And all the boards did shrink. Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink." These famous lines, like the opening lines of Coleridge's Kubla Khan, are often quoted, but I sometimes wonder if the people who quote them have read this wonderful poem. The poem is full of mystery and horror, from the Mariner stopping the wedding guest, to the incident w/ the albatros, to the gambling of Death and Death-In-Life... I could go on and on. The language is so rich, and the poet's comments make the content more clear for anyone who becomes confused. The illustrations of this edition are beautiful and definately complement the text. This is a haunting poem that you will want to read again and again. If you have not read it before, do yourself a favor and find a copy.
I have to disagree with the bad rap this poem often gets. Sure, Coleridge's 4-3-4-3 meter is simple and easily imitable, but that does not change the fact that he used the meter masterfully, that his verse is beautiful and his imagery splendid (even without the woodcuts). The story is fairly simple, though its effect is somewhat chilling. Yes, I've even heard the Mariner compared to Popeye with a dead bird around his neck. But all joking aside, this is a beautiful poem.
On the surface, this may just seem to be a simple poem by an English Romantic. But there is so much more. There is a lesson to be learned, one of respect for God's creatures and for all of creation. This is certainly a Romantic point of view, and Coleridge puts it forth very nicely in this poem.
This is a great beginning poem for novices of poetry, for beginners and for people who dislike poetry if it doesn't rhyme and have a definite rhythm. This is definitely Coleridge's best poem, one that everyone should be familiar with. This version with the woodcuts makes for a very attractive package--the illustrations add nicely to the poems overall effect.