The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Sailors are the nameless crewmembers that accompany the Mariner on his journey. The sailors are a strange case in the poem; they do not commit any sin as terrible as that of the Mariner’s shooting of the albatross, and yet they seem to be punished more horribly. The sailors in fact consider the albatross to be a good omen, and they curse the Mariner at first after he kills it. However, when in the moments after the death of the albatross dies, the wind does not abate and the fog lifts, the crew changes its mind, and says the Mariner was right to kill it. It may be that the crew’s fatal punishment arises from this change of mind, its lack of faith in its earlier (apparently correct) assessment of the albatross, or just in the weakness of its condemnation of the narrator. Or perhaps the sailors are just collateral damage in the Mariner’s own punishment. Regardless, as the ship becomes becalmed after the death of the albatross, they first become utterly dehydrated, and then fall dead when Death wins their souls in his gambling game with Life-In-Death. Later, angels eerily reanimate the Sailors, and their corpses aid in the Mariner’s penance. But unlike the Mariner, the sailors are not given life or absolution at the end of the tale, and when the Mariner hears the sailors’ souls leaving their bodies upon their deaths, it’s not at all clear where those souls are going.

Sailors Quotes in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The The Rime of the Ancient Mariner quotes below are all either spoken by Sailors or refer to Sailors. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 0.
Part I Quotes

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors
Related Symbols: The Albatross
Page Number: 61-70
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part II Quotes

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors
Related Symbols: The Albatross, Eyes
Page Number: 139-143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part III Quotes

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors, Death, Life-in-Death
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 157-161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors, Death, Life-in-Death
Related Symbols: Eyes, The Sun and Moon
Page Number: 212-219
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui offici

Part IV Quotes

An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors, Life-in-Death
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 257-262
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupi

Part VI Quotes

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart –
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Sailors, The Lonesome Spirit from the South Pole
Related Symbols: Eyes, The Sun and Moon
Page Number: 492-499
Explanation and Analysis:

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Sailors Character Timeline in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The timeline below shows where the character Sailors appears in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part I
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
...great storm, which pushed the ship towards the South Pole. There he and the other Sailors are surrounded by ice, mist, and snow. There is a complete lack of life, but... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...They feed the bird, which follows them and visits to eat and play, and the Sailors all rejoice at the newly blowing wind (which they attribute to the bird) that allows... (full context)
Part II
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
...he shot the Albatross, the ship began sailing northward. While the winds still blow, the Sailors feel the absence of the bird, and they cry out against the Mariner for his... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...calm. Below a “hot and copper sky” and “the bloody Sun,” the Mariner and the Sailors become stranded in the ocean without water. Ironically, they are surrounded by water that they... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
So thirsty that they cannot speak, the Sailors all give the Mariner evil looks, seeking to “throw the whole guilt” on him for... (full context)
Part III
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
The Mariner and the Sailors spend a long “weary time” stuck in the state of thirst on the calm sea.... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
The Sailors at first take great joy in the Mariner’s announcement that another ship is approaching, since... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...sun sets and the moon rises. In the moonlight, one by one each of the Sailors turns to curse the Mariner with their eyes. Then one by one, all two hundred... (full context)
Part IV
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
At hearing that all the Sailors died, the Wedding Guest interrupts the story, afraid that the Mariner, too, perished that day... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...the slimy sea creatures around him, believing it unfair that they should live while the Sailors are dead. In his anguish he looks to heaven, but finds himself unable to pray. (full context)
Part V
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
...does not reach the ship, which instead is subject to a supernatural phenomenon. The dead Sailors groan, rise up, and, without speaking or moving their eyes, begin working on the ship.... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
...ended and the sun rose, the angels too rose out of the bodies of the Sailors and flew around, singing like birds and playing in a heavenly choir. When the song... (full context)
Part VI
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
Upon their departure, the Mariner wakes under the moonlit sky beside the dead Sailors. For a moment, his penance and the dead-eyed curse returns, and the Mariner becomes unable... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...of his home bay, the Mariner sees the angels leaving the souls of the dead Sailors for good. Rather than singing, he notes that the angels simply wave and offer a... (full context)
Part VII
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
...men view the skeletal ship much in the same way that the Mariner and the Sailors first viewed the ship of Death and Life-in-Death. Undeterred, the small boat continues to approach. (full context)