"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a long narrative poem, framed as a story told by the "ancient mariner" of the title to an anonymous wedding guest. It is written in imitation of the form of a traditional ballad and consists of quatrains rhyme abcb with lines of alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. The story occurs in a present in which the seaman meets the wedding guest after returning from the voyage; the mariner's embedded narrative is presented in chronological order.
The mariner's tale begins with the ship sailing southwards, somewhere south of the equator; whether it was rounding the Horn of Africa, sailing around Tierra del Fuego, or near Australia is not specified. The ship is blown south towards Antarctica. The landscape is describes as empty of life and filled with vast sheets of ice and blowing snowing.