The Growth of a Poet’s Mind

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

Lines 21–24

Rick WilcoxToday we begin the first of two parts into which Malcolm Guite’s book Mariner is divided.  The Prelude examines the foreground of  Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s  life which both informed and set the context for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

This week we will read Chapter 1 and begin to see remarkable parallels in the Ancient Mariner’s journey with Coleridge’s own.  In the poem, as the ship embarks, she sails beyond the view of the kirk, the hill and the lighthouse top.

Malcolm Guite explains:

“The kirk” may stand not only for the church itself, but also for the formative influence of its vicar, Coleridge’s father, and for Coleridge’s own first reading of the Bible and the Prayer Book, reading which never deserted him, and in the end deeply renewed him. “The hill” may stand for his rich early experiences of nature, not only in climbing the hills of his Devon childhood but, more importantly, following the streams he loved uphill toward their source. Finally, “the lighthouse top” may stand for the light of reason, the beginnings of his education, and his early and lifelong delight in philosophy.

Has your life’s journey been marked by departures from significant shaping aspects of your youth?  How so?

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.

Published by

Rick Wilcox

Editor in Chief | Literary Life