The Rime of Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is a accurate interpretation and display of romanticism of poetry. The lyric speaker Bruce Dickinson is at least one hundred years younger than the time that the poem was published which makes greater difficulty of interpretation of the poem increase.  However, the talented band was able to match the imagery of the poem in their song. For example, Iron Maiden’s lyrics “Through the snow fog flies on the albatross, Hailed in God’s name, hoping good luck it brings.” This image is identical to Coleridge’s “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.” The imagery described in both works are clearly similar. Furthermore, the poetic tone of Iron Maiden’s interpretation of the poem is quite different. The head banging energy of the loud instruments doesn’t match the creepy poetic tone of Coleridge’s poem.

Although, the figurative language in Iron Maiden’s song and Coleridge’s poem is not identical they frequently used. Coleridge’s language “as who pursued with yell and blow, still treads the shadow of his foe” along with Iron Maiden’s language “And the ship sinks like lead into the sea” Moreover, the rhythmic beat of the Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballad is similar to Iron Maiden’s version of a Lyrical Ballad. The word lyrical associates the poem to the practice of singing along with the translation of the word ballad with an oral mode of storytelling. The rhythmic beats of each lyrical ballad is constructed in a poetic format. “The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, Merrily did we drop, Below the kirk, below the hill, Below the lighthouse top.” Here Coleridge’s rhythmic beat rhymes every other lines ending word.  “Now the curse is finally lifted And the mariner sights his home, spirits go from he long dead bodies, Form their own light and the mariner’s left alone.” In this Iron Maiden lyric they create a similar rhythmic beat by using the same poetic format as Coleridge. Overall, Iron Maiden version of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner turned out to be a successfully articulated interpretation.

-Dario Lomeli


2 thoughts on “The Rime of Iron Maiden

  1. Dario, you have great textual evidence to support your thesis that the two art forms are similar in the images that they produce. However, how do these images relate to your interpretation of romanticism. Be sure to carefully read the prompt we would not want this excellent comparison go to waste with out tying it to the topic at hand. – Kamani Morrow


  2. The first paragraph talk about the song being able to capture the same images as the poem, and I liked how you mention there was a shift in tone through this change language. It’s amazing that by changing the structure of the lines and some of the words, it has a completely different effect. I think what you were reacting to that made you see Iron Maiden as a successfully articulated interpretation was through the structure of the language. I’d like to ask if your personal experience of reading the poem and listening to the song were similar and did they provoke similar emotions?


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