The Journey To Joy

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lines 506-7

Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

In Chapter Eleven of Mariner, we find considerable treatment of joy, which Coleridge came to identify “as an essential element of the shaping spirit of imagination and as the gift we ourselves bring to nature…”  Though the mariner had journeyed though consequential experiences that seemed eternally bereft of joy, he came to see them not as everlasting torments, but rather the purification process of a journey to holiness.

As Malcolm Guite writes:

The phrase “Dear Lord in Heaven” does not fall lightly here; indeed, as the mariner returns home, the references to Christ, his cross, and resurrection increase in frequency and meaning. Here there is a reference once more to John, Coleridge’s favorite Gospel, to the promise: “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” ( John 16:22). That particular verse in John could well stand as an epigraph to the whole of The Ancient Mariner.

Have you experienced joy after a difficult experience?






Rick Wilcox is Editor in Chief


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Rick Wilcox

Editor in Chief | Literary Life