The End Of The Beginning

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 WilcoxThis week we read Chapter One and began to see remarkable parallels in the Ancient Mariner’s journey with Coleridge’s own.  In the poem, as the chew embarks, they sail beyond the view of the kirk, the hill, and the lighthouse top.

Coleridge’s childhood was like all others in one respect; it informed and shaped the man he was to become.  Growing older is inevitable but growing up is not.  The phenomenon of delayed adolescence is perhaps a modern one, but even in Coleridge’s day, the end of sequestered childhood at nine years of age would have been difficult for even the hardiest souls.  Trial was Samuel’s tutor.

Malcolm Guite wrote:

We have a rich source for understanding Coleridge’s childhood experience in the poet’s own writings. In his notebooks and letters and in his poetry itself he reached back to understand the forces that had shaped him for good and ill, and wrote about them with extraordinary intensity. Indeed, he would later define a poet as a person who retained a child’s capacity for intense vision and wonder: “In the Poet was comprehended the man who carries the feelings of Childhood onto the powers of Manhood, who with a soul unsubdued, unshackled by custom, can contemplate all things with the freshness, with the wonder of a child.”

What stood out most for you in Chapter One?

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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