''The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'' by Creator/SamuelTaylorColeridge is probably one of the [[SmallReferencePools most-referenced]] pieces of [[{{Romanticism}} Romantic]] poetry. Ever heard "''Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink''"? Yup, it's from here (although [[BeamMeUpScotty in the original text it's ''nor any drop to drink'']]). It is a relatively long NarrativePoem about a disaster-prone ship, enclosed in a FramingDevice where the sailor who cursed it is describing his travels to a guest at a wedding. It's notable for its religious and naturalistic themes and for having a lot in common with Gothic literature. The poem is divided into 7 sections, each dealing with a different part of the Mariner's journey.

Creator/GustaveDore illustrated it in a beautiful and unforgettable way. Music/IronMaiden turned it into a [[EpicRocking 14-minute]] FilkSong.

Borrows elements from Myth/NauticalFolklore. Has its own [[ReferencedBy/TheRimeOfTheAncientMariner Referenced By]] page.


* AesopCollateralDamage: The Mariner learning to value life took the death of his entire crew.
* AfterlifeExpress: A soul ship.
* TheAnnotatedEdition: The poem was reprinted with a "gloss" that explains several things.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Coleridge wanted to evoke the feeling of an older age of epic poetry.
* TheAtoner: The Mariner, who wanders the world repeating his story to others as penance for his crime of shooting the albatross.
* AudienceSurrogate: The Wedding-Guest is this. Essentially a blank slate who reacts to the Mariner's tale in much the same way as the reader.
* ChessWithDeath: Actually, dice with death: Death and Life-In-Death gamble with dice, and Death wins the crew, while Life-In-Death wins the Mariner, and gives him a FateWorseThanDeath.
* CommonMeter: Throughout. If you want to make sure you can never take the poem seriously again, try singing it to "Yankee Doodle". Or the theme from ''Series/GilligansIsland''.
* DemBones: DEATH is a skeleton.
* DidYouDie: After the Mariner describes how everyone on his ship died, the Wedding-Guest interrupts the story with "I fear thee, ancient Mariner!" and has to be reassured that the Mariner did not die.
* FateWorseThanDeath: The Mariner gets one of these after [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Death]] loses him to Life-In-Death in a dice game.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: The events of the poem occur because the Mariner kills an albatross. Then again, some critics argue that the albatross is representative of Jesus. Also, Myth/NauticalFolklore holds albatrosses to be good omens (perhaps as they often show land is near) and in killing one it was believed you bring on bad luck and misfortune.
* FootnoteFever: In the second edition, which is the one most commonly reprinted, the poem is accompanied by extensive marginal glosses. These are sometimes referred to as "built-in Cliff's Notes".
* FlyingDutchman: The Mariner.
* FramingDevice: The Mariner telling his story to [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Wedding-Guest]].
* GhostShip: The ship, which manages to sail without wind and only two passengers (Death and Life-in-Death).
* GaiasRevenge: As filtered through the superstitions of sailors.
* TheGrimReaper: He fails to collect the Mariner's soul, so it instead goes to [[FateWorseThanDeath Life-In-Death]]
* HeatWave: The ship gets stuck in the windless, tropical and hot doldrums. There is a drought along with the heat.
* {{Hypocrite}}s: The Mariner's crew start justifying his killing of the albatross; when things start to turn sour, they hang its carcass from his neck. Death promptly shows them the error in their ways.
* HopeSpot: "I bit my arm, I sucked the blood, And cried, A sail! a sail!"
* {{Irony}}: The "Water, water, everywhere" verse is a famous example of situational irony.
* MysteriousAntarctica: The whole thing ''literally'' goes south because the Mariner's ship wound up hitting Antarctica. And then death's ship appears...
* NamelessNarrative: No one has a name, unless you count [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Death and Life-In-Death]].
* NarrativePoem
* OceanMadness: The entire poem is a description of this.
* ThePenance: The Mariner wears the dead albatross around his neck and is compelled to tell his story in order to atone for killing it.
* RamblingOldManMonologue: The entire poem apart from the framing device.
* RedemptionInTheRain: The day after the Mariner's curse is lifted, a tremendous rainstorm appears, and he stands in it, gulping down the water, so happy he believes he died and is in paradise.
* RuleOfThree: "There is an Ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth one of three..."
* SignatureLine: "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink."
* SoleSurvivor: The Mariner is the only member of his crew to survive.
* SpaceWhaleAesop: "Be compassionate towards all creatures and don't go around murdering innocent seabirds, or else you'll wind up stranded in the middle of the ocean, all your friends will die, their corpses will torment you, and when you eventually make it to land you'll be forced to constantly wander the world telling your story instead of being able to live a normal life."\\
Or as put by Music/BruceDickinson:
-->"[[SpoofAesop And the moral of this story is 'this is what not to do if a bird shits on you']]"
* TooGoodToBeTrue and AGlitchInTheMatrix: The Mariner points out that there's something wrong with the way the unfamiliar ship is moving towards them, considering there's no wind, no tide and it's coming way too fast.
* TheUndead: Upon paying penance for his crime, the crew rise from the dead and sail the Mariner's ship to land. It is also insinuated that the Mariner has been rendered either undead or incapable of dying in order to tell his tale to as many as he can.
* UngratefulBastard: The Mariner shoots the Albatross for completely unexplained reasons, despite the fact that the bird actually just led them out of the glacial maze.