"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is a narrative poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, also known as S. Coleridge lived from 1772 until 1834. He was the son of a clergyman, and not part of a wealthy family. He met Wordsworth at Cambridge University, where the two gentlemen became best friends. Coleridge was a slender man who caught tuberculosis. The medicine they used to treat tuberculosis is this time was "laudanum," which is morphine. Coleridge became addicted to laudanum and fought for his health his entire life. A narrative poem is a poem that tells a story. This poem includes a "frame story," which tells many stories in a larger picture. The frame of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is a young man on the way to a wedding reception.
In Part I of the poem, the wedding guest is stopped by a creepy old man and the man insists on telling him about his journey sailing at Cape Horn. The old man has the wedding guest in a hypnotic trance. The young man wishes to go to the reception, but cannot pry himself away from this man. The mariner begins his tale. The wedding guest, with no hopes of escaping, sits on a rock and listens like a "three years' child." The mariner tells the wedding guest about happily leaving England and sailing out to sea. The wedding guest begins to think about how long this story is going to be, and "beat his breast," but something in the mariner's eyes would not let him leave. The mariner continues on with his story. When the ship neared the equator, a storm came and drove them into the arctic. There is not another living creature in sight. Everybody in the boat thinks that they don't have a chance of survival, until a particularly friendly albatross flies by their ship. The men fed the bird, and eventually the ice of the Arctic melted enough for their ship to sail through. The albatross followed the boat and brought good fortune to the sailors.