The Rime of the Ancient Mariner "He Prayeth Best, Who Loveth Best"
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner book cover
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"He Prayeth Best, Who Loveth Best"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Concluding his narrative, the Ancient Mariner reminds his listener, a wedding guest, of how completely desolate and alienated his ordeal had made him feel: "O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been/ Alone on a wide, wide sea:/ So lonely 'twas, that God himself/ Scarce seemèd there to be." But now the mariner has returned to a sense of unity in God's world and knows that it is necessary to love all of God's creatures. In the famous closing lines he draws the moral from his experiences, and the moral has its effect on the wedding guest:

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.