Although many did not consider Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem as a romantic poem, I beg to differ. For Coleridge, the Romantics should be breaking away from classical and elaborate styles, such as that of Pope’s. Romantic poetry should be accessible to the common man, whether or not he achieved this is a different story. It should provoke a powerful feeling of human emotion and I feel that Iron Maiden stays true to that idea more than Coleridge actually does. Iron Maiden has evolved and become representative of Romantic poetry in the 20-21st century.
In the first stanza Iron Maiden phrases it as “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” while Coleridge writes “It is an ancyent Marinere,/ And he stoppeth one of three:/ “By they long grey beard and thy glittering eye/ Now wherefore stoppest me” (Coleridge 51). They both are discussing the same thing, but take different approaches. In using a quote to tell the reader what the mariner says, Coleridge evokes the presence of the mariner that creates a different experience through out the poem. We become a part of the story because it is as if he is speaking to us directly. While Iron Maiden does not quote the mariner, but chooses to just tell us what he’s doing and what is going on. In doing this, Iron Maiden create the sense of oral folklore, as if we were sitting down around a campfire hearing an old sailor tells us the stories told while out at sea. They both portray the experience differently, but they both give us a rich and powerful experience nonetheless.
Iron Maiden’s version, at least to me, is much truer to the statement of romantic poems being universal for everyone. Anyone can understand and relate, which can explain their popularity. They’re use of musical instruments even enhance the experience and human emotion. I don’t need to count the rhyme schemes or anything, I just have to listen. Through the act of listening Iron Maiden take us on a different voyage of human emotions that are stimulated by sound and touch. I know it’s cliche but you feel the music too, you feel your foot shaking, for fingers hitting the desk and your focus on the experience more than anything else, which can’t be replicated by just reading the poem.