The Mariner and the Albatross



In these words, in a letter to Wordsworth dated 30 January 1801, Charles Lamb spoke of Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner‘. Some readers continue to echo Mrs Barbauld’s complaints that the poem is improbable and has an inadequate or distasteful moral. But these are mental reservations: poetry of the order of ‘The Ancient Mariner’ does not work its magic upon the mind alone; and mental afterthoughts are of little use in explaining, least of all in explaining away, the profound spiritual and emotional effect of this poem. For every sympathetic reader since Lamb has been similarly possessed and haunted by ‘The Ancient Mariner’.


Personal Significance Symbolical Language Notebook Entry Ancient Mariner Arabian Night 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1985

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