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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I. (IV.54-55)

Oh, poor Mariner: no one takes pity on you. Maybe you should just admit you were wrong! Sorry. We just get so frustrated with him. The poem implicitly compares him with one of the slimy creatures and sea snakes wriggling around. You can now add "extreme solitude" to the list of things he suffers. By the way, do the sea-snakes remind you of the story of Adam and Eve?

Quote #5

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns. (VII.133-134)

The Mariner's sin was such that he can never fully atone for it. As the two voices suggest earlier in the poem, he must perform the ritual of penitence every so often, probably for the rest of his life. For him, this ritual involves telling the story to other troubled souls like himself. His desire to tell the story is a physical pain, not just a mental one.

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