Hear the rime of the ancient mariner
See his eye as he stops one of three
Mesmerizes one of the wedding guests
Stay here and listen to the nightmares of the sea

And the music plays on, as the bride passes by
Caught by his spell and the mariner tells his tale

Driven south to the land of the snow and ice
To a place where nobody's been
Through the snow fog flies on the albatross
Hailed in God's name, hoping good luck it brings

And the ship sails on, back to the North
Through the fog and ice and the albatross follows on

The mariner kills the bird of good omen
His shipmates cry against what he's done
But when the fog clears, they justify him
And make themselves a part of the crime

Sailing on and on and north across the sea
Sailing on and on and north 'til all is calm

The albatross begins with its vengeance
A terrible curse a thirst has begun
His shipmates blame bad luck on the mariner
About his neck, the dead bird is hung

And the curse goes on and on at sea
And the curse goes on and on for them and me

"Day after day, day after day
We stuck nor breath nor motion
As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean
Water, water everywhere and
All the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink"

There calls the mariner
There comes a ship over the line
But how can she sail with no wind in her sails and no tide

See, onward she comes
Onward she nears out of the sun
See, she has no crew
She has no life, wait but here's two

Death and she life in death
They throw their dice for the crew
She wins the mariner and he belongs to her now
Then, crew one by one
They drop down dead, two hundred men
She, she, life in death
She lets him live, her chosen one

"One after one by the star dogged moon
Too quick for groan or sigh
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang
And cursed me with his eye
Four times fifty living men
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump
They dropped down one by one"

The curse it lives on in their eyes
The mariner he wished he'd die
Along with the sea creatures
But they lived on, so did he

And by the light of the moon
He prays for their beauty not doom
With heart he blesses them
God's creatures all of them too

Then the spell starts to break
The albatross falls from his neck
Sinks down like lead into the sea
Then down in falls comes the rain

Hear the groans of the long dead seamen
See them stir and they start to rise
Bodies lifted by good spirits
None of them speak and they're lifeless in their eyes

And revenge is still sought, penance starts again
Cast into a trance and the nightmare carries on

Now the curse is finally lifted
And the mariner sights his home
Spirits go from the long dead bodies
Form their own light and the mariner's left alone

And then a boat came sailing towards him
It was a joy he could not believe
The pilot's boat, his son and the hermit
Penance of life will fall onto him

And the ship it sinks like lead into the sea
And the hermit shrives the mariner of his sins

The mariner's bound to tell of his story
To tell this tale wherever he goes
To teach God's word by his own example
That we must love all things that God made

And the wedding guest's a sad and wiser man
And the tale goes on and on and on

Lyrics submitted by numb

Rime of the Ancient Mariner Lyrics as written by Stephen Percy Harris

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Rime of the Ancient Mariner song meanings
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  • +8
    General Comment"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner relates the supernatural events experienced by a mariner on a long sea voyage. The mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony, and begins to recite his story. The wedding guest's reaction turns from bemusement and impatience to fascination as the mariner's story progresses.

    The mariner's tale begins with his ship leaving harbour. Despite initial good fortune, the ship is driven off course by a storm and, driven south, eventually reaches Antarctica. An albatross, traditionally a good omen, appears and leads them out of the threatening land of ice; even as the albatross is praised by the ship's crew, however, it is shot by the mariner with a crossbow, for reasons unknown. This crime arouses the wrath of supernatural spirits who then pursue the ship; the south wind which had initially led them from the land of ice now sends the ship into uncharted waters, where it is becalmed.

    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.
    Water, water, everywhere,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink.
    Tormented by thirst, the other members of the crew hang the albatross around the mariner's neck as a sign of his guilt. Eventually, in an eerie passage, the ship encounters a ghostly vessel. Onboard are DEATH (a skeleton) and the "Night-Mair" LIFE-IN-DEATH (a pale, deathly-fair woman), who are playing dice for the souls of the crew. With a roll of the dice, Death wins the lives of the crew members and Life-in-death the life of the mariner, a prize she considers more valuable. Her name is a clue as to the mariner's fate; he will endure a fate worse than death as punishment for his killing of the albatross. One by one all two hundred crew members die, but the Mariner lives on, seeing for seven days and nights the curse in the eyes of the crew's corpses, whose last expressions remain upon their faces. Eventually, the Mariner's curse is lifted when he sees sea creatures swimming in the water. Despite his cursing them as "slimy things" earlier in the poem, he suddenly sees their true beauty and blesses them; suddenly, as he manages to pray, the albatross falls from his neck and his guilt is partially expiated. The bodies of the crew, possessed by good spirits, rise again and steer the ship back home, where it sinks in a whirlpool, leaving only the Mariner behind. In penance for his deed, the Mariner is forced to wander the earth and tell his story, and teach a lesson to those he meets:

    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all. "

    JeffKaos71on February 28, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General Commentabsolutly amazing

    just great..i got the powerslave album a while ago and when you sit in the dark and listen to this song...to hear the boat creaking in the middle of the song..so amazing...it feels as if your actually there..anybody who hasnt heard this song is missing out!

    cursed4everon January 18, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentBased on the poem of the same title by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
    han2on February 22, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is easily one of the best Maiden songs and the live version is in the ranking for my favourite song ever. My favorite bit has to be Bruce's hideous cackling after "then down in falls comes the raiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin" which leads into the blistering guitar solos from three guitars. An absolutely legendary song.
    chimpie chompieon June 21, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCool song, the meaning is totally literal. Its basically a metal adaptation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, which is a really cool poem.
    Solinuson May 29, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentToday's music is nowhere near like this. It's changed from musical masterpieces like Maiden, Led Zepplin and Def Lepard to the modern day sickos (that most teen girls like and love to listen to) like Kesha, Rianah and Katy Perry. I'm actually going to go Weird Al their songs, and still listen to classic 80's rock.
    topeeornoton March 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would never have thought that a 13/14 min song could be so good, until I heard this fantastic song by the greatest band of all time.
    widgetoneon June 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a super awesome one. It's well worth the read especially if you really like this song. The poem is a great at sea adventure story and it has a lotta got literary devices and meanings such as punishment, justice, and redemption and the crap that the mariner go through after the albatross is killed and the gets revenge.

    A great song by a dope band. Go Iron Maiden.
    River Wolfon October 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I heard this song it was captivating. It IS great. I was frightend when it went past 10 minutes. It's the next longest song I've heard next to that Garden of Vida son by Iron Butterfly. But 13 minutes good God!
    1/2 step downon January 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGREAT, GREAT!!!
    baronesa rojaon June 30, 2005   Link

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