Iron Maiden: The New Romantics

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.

-Nancy Sanchez



5 thoughts on “Iron Maiden: The New Romantics

  1. I like how you pointed out that Iron Maiden differs from the classical, snobby poetry that Wordsworth and Coleridge wanted to stay away from. I agree that Coleridge’s poem is not that accessible to the common man. It was really helpful to have the comparison. I found it that you compared Iron Maiden’s song to telling folklore. Would that make it folk metal? Maybe discuss more of the tone and mood the song creates.


  2. I found it interesting the way you say both the song and the poem are forms of romantic poetry but are simply portrayed to give different experiences. I also like the way you actually show the different experiences by saying we become a part of the story when reading the poem. While in listening to Iron Maiden there is a sense of oral folklore. Expanding on how telling the story in these two ways affects the audience could be interesting to further explore.
    -Natalia Alvarado


  3. There is definitely a good point to be made here, regarding how romantics would wish to stay away from a certain “classy” literature to that of more emotion. I agree with your statements, particularly that of “Iron Maiden’s version, at least to me, is much truer to the statement of romantic poems…being universal for everyone”. Romanticism must evolve to evoke the same processes as that of the past, now, and this is reflected in your argument. I would only suggest a further dive into the relationship of changing a genre over time, but your post was great.


  4. I think it’s worth noting what you just said about how the song is actually more immersI’ve than the poem. Some might argue otherwise but you discuss the instruments as being an element of this romanticism despite them being unnatural. I would to see more interrogation of how the instruments actually fulfill this though, as it can be argued against you. This is an interesting blog, would be cool to see it expanded upon.


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