In part one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the mariner kills the harmless albatross. (Background: Video of “Ersjdamoo” Made (Available on YouTube), Ersjdamoo’s Blog, May 22, 2015.)
Part two picks up from there and shows the immediate after-effect of the mariner’s deed. The rest of the crew is ambiguous: at first they disapprove of what the mariner has done, then they approve. This latter attitude justifies, in the poem, the fatal end of the crew. After their fickle betrayal of the albatross, the ship is becalmed, and the sailors suffer horrible thirst.
The language used by Coleridge is of the olden type and it is sometimes difficult to get your tongue around the words. Yet the Middle English sometimes used is of immense interest, to me at least. The mariner had “eftsoons” dropped his hand in part one, for example. I came across an “Ancient Mariner” video done by some kids which absolutely murders the classic language of the poem. On the other hand, one has to begin somewhere: perhaps later these youngsters will realize how deep of a poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is. (See their video clip, uploaded to YouTube, hopefully embedded below.)
Professional readings of the Coleridge poem are currently available on YouTube, performed by Richard Burton in one, and by Orson Welles in another. My own recital is not professional and furthermore I am hampered by sound quality issues. The external microphone I ordered arrived and promptly did not work. I turned up the volume level on my computer’s internal microphone, which helped somewhat. However I am having to emphasize my own volume and enunciation instead of giving subtleties to my vocal expression.
A bygone metaphor appears in part two of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
“The furrow followed free” alludes to the ship cutting through the water like a plow cutting through soil. Notice also the alliteration in this line.
Perhaps you too have a favorite poem which you might try giving a reading of for a YouTube audience. It’s a little scary: Public speaking is among the top five of people’s fears. Don’t worry that you are not a professional like Richard Burton or Orson Welles. Just have your heart in what you say.