The Glorious Sun

The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lines 97-8

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious Sun uprist


The sun has been associated symbolically with God throughout the history of literature and Coleridge utilized the analogy frequently.  The poem describes it as projecting both favor and disfavor on the ship and crew in accordance with the conduct of their lives. Importantly, the lines of human accountability go beyond action to the motives of the heart.

As Malcolm Guite writes in Mariner, Chapter Seven:

Coleridge, like his mariner, would lose this sacramental vision and then, like his mariner, eventually recover it. Many years later, when he had recovered from the agonies of his middle years, Coleridge met William Blake and they recognized one another’s visions, for Blake had written:

“What it will be Question’d, ‘when the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea?’ O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

How can the motives behind our actions affect the physical circumstances of our lives?

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Rick Wilcox is Editor in Chief