By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Coleridge's celebrated poem was written at the suggestion of William Wordsworth in the early days of their friendship, and published for the first time in 1798. It is the story of a nightmare voyage to the South Pole told by the sole survivor, the bright-eyed ancient mariner whose wanton killing of an albatross, a bird of good omen, brought misfortune on the ship and all its crew. The poem is brilliantly illustrated by Mervyn Peake.
His powerful, arresting images perfectly express the qualities of the text, its gothic atmosphere and supernatural terrors, ultimately softened by pity and the hope of redemption.
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