The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Analyze The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as a narrative ballad with a message. (How has Coleridge used the various features of a ballad in this poem?)

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In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" Coleridge draws on both the typical style and content of the English ballad to create an appropriate and unique atmosphere for the timeless message he imparts.

One of the first things a reader notices is Coleridge's use of words that had become archaic long before his own time, such as "eftsoons," and the unusual spellings and capitalizations, in the "Argument" ("Ancyent Marinere," for example) and in the poem itself. The impression is one of a poem that is, like the Mariner himself, "ancient." It's instructive to compare the metrical form with that of an actual folk ballad, such as "True Thomas." Coleridge uses the same rhyme scheme, A-B-C-B, with quatrains in iambic tetrameter. In both, the effect is what we would expect if someone were telling us a story, without artifice. In spite of the archaic usages, Coleridge's language is simple and appears deliberately childlike at times, with repetitions and statements of obvious things poets of his time...

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