixation on the moon could be an expression by Coleridge of mental illness caused by the terrible trauma the Mariner experienced.

    I have a feeling this poet knew quite precisely what the Mariner was going through, but I do not know. I am not a scholar, and I am not a psychologist. My experience with such fixations has been only as a close observer, briefly recently, and for a much longer time a few years ago.

    After reading some of Coleridge's letters in the past few days, I could state that the sun seemed to bother him very much. Bright light often disturbs a person addicted to drugs. This I know.

    The moon is easier, less harsh, but it also has a sort of unreality that could lead some disturbed people to feel as if it has a calming influence at some times, a frightening one at others. A fixation on the moon could lead to a dependency, a sensation that the moon was in control.

    Heck, Jonathan, I'm so tired now that my "patient" has left my care and I have relaxed a little that I don't know what I'm talking about.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put this very tired woman named Mal to bed and think about the Ancient Mariner tomorrow.


    October 1, 2000 - 09:19 pm
    Ay Captain, I am obliged to assist you but not to obey your orders and just in case you question this chain of command thingamabob I emailed an officer of the Naval Law Operations and he obliged me with this serious answer.

    Technically, a Captain cannot give an Admiral an order. However, if the Captain has Operational Control of the fleet, he may be empowered with positional authority and have the right to do so under certain wartime conditions. A fairly nebulous answer, I'm sure, but my expertise lies elsewhere.

    Good luck.

    LT Rhodes

    See, and do not treat this as a joke please as Lt. Rhodes was very good to answer me in a serious way.

    Please do not make me go on over to that other ship by declaring a war Oh Captain, my Captain. Admiral Fop (perhaps the moon as made a strip down me back)

    October 2, 2000 - 08:45 am
    And Congratulations to Water Sprite Mal who won the Literary Contest yesterday! That is wonderful and inspired me to enter today's Literary Quotes Contest. I'm very good at literary quotes, or so I thought till I looked at it in the heading of the Fourth Anniversary Welcome Center and then, lacking a monkey and a dart board, used my ESP and told the Potato Salad Queen not to give a donkey's prize for all wrong.

    It was fun tho, it will be interesting to see what my ESP thought, because I surely did not recognize one of them.


    October 2, 2000 - 08:49 am
    Jeepers, look at all these great new posts! Welcome, Blithe Spirit William Frost!

    OH boy, oh boy, lots of new posts and great stuff to sit among the grapes and read, thanks to you all, back at cha in a sec!

    The Cap'n hereby declares war on people who won't think!

    Cap'n Back at Cha

    ( All right, you want to talk about superstitious? Each and every time the Cap'n has signed "Cap'n Crunch" something bad has happened to the Cap'n? So the Cap'n will do it this time just to SEE, not that the Cap'n is supersitious....let's just SEE what it brings!)

    October 2, 2000 - 04:44 pm
    Well, what do you expect, Sir, when you declare war? Something good to happen? I'm thinking.

    October 2, 2000 - 06:54 pm
    Captain Crunch I am thinking I am thinking..did a lot of thinking in my life and am kind of tired(or chicken in the face of war)...Adm'rl Fop

    October 2, 2000 - 09:44 pm
    Malryn...All Good Wishes at the beginning of a New Year. And I'll take what you have learned from experience, any old day, over the Mariner's rag-bag of caprice and moral non-sequiters.

    Admiral...it's terrible what the Captain is asking you to do. My advice is look for friends in High, I mean Low Places. Look what the Polar Spirit did and is doing for those He loves.

    Capt'n Ginny...about that matter of Penance which you brought up in Post 963, I would like to say,that like the death of the crew, which was determined by the roll of the dice, so now the penance which the Mariner will do is imposed on him by the good guys as a favor to the Polar Spirit for the help in moving the ship. (Could we get Him onside, and make things a little easier for the Admiral?) As the Dice were the Determiner in Part III, so now, in Part V, an array of supernatural Powers battle it out in the Mariner's soul. Mary Queen and troops of angelic spirits. The great Polar Spirit and troops of his spirits. And determined not to be left out, the Moon arrives with a sky-full of wonders. Perhaps we can get some more on this from W.Frost.

    It seems strange to be talking about penance, when the Mariner has just undergone Redemption. And as an answer to his prayer has received the pity, along with a gentle sleep, and a refreshing rain...from Mary Queen.

    But it's a sleep from which he awakes, wondering if he's dead or alive. And then the marvels begin.

    How are the rest of you doing at sorting out the moral confusions in Part V? What kind of divine justice is it, to impose penance on someone who has suffered as much as the Mariner, a man who has never had an evil thought?


    October 3, 2000 - 04:43 pm
    I choose to obey the "request" of the Captain. With my steward assisting we took a dingy and rowed across the shinning sea when it was calm in the dead afternoon. I climbed the rope ladder and thought to board the ghostly ship, but alas, when I saw the dead bodies standing at the masts. They looked like wax figures in a museum and I heard the saintly sounds of choir music (a greek chorus?) rising in the fetid air.I saw a figure slumped at the helm, his head upon his breast, his hands raised in supplication and glory be I thought I too heard the low buzzing of voices in the air, one or two I know not. I feel into a dead faint. I awoke on me own quarter deck with the steward pouring water o're me and I jumped up and went to write down in my journal my impression. Captain Honeybunch please don't send any more of this crew to see such terrible sights and sounds. Adm'rl Fop

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 3, 2000 - 07:14 pm
    Are you sure that wasn't the arms of a swound you fell into, I ask respectfully, my dear Admiral?


    October 3, 2000 - 09:54 pm
    Ah the water baby speaks.Mal do tell me, what are the arms of a swound? I saw that word before and for me life cant think on it. I hope our Captain Good Hope is pleased that an attempt was made though not completed to board that ship. Jonathan may be right I should have hunted for the Polar Spirit to aid me. What I want to know and can't figure out is the second voice, so soft and sweet declaring such a punishment for the Mariner and that it is not ended. I am anxious to go on and find out who this is. Adm'l Fop

    August 10, 2000 - 07:41 pm
    In the Glossary link above I found:


    Now archaic and in dialectical use . Originated in 1440. [Later form of swoune SWOON, with excrescent d .] A fainting-fit. So swound as an intransitive verb: to swoon , faint.

    October 4, 2000 - 05:36 am
    Would you believe I actually got chills reading Admiral FOP's adventures? And note, Mariners, how the Admiral included (purposely?) all the elements that Coleridge did, the contrasts of life in death and life (water). That was well done, Sir!

    Did you bring back the treasure map from the hold? It doesn't sound like it? Perhaps you should board again?

    And you actually consulted somebody proficient in Naval Law? Amazing, you all are totally amazing. Obviously he has not met the Cap'n.

    The curse is running full speed and the Cap'n will never again sign the CC in fact the Cap'n is afraid to even sign one C. No joke, me Hearties, no joke.

    THIS is the Cap'n's day off. All day (until 10 am) the Cap'n has to herself so she has chosen to come here and try to express her thoughts on what you all have said. Fell right off my grape chair over Jonathan's points on the moon? The contrast between the moon and the sun? (an earlier question in an earlier part?)

    Jonathan, Sir! I submit astonishment and total chills over such stuff as:

    13.L417 This is amazing...the ocean as the slave of the Moon! The ocean as an eye, looking to the Moon, ready to do her bidding.

    14.L432 The Moon, in her turn, looking on...on a world somehow of her own making.

    Hoo boy, that's good stuff. That's such good stuff it's going in the heading, your own HTML page, Jonathan thoughts or something.

    Well done.

    I have several different people's thoughts to bring you this morning, see what you think of any or all but first, Midshipman Jonathan, what do you mean he never had an evil thought? Her we go again, with the what do you think about his killing of the bird? That was not a good thought? What of the "evil whisper" that made his prayers dry as dust?

    Are you saying that compared to most of us he was blameless, but heckers, he lived on, right? He continued on the others died? And are we to assume ("they fled to bliss or woe") that they fared well? Spirits singing? If they fled to woe would the spirits be singing quite so sweetly?

    Is this part a tad confused? Are the Mariners here a symbol, and if so, of what?

    Here is the first submission for today from a new Spirit which has just now boarded the ship: Welcome Blithe Spirit!

    "The Mariner's crime, symbolized by the shooting of the good-luck bird, was his failure to consider the consequences of his actions. Wasn't everything after the shooting of the albatross a reminder of his misdeeds and his human failings? He undergoes all the nightmares of remorse and I can't distinguish between his dreams and the reality of events which affected not only him but all his fellow creatures. Despite his "rescue" and spiritual rehabilitation he will never outlive his deed, and his lifelong penance will be the constant need to retell it."

    Now there is a point we have not raised: the lack of consideration of the consequences BEING the crime? Truth or consequences here and a warning to all, I like that one, too.

    Penance. Likewise from this Blythe Spirit comes this startling thought:

    "Once having recorded a heinous deed could the poet of that time/place/culture have allowed his protagonist to go free?"

    Midshipman IRK (who is as busy as the Cap'n but who may resurface next week): turns out to be eerily right on the matter of PENANCE. It would seem that just BEFORE Coleridge wrote this thing, PENANCE took on a secular meaning! To wit, from the OED:

    " Repentance, penitence- 1699.
    The sacramental ordinance in which remission of sins is received by a penitant througt the absolution of a priest, the necessary parts being contrition, confesion, satisfaction, and absolution.
  • The performance of some act of self-mortification or submission to some penalty, as an expression of penitence; penitential discipline or observance, in Eccl. use such discipline or observance officially imposed by a priest after confession. Temopral punsihment for sin."

    but....oops, here at the very bottom I see: "Punishment-1769"

    OOPS! So it may be after all that the word "penance" meant punishment newly in 1769, and thus Coleridge considered what the Mariner was going thru punishment. Worse to stay alive than to die?

    I do note one spot where the Mariner says and yet I could not die.

    And more anon

    Cap'n Anon
  • Ginny
    October 4, 2000 - 06:05 am
    I found the most wonderful thing to bring here, somebody has actually taken the time to make a chart of the Mariner's journey, showing what looks a lot like a Dante descent into Hell and subsequent rise, and I hope to get it scanned in here, it's very interesting.

    Blythe Spirit Frost!~ How delightful to see you here~!! What a beautiful poem and wonderful research, thank you so much for adding that to our already powerful discussion!

    I must go look for a toad on the surface of the moon, what will it signify? Is it good luck or bad? Tell me before I go look!

    Because the Harvest Moon is about to shine on later this month in full phase, and I want to be ready!

    Jonathan, I did like your comparison between the roll of the dice and the "good guys" and bad guys among the Spirit world.

    I'm with Admiral FOP, I don't understand the types of spirits and who this is talking here at the last.

    I don't understand who or what these spriits represent, do you all?

    Max F. Schultz thought he did, tho, and here's what he had to say about it:

    In 1817 also appears the pedantic seventeenth- century narrative voice of the prose glossist reinforcing the poem's Christian causal underpinning of the otherwise mysterious events of the voyage, judging, for example, the "spell" or trance, of the Mariner as a "curse," or cross of guilt suffered by him for killing the albatross and expiable through penitential suffering.

    [Thus]... is imprinted the record of Coleridge's ideological development, artistic perceptions and psychoreligious anxieties for those years. He is, in effect, co-opting successive versions of his self, while never quite effacing the trace of old personas and viewpoints.

    In its palimpsest the poem thus encodes prototypically the disguised signatures of the protean Coleridge: delver in old pre-Christian texts, acolyte of nature, hermeneutic formalist, philologist, Broad Church apologist, wandering Old Navigator, sophisticated balladeer-poet, literary theorist and critic."

    I love that. Don't you feel good that you arrived at that by yourselves, here, without the learned Dr. Schulz to help you?

    I love the depiction of the poem as palimpsest. Do you know what a palimpsest is? It's a manuscript that has been overwritten. The word "palimpsest" is Greek for "scraped again."

    Many of the writings of the ancients were physically scraped off by monks and religious writings were placed over them by the Church. It wasn't a case of religious fervor, apparently, "in late classical and medieval times the scarcity and costliness of vellum were so great that it was quite frequently salvaged after the text, which had been inscribed thereon, fell into neglect." (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

    I have a wonderful photo somewhere of a palimpsest of Cicero covered over with St. Augstine's writings, one visible by ultraviolet light and the other by the naked eye. The photograph shows them both on top of the other, one having sort of a ghostly appearance, just like this poem, with it's swirling and confusing images.

    So here Schulz likens the Rime to a palimpsest, I love that. I think he's right.

    More more more but no time to put it here today, yes, Jonathan, a bumper crop, a big year.

    Back at ya with the Freudian stuff and so much more tomorrow, the diagram, etc.

    Who or what do you all think thsee Spirits at the end of this part signify?

    Cap'n Grapes

    Jo Meander
    October 4, 2000 - 06:32 am
    Ginny, I've been reading, but too intimidated to speak, you all have come so far and done so much with this text. I can't restrain myself now: WOW! PALIMPSEST!!! Fascinating and rich in significance, considering both the literal reuse of old materials and the complexity of Coleridge's intentions, the word takes on the latter wonderful meaning. I know you are already saying that, but as I read some of the earlier posts, the disagreements over Coleridge's intentions, I kept thinking ...but didn't he mean ALL of that? Could the religious and psychological and heaven-knows-what-else all have been there for him? PALIMPSEST! The stuff underneath never entirely gone!

    October 4, 2000 - 06:39 am
    Hey There, Seaman Meander!!! What a sight for sore eyes, and a joy to behlold, your stalwart presence on board, THAT is a present enough for me this morning!!

    SOOO glad to see yourself upon deck, front and center and very smartly as always, presented, too!

    Do YOU think the Mariner has done penance or not???? Hmmmm? Or is doing any?

    Cap'n YAY

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 4, 2000 - 06:49 am
    "The stuff underneath never entirely gone!" Jo Meander has said what I've been trying to say here for quite a while. Coleridge's pantheism when he began the poem has been in part covered with a kind of Christian moralistic writing, but the pantheistic view remains. The dichotomy, trichotomy and more of the author does show in this Rime.

    I read a letter Coleridge wrote while under the influence of laudanum, which certainly showed a kind of mental state the use of that drug and others can produce. How much, I thought, of this poem was written while he was at a different level of his mind because of laudanum? How much of the gloss and how many of the changes were made when he was either trying to get off the drug or clean of it? What kind of mind are we dealing with here?

    I know for fact that one cannot deal with someone whose mind is not normal, according to what has been established as normal, in a logical and reasonable way. How then, can we interpret this poem properly without putting ourselves into the mind of the Mariner? His mind was in no way normal after his punishment began by the seamen. Is it possible for us as relatively sane people truly to be able to understand what Coleridge was doing with the character of the Mariner?

    Just wondering.

    October 4, 2000 - 07:55 am
    Yes, I thought you'd like that, Malryn, and you have, indeed, been saying that for some time, so you agree that the image of the palimpsest, neatly encapsulated by our Jo, fits the bill, then?

    As to your last question, that's a good one, as are Jonathan's, and I need to think on't.

    Cap'n Gone

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 4, 2000 - 08:14 am
    The palimpsest image is great. Wish I'd thought of it. Thanks Ginny and Jo for bringing it into the discussion today.

    About this extra penance because of the Polar Spirit's help with getting the ship to sail, I am reminded of what Jonahan said about "the Mariner's rag-bag of caprice and moral non-sequiters." Mariner-Coleridge, I'd say.

    Because of another discussion, I did some research on the Carthusians who took vows of silence and wore hair shirts to do penance for sin. These innocents wore a hair shirt as punishment for what? I could ask the same of the Mariner. New penance for what? For suffering? Is this an example of a moral non-sequitur? Is enough punishment never enough? Where does that come from?


    Jo Meander
    October 4, 2000 - 10:08 am
    Well, the Christian tradition includes the belief in Original Sin, of which we are freed only because of the sacrifice of Christ. But we are supposed to be humbly penitent all the time anyway becaue we were born flawed and therefore there's no way we are sinless. So within that framework the Mariner, like everybody else, will do penance forever! On this level killing the albatross might be seen as a symbolic act of human frailty, foolishness, wastefulness, whatever. The haunted man is an extreme portrait of human frailty and the attendant eternal suffering -- and certainly not an optimistic image of the human condition. He does penance because he's one of us. He pesters the wedding guest because he is, too, and he's on his way inside to forget that it's true. The Mariner won't let him! I've considered that the Mariner and the Wedding Guest are two halves of the same soul.

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 4, 2000 - 10:37 am
    An interesting idea, Jo. These two characters assuredly were created by a poet who must have had both the Mariner and the Wedding Guest in his rather convoluted mind. I do not, however, believe that they are two halves of the same soul. If they were, the Wedding Guest would have acted as conscience and advisor rather than as a captive and sometimes fearful listener. No, it's my opinion that the Wedding Guest represents someone, anyone, the Mariner could buttonhole to listen to the story of his obsessive, painful torments. It just as well could have been the woodcutter down the road.

    Yes, you are right about the original sin aspect for the penalty of penance. Why did Coleridge suddenly bring in a Christian kind of morality at this very imaginative and supernatural point, though?


    October 4, 2000 - 02:19 pm
    Like Mal, I admire Jo's use of palimpsest to describe what is going on in this poem. I also admire Mal's explanation of all the underlying hodgepodge of images taken from all over the place. And, Mal, you have already answered your own question. Themes and topoi from Christianity appear because they are the underpinnings of the culture Coleridge knew and that his readers knew. They were there in the very air he breathed.

    On hairshirts---the idea is to mortify the body because for a long time Christianity saw the body and spirit as essentially hostile to each other. The body got people into all kinds of problems. So, if you could make it sore and bloody, you could tame it, keep it down. And offer your suffering to the Lord.

    And original sin made all guilty of Adam and Eve's sin. All fall short of the glory of God.


    Malryn (Mal)
    October 4, 2000 - 02:40 pm
    MARYAL, I am aware of why the Carthusians and others wore hair shirts and understand the original sin premise very, very well, but as I look at this discussion and the people in it and other discussions I've been in in SeniorNet, all I have to say about falling short is Balderdash. (No insult or sacrilege intended!)

    Nevertheless, why did Coleridge bring in this moralistic stuff when his imagination was running wild? Coleridge was a Universalist when he wrote the Rime, and Universalists do not believe in original sin. Was this a cautionary show for his more orthodox readers or a sort of don't-go-overboard control reminder for himself?


    October 4, 2000 - 02:56 pm
    Malryn I don't know what I would do without you. You explain things I feel as a "knowing" and can't put into words very well. I agree the Universalist aspect of Colridge's religious attitude would seem to be overcome by more conventional Christianity in the Rime, and mostly in the Gloss as if he was changing and it is true he did change as he matured and of course he did spend a lot of time trying to overcome his drug habit. I have also seen the effects of drugs on the mind, and also we can read about it all the time re: entertainers, songwriters, muscicians who are on one plane of creativity under the influance of drugs and totally different when drug free. I don't know that anyone on drugs can be understood by a drug free mind. Faith

    October 4, 2000 - 03:01 pm
    Mal--- Gotcha. I was only describing the mindset of the time. I think Coleridge falls back on it partially because he had to get the Mariner out of the nightmare somehow and he came up with a way to do it. I think his audience would have been even more upset by the poem than they were if he had not provided the Christian "scenery." I don't think it works or fits particularly well, but a lot of things in this poem don't make sense to me--like the wicked voice that whispers in his ear, for example, or later the two disembodied voices. I don't think the parts can be made to fit together in a satisfactory way. Oh, except for the psychological reading which you and I agree on. Just my opinion.


    October 4, 2000 - 09:50 pm
    With all the Spirits hanging around, it doesn't suprise me that one of them would eventually want to get involved in our discussion. Especially now, when we're beginning to get somewhere. (just look at all the interesting posts!). And it comes with a warning. It behoves us to consider the consequences of how we receive It in our midst. Just as the Mariner should have foreseen the consequences of setting out on a voyage of discovery; a voyage, moreover, which had such a propitious beginning...but on a ship which soon became the plaything of the winds.

    'Crime', 'Misdeeds', 'Human Failings', 'Heinous Deed'. With judgment calls like that, I feel, the Spirit is deflecting attention away from Himself. I only hope that my saying so doesn't bring down on me and the rest of you a curse or an entrancement such as Dr. Schulz promises. (I disagree with him, when he suggests that the gloss reinforces 'the poem's Christian causal underpinning'. I believe the gloss, as well as changes in successive editions, are more of an attempt to introduce an impression of that underpinning.)

    I believe it's the same Spirit 'in my soul discerned', who sealed the Mariner's fate with His repetitive, soft, chilling, ill-boding whisper: Penance! Penance!

    Perhaps the same Spirit who succeeded in driving insane the scholar I've heard about, who spent thirty years puzzling over the Rime...raising too many awkward questions, I guess.

    'Could the poet...have allowed his protagonist to go free?' He most certainly could have, if he had called on 'the dear God who loveth us', before ever the poor Mariner fell into the hands of an avengeing Spirit... the Mariner who is expected to see 'consequences' in a world of inconsequences; who is dragged out of his state of rustic innocence, made to suffer physically, morally, spiritually, beyond the endurance of any of us, without ever having tasted or having been tempted...well now I'm uncertain. That line in Part III: 'HER lips were red, HER looks were free', seem almost to suggest a memory of something out of his past. Perhaps he wasn't all that innocent.


    October 5, 2000 - 05:06 am
    Yeah I wondered about that " her" lips were red stuff, do you note that Death is a....what? But Life in Death is a woman and with free looks and red lips, boy o boy.

    And then she whistled thrice. That's interesting, I've been trying it, it's kinda strange. I do know the signifigance of the number three.

    Great posts and questions this morning and I'm putting some into the heading.

    Here's an interesting chart by Anne Williams who attempted to look hard at the plot, "ostensibly complete...[ but which] appears curiously inconclusive."

    She compares the Mariner's Journey as a sort of Dante-like "descent into Hell, followed by an uphill journey through a purgatorial realm of expiation. But there emphatically is no Paradise--nor is there the familiar conclusion to more earthly comedies: marriage. The Mariner is trapped in a purgatory of repetition compulsion, while his chosen interlocutor, the Wedding Guest, is not exactly edified by the tale ('He went like one that hath been stunned/ And as of sense forlorn.'). It seems that the Mariner has had an effect: 'A sadder and a wiser man/ He rose the morrow morn,' but it is one that evades ordinary modes of linguistic communication.

    The 'meaning' of the Mariner's tale is experience first as physical sensation that only belatedy finds expression as intellectual response.

    The Mariner remains homeless and companionless; the Wedding Guest misses the wedding."

    She got a little ahead of our story here but I think it's valuable in that she is compelled to point out there IS no Paradise found in the Mariner and not for his listener, either.

    As far as self mortification, I'm not sure we want to characterize the tenets of any religion here. I remember seeing the penitents on the steps of....I can't remember, I think it was the Lateran church in Rome this summer. They climb that huge flight of stone steps which are worn away on their knees in prayer in physical penitence for whatever sins they may have committed. It's actually very impressive, or so I found it, even if I personlly wouldn't want to do the same.

    Henry II, in response to the murder in the cathedral of Thomas a Becke, t is famous for his acts of penance, ending with his having been flagellated by the bishops, abbots and then three lashes each by 80 monks.

    And there are other cultures which practice this also, and in many lands, this self mortification of the flesh goes along with the feelings of the spirit for many cultures and religions.

    I can well understand the "wicked whisper" which came fleetingly into the mind of the Mariner. Who of us has not had the occasional wicked whisper in our minds? I sure do and at the MOST inopportune occasions. It's like a little voice that will NOT shut up and the more you try to stifle it, the worse it gets.

    Here is an excerpt from J. L. Lowe's The Road to Xanadu, sent on by yet another Spirit:

    The albatross...binds inseparably together the three sructural principles of the poem -- the voyage, and the supernatural machinery, and the unfolding cycle of the deed¹s results. (p. 201)

    (Pages 271-272) The last stanza of each of the first six parts ... marks a step in the evolution of the action. ...

    Part I: ...and with my bow/ I shot the Albatross. [There is the initial act.]

    Part II: ...... instead of the Cross the Albatross Around my neck was hung. [And the consequences first attach themselves to the transgressor.]

    Part III: ...Four times fifty living men
    They dropped down one by one ...
    And every soul, it passed me by
    Like the whiz of my cross-bow!

    [The consequences pass by the doer of the deed, and fall upon his shipmates. And now ³Life-in-Death begins her work upon the Mariner,² till at last the turning-point of the action comes:]

    Oh happy living things! no tongue
    A spring of love gushed from my heart
    And I blessed them unaware.
    Sure my kind saint took pity on me
    And I blessed them unaware.

    And then:

    Part IV

    The self-same moment I could pray
    And from my neck so free
    The Albatross fell off and sank
    Like lead into the sea.
    [And so the burden of the transgression falls. But its results march on relentlessly.]

    Part V:
    The other was a softer voice,
    As soft as honey-dew.
    Quoth he, ³The man has penance done,
    And penance more will do.
    [But the voyage at least has a destined end, and with the Hermit¹s entrance a new note is heard:]"

    The Road to Xanadu is not a critical nor a biographical work. It's an examination of the incredible amount of source material tucked away in Coleridge's mind, and also in his notebooks, from his vast reading on many subjects. Lowes demonstrates how -- so to speak -- the artist draws on memory's storehouse, selecting and reshaping what he finds and using it to create something new.

    Lowes, incidentally, doesn't at all disregard the moral aspect of the tale.

    I thought that was interesting, too.

    NOTE however, in the Lowes that The consequences pass by the doer of the deed, and fall upon his shipmates.

    Now here we come back to the Mariners again. I feel bad about these Mariners. All this time we've been talking about the Mariner, HIS sin, HIS problems HIS HIS HIS,and the other men died for it. All THEY did was to say, Twas right, said they, the bird to slay.

    Is this saying something and if it IS how does it fit in and why aren't they doing all this penance and how come they died? And what do they symbolize? Are we saying that the thought is worse than the deed here?

    I thought this was beautiful Jo, " On this level killing the albatross might be seen as a symbolic act of human frailty, foolishness, wastefulness, whatever. The haunted man is an extreme portrait of human frailty and the attendant eternal suffering -- and certainly not an optimistic image of the human condition."

    So it's Everyman but the other men paid for it.


    Malryn (Mal)
    October 5, 2000 - 06:45 am
    I remember mentioning Dante's Divine Comedy in an earlier post. I like the Anne Williams chart. Thanks, Cap'n, for posting it.

    In Part V the Ancient Mariner sees the sky come alive with a "hundred fire-flags sheen", (Remember the Leonid meteor shower). The Polar spirit begins to move the ship, and the spirits of the dead seamen take their positions to man the ship. The Mariner hears the sound of a sky lark and angelic music. Then two disembodied voices come, telling the Mariner he is to pay even more penance than what he already has. Visions and voices and hallucinations. At least, I would call these descriptions hallucinations, as written by a poet, who, I suspect, knew exactly what hallucinations were.

    I am very close to the experience of being with my elder son for the past three weeks. He hears voices and music and sees visions at times because of the trauma of his accident. When I read Part V, I was deeply reminded of a story I wrote some time ago about him based on things he told me and what I witnessed when I was caring for him for five years in Florida. My son had never seen this story, and at the end of his stay I showed it to him. He said it quite accurately described some of the things he had experienced.

    With your indulgence, I am posting a link to this story here. I believe it bears some relevance to what the Mariner went through and what follows in Part V. Perhaps you'll read it if you have the time or inclination and see why I relate it to this part of the Rime.



    Jo Meander
    October 5, 2000 - 07:30 am
    Wonderful, Mal! I emailed you. Let me think about this more re the Mariner.

    October 5, 2000 - 10:49 am
    This post may seem unreal following such very interesting and meaningful ones. Nevertheless, before giving them some serious attention, I'll post a contrary view from the Crow's Nest.

    Between 'the gentle sleep from Heaven', and the voices of the ghosts lurking in our hearts, we are tossed hither and fro among supernatural marvels and thoughts of home, thoughts of still woods with their hidden brooks,(where the Hermit chants his hymns). And shuffling the notes cluttering my desk I find this one from a few weeks ago, which I will insert now for your consideration.

    There are hidden meanings in the Rime; which it is just as well not to look for. Some are simply too frightening, they 'thick man's blood with cold'. Some have no parallel among modern mental disorders. Some just demand too much Imagination, what Coleridge meant by the 'vigorous understanding', which he looked for in his listener; and which I would call an appreciative, analytical free-fall. Woman's intuition comes close to it.

    Having said that, I will only add that, just as there is a poetic licence, as for example, to part the Red Sea, so there is a poetic crime in trying to explain, to find meanings when, along the way, the poet, with laughable irony, tells us: 'It had been strange, even in a dream,/To have seen those dead men rise'.

    And then brings us back to the 'reality' of the Rime by pulling at the rope with his dead nephew!

    Ghastly? Indeed! And in the process, he's given the game away.

    robert b. iadeluca
    October 5, 2000 - 11:58 am
    I think we are reading more into Mariner than Coleridge meant. Many of the postings here might be reflecting the posters more than Coleridge.


    October 5, 2000 - 12:33 pm
    Robby---That almost always happens when a group discusses literature, especially a classic like this poem. When I read it I am back in ninth grade and my sophomore year at college as well as in the present, trying to look at the poem with fresh eyes.


    October 5, 2000 - 06:43 pm
    "Reflecting the posters more than Coleridge" is what makes this discussion so enjoyable. They have become a community of minds, sharing their own perspectives, insights and surprises. These posters have challenged and broadened one anothers thinking as they have probed into the character of the Ancient Mariner.

    October 5, 2000 - 08:45 pm
    Yes, Alf, and sometimes I think I am probing into my own character as I read and respond in my head and sometimes in a post, to the many and differing understandings of this Classic. I did not have such book discussions in school. We wrote a report of our own feelings, understandings etc. and got graded that was it. As an adult and an old one at that I too, am coming with new eyes to this work. I came into the discussion thinking I knew this poem and the poet. I was wrong as can be. I learn something new everyday and change my opinions and understandings everyday. Today I couldnt stand it and read to the end about twice. Now I still am confused, willing to listen and learn. Faith as Adm'l Fop is known in River City

    October 6, 2000 - 07:54 am
    A good point, Robert, and a good reminder, too. As good a point as has been made here. It could be made the subject of its own discussion. There must be others who agree with you. It is sad to think how many posts are never made, how many good ideas are never heard, for whatever reason; but I hope it would not be for fear of being shot down, a catastrophic thing at worst, as we have seen; but an effective way of learning.

    I was looking forward to hearing how you arrived at the post traumatic stress diagnosis...close to the truth, no doubt, but left the way it is, it is just a label and unfair to the Mariner, isn't it?

    Make it interesting for us. It is obvious to me that you could.

    To be honest with you, I am winging it on this one; and trying to make what little I know on the subject, go too far.


    Roslyn Stempel
    October 6, 2000 - 01:10 pm
    Having read many of the thousand-plus postings with amazement and awe, I find my reaction to the work in question (which I've studied several times) can be boiled down to a few statements: 1) This poem was written for money. Coleridge and Wordsworth needed cash for a trip they wanted to take. All other considerations aside, they were quite commercial in their undertaking. 2) Coleridge's was a head crammed, jammed, and stuffed with literature in many languages as well as mythology and general information. It was stirred, strained, and simmered, and came out in his poem,though by no means in its original form or with its original significance. 3) Although it's a pleasant exercise to look up all the esoteric terms, fantasize about their meanings, and extrapolate to our personal interpretations, we have no way of knowing how or why Coleridge used them. 4) The spiritual world, the natural world, and the moral world figured largely in the Romantic period of English literature. Seeing this work in the context of the time, its historic events, and its cultural landmarks -- instead of applying 20th or 21st century labels -- strikes me as a productive approach, but I know that isn't true for everyone.


    October 6, 2000 - 01:59 pm
    Roslyn... Where have you been? What we really needed... a down to earth reaction/approach ... Thank you..

    Malryn (Mal)
    October 6, 2000 - 02:15 pm
    It has been stated several times in this forum by myself and others that The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was begun to earn an amount of five pounds. It also has been stated that Coleridge was extremely knowledgeable in many different areas and disciplines and that this knowledge is reflected in this work.

    If one is to comment about this poem within the context of the Romantic era alone with a "down to earth approach" and not bring in various aspects of the 20th or 21st century, then that lets me out. I am not a scholar of the Romantic era; do not have enough knowledge of that time, and can't eliminate comparisons to today; nor, I would venture, are a few others in this discussion who happen to be in the same intellectual "boat" that I am.

    It occurs to me that humanity has not changed very much at all, if any, since Coleridge's time, and that comments which reflect our time now are not irrelevant in that respect.

    Well, it's been fun and provided some mental stimulation I might not have had otherwise. Tides turn, and this one is floating me back to the place where I work doing things that are not too much different from what Coleridge and Wordsworth and thousands and thousands and thousands upon others have done through centuries and still do.


    October 6, 2000 - 03:01 pm
    Roslyn---Well, hello there! You stole my line. I was going to point out again--Ginny and others, such as Mal, have already pointed out that Coleridge initially wrote this poem for money, but somehow in the reading of it, we lose sight of the initial purpose. Faulkner wrote Sanctuary as a potboiler also, but he returned to it and polished it anyway. Because he was a writer. Writers seem to be that way. We have seen that Coleridge kept working on his story of the Mariner so it must have been worth more than just trip money to him.

    Mal---Come back!!! Hello? Are you there? You don't have to know boo about the Romantic period. Someone else can handle that. What you contribute with your psychological approach is also valuable since human beings have had a psychology long before Freud came along. As you wrote, humanity has not changed very much, if at all. Do come back after you work on your other work. If critics didn't have tools that came along after Coleridge, there sure wouldn't be as much written on him as there is.


    Malryn (Mal)
    October 6, 2000 - 04:12 pm
    Maryal, the other day I was wondering what I did before I found the Books and Literature discussions here. When I posted a link here to that story I wrote, I knew. I wrote.

    A year ago I wrote nearly a complete chapter of one of my books every single night. Now I spend more time thinking about other people's writing here in Books and Lit and reading and editing submittals to my magazines offline and publishing them than I spend thinking about my own writing.

    The Holiday Issue of Sonata is uploaded and waiting for the index-cover so the magazine can go on the web as a whole the third week of October. The next issue of the m.e.stubbs poetry journal is nearly done and ready to go on the web the third week of November. Now I'll have time to get back to serious writing and work on those two uncompleted novels of mine.

    Don't worry, though. You haven't seen the last of me yet!


    October 6, 2000 - 04:17 pm
    Mal - Probably not the right