The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Section.Stanza)
He holds him with his glittering eye –
The wedding-guest stood still,
And listens like a three-years' child:
The mariner hath his will. (I.4)
One moment, the Wedding Guest is calling the old man a loon and trying to squirm free. The next moment he's listening like a grade-school kid at story time. What gives? Clearly the Mariner has some kind of unusual and magnetic power, symbolized by his bright, "glittering" eyes.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow. (II.31-32)
Weird stuff starts to happen after the boat has been sitting idly on the water for a while. The water is filled with colors that witches might produce in their potions, and the crew members start dreaming about a supernatural "spirit" that lives deep under the ocean but which now haunts their ship. There are quite a few different supernatural elements to keep track of in this poem.
Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?
Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
The arrival of Death and Life-in-Death is a symbolic event described as a supernatural one. A ship would not normally travel with tattered sails and a skeleton-like hull, but we're not in "normal" territory, either. How does the Mariner identify Death and his mate so quickly?