“How rich the wave, in front, imprest, with evening-twilight’s summer hues, while, facing thus the crimson west.” One can already imagine different images with these few lines. In “Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at evening,” we get a decent description of the setting. Somewhere near an ocean, lake, or pond on an early summer morning. The sun is beaming but barely enough to peek through whatever crack or corner it can find. A “crimson west” indicates there is not only colour in the sky but passion as well. What other colour is more passionate than a specific red hue that inclines to purple.
In Théodore Gericault’s “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct” (1818), we can clearly see an almost miraculous breathtaking image. Different structures built upon mountains and hills near an area of water. It has a balance of lively energetic nature views that contrast with a specific gloomy undertone in certain areas of the painting. On the left, there are trees with bountiful amounts of leaves and green that are flaunted by the bright exposure of the sunrise while on the bottom right, there is a significantly smaller tree with few branches almost hidden in the murky shadows. This painting helps viewers and readers see the intentions of Romantic poetry such as the one mentioned above.
“Such views the youthful bard allure, but, heedless of the following gloom, he deems their colours shall endure ‘till peace go with him to the tomb.” This alludes to a sight so beautiful and remarkable, how shame it is that some will be distracted by outside forces to take in such a sight. The painting itself is quite stunning, no question about it, but how does it accomplish such triumph? The realistic features in the painting such as trees and hills help viewers comprehend a sight that can be true. The colours and hues are bright and dense which leaves a warm sensation across admirers because of the genuine choice of paint and tint.
Overall, the image is honest and pure. It’s a portrait of a calm area and the artist’s choices of colours and objects to be included in the painting help reveal Romantic themes such as loving nature and having a profound feeling or awareness of life.
By: Katherine Hernandez
The third painting, titled The Monk by the Sea, 1809, by Caspar David Friedrich, is one of the most famous paintings that has emerged from the Romantic period. This artwork represents many of the themes that are expressed during this period such as the portrayal of emotions, beauty in nature and the things that are beautifully unexplainable. One of the poems that resonate with the essence of this painting, in particular, is the poem Old Man Travelling by William Wordsworth. In the poem, the reader is invited to a world full of imagery that surrounds the old man, much like in the painting what engulfs the man is nature, rather than the man trying to make his peace in nature. One of the most interesting things about the painting I the fact that many people have different interpretations to it, just like poetry. Now, it is true that art is very subjective by nature, however there seems to be a distinction onto whether the man that is the painting is experiencing existentialism in the worst way possible or if the vastness of the world is what makes the painting so ambiguous and dark in the best way possible, just like in the poem.
In the poem, “[the] man does not move with pain but moves with thought.” Really emphasizes the feeling of ease that is dominating in the man’s demeanor. It shows cases ow despite his old age the sage wisdom that he carries from experiences is what keeps him going and what keeps his old heart at bay. This is also shown the poem explains how, “he is by nature led, to peace so perfect, that the young behold, with envy what the old man hardly feels.” This line allows us as readers to imagine the eased numbness that he carries with him in old age. By saying that nature is within him and that it is something to be envied it shows how the youth has yet a lot to live for and understand.
The most important stanzas in the poem however, I believe are the last ones in which the tone of the poem seems to change by the demeanor of the old man does not. It is here specifically where there is significant overlap when it comes to the terms of the painting. When the old man explains that his journey has led him to, “[his] son [who] is dying in an hospital.” He does not seem to quiver or show uneasiness at the idea of his son dying, which then creates the all circle of how the man understands that death is too a part of life, and much like the painting there is a sort of calmness in the overall pictures regardless of the fact that there are dark colors and eerier shadows, there is still some semblance of light that peaks through the shadows. There is a vast sea of the unknown that is at the full display to us and while to some of us, it might be an uneasy thing to grasp to others the grand vastness of it all brings peace through wisdom.
In the poem “The Mad Mother,” an isolated and deranged woman speaks to her newborn child after being abandoned by a “poor…wretched made” man “that’s gone and far away”(117). Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “The Monk by the Sea” depicts this premise well as the single figure amidst a vast ocean captures the essence of the woman’s newfound loneliness having traveled “far over the main” herself after separating with the baby’s father (114). Yet the painting’s darker color palette, such as the blackened sea and cloudy sky, conveys uneasiness and discomfort, just like the woman’s morbid demands for her baby to “suck, little babe, oh suck again” and cool her blood and brain, as if the baby serves to pleasure her and satiate her sexual desires since her husband left her and “cares not for my breast” (115;116). Though their new lives together have limitless potential as the open sea depicts, until the waters clear up, their relationship will always be one reminiscent of hatred and manipulation of the past instead of one that moves on in search for a hopeful future, as they only have each other to face “the sea-rock’s edge” and “leaping torrents when they howl” (116). The woman is merely one of many tormented and deserted mothers left with the untimely burden of raising a child on her own, a burden that can feel like an empty, directionless ocean.
Iron Maiden’s rock-and-role rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner keeps this piece of work as classic romantic poetry by keeping the original words and feeling enveloped into it. The song holds a lot of imagery, as well as metaphors to help the listener truly imagine the scene set by Coleridge’s poem.
While Iron Maiden had made the poem into a much more rough-sounding version of the original, it still kept the meaning as a romantic poem, focusing on the hardships of people’s lives instead of the happiness in them. The rock-and-roll version seemed to accentuate this pain that humans go through instead of dull it, as can be seen in the line “The many men, so beautiful! And they all dead did lie.”
Some students and other listeners may disagree that Iron Maiden’s version of Coleridge’s song keeps the poem as a piece of romantic poetry based on the tone that it sets; however, I believe that the deep vibe pulls listeners into this 13-minute song and helps them to imagine the poem in a stronger light.
Tania De Lira-Miranda
Romanticism, a very popular genre of both literature and art, is not what the name might suggest. The name seems to imply that the genre is about love and romance between characters and/or people. What the genre is really about is either one of two things. The first is about nature and how it should be revered due to its qualities and the second is about expressed emotion. So based on these two explanations about Romanticism, I would say that Iron Maiden’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is like Romantic poetry.
The Iron Maiden song can be considered a homage to the poem as it is basically a musical version of the poem. Using direct lines from the poem, the song has many instances of the rhythmic beat, and imagery. The poem has almost a sad and dark atmosphere surrounding it just like the story of the Mariner and the song follows this with its beat. In the beginning, the song almost has an upbeat but this changes as the beat and tempo become faster when the crew starts dying and then the tempo slows down like it’s leading up to the upbeat again when the song is about to end and when the plot talks about the wedding guest again. Another thing that makes the song be like Romantic poetry is the imagery it discusses. Since the song uses either uses direct quotes at times or references events that happened in the poem, the imagery the poem has is translated nicely to the song. An example of this would be “The naked hulk alongside came, / And the twain were casting dice; / ‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’ / Quoth she, and whistles thrice” from the poem and “Death and she life in death / They throw their dice for the crew / She wins the mariner and he belongs to her now” from the song. Though using different words, Iron Maiden still has the same image behind these lyrics: Death won the lives of the Mariner’s crew members while Life-In-Death won the life of the Mariner and this is an important part of the poem as this is when the Mariner learns a lesson. By keeping the same images Samuel Taylor Coleridge was trying to convey, his messages can still be seen in the song even though it is through a different medium and in turn, this makes the song still be just as impactful as the poem was which is what Samuel Taylor Coleridge probably would have wanted.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere is a captivating poem about the Marinere, interrupting a young man about to go to a wedding, telling the story of a wild storm and how it caused treachery over a ship full of crewmen. The crewmen battle with Life-in-Death and Death and perish in front of the eyes of the Marinere. The Marinere lives the rest of his life haunted by the compulsion to share his tale to anyone who will listen. Based on the tragic events that transpired in the poem, it wouldn’t be considered Romantic poetry. However, because it goes deep into the emotions of the Marinere and focuses greatly on the description of the wedding and the sea, it would be considered Romantic poetry.
Given the long, tragic story that this poem depicts, of course, an artist was going to make music out of it. In this case, it was the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden.
It makes sense, actually. All music derives from poetry, especially poetry that depicts an interesting story that has the ability to captivate an audience. The story that is told in the poem could only be told through the anger and drive of heavy metal. The heavy guitar and almost panicked rhythm of the song creates a certain urgency that is very evident in the poem when read aloud. I think that the rendition by Iron Maiden is perfect for this poem.
There are many similarities between the original poem and the rendition by Iron Maiden. Obviously, they both have very similar subject matter; they both focus greatly on the Marinere and his plight. The rhythm and tone remain the same in both of the pieces. When the action picks up in the poem, the music (i.e., drums, guitar) picks up and sets that atmosphere for the listener to really dive into the story for themselves. Making the song thirteen minutes long really adds to the effect that I think Coleridge was trying to go for, and it was successfully done by Iron Maiden.
In their song, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the rock band Iron Maiden sings passionately of a mythical tale with albatrosses, curses, and sea travel, all otherworldly elements that lend itself perfectly to romantic literature. “The Mariner tells his tale” like a piece of folklore passed down to each generation and even alludes to spiritual powers that exist beyond reality when “Death and she Life in Death… throw their dice for the crew.” Beyond these observations, the song’s rock genre greatly increases its romanticism due to its reputation of appealing to the common folk in middle and lower classes, just as romantic literature and poetry aims to depict the “low and rustic life” that possesses “the essential passions of the heart” (Woodsworth 174). The lyrics themselves tell the events in chronological order and are simple for anyone to follow along without needing to over-analyze to find a deeper meaning, such as when:
“The mariner kills the bird of good omen
His shipmates cry against what he’s done
But when the fog clears, they justify him
And make themselves a part of the crime”
Furthermore, the band’s passionate delivering of the song through intense wails and high pitched screams, as rock songs usually consist of, allow the audience and the band to connect with the song through “general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect” that other art forms do not allow (Lecture Note 8). While there are basic melodies and rhythms to follow, rock allows for more expressed freedom than most other musical genres as singers can change their vibrato on a whim and accompanying instrumentalists can execute a solo however they want. This pure form of human expression along with with its fantastical elements demonstrates romanticism’s appeal and its far reaching influence through many art forms long after history’s initial romantic turn and may indicate its continued dominance within human culture.
How is Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” like or unlike Romantic poetry? Consider how the poem’s use of lyric speaker, imagery, poetic tone, figurative language, and rhythmic beat resonates with the Iron Maiden music video. Explain your answer through a focused close reading of the poem and the video.
The original poem is rhythmic with various descriptions of imagery. The language is different than the more modern version of Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version. However, both are examples of romantic poetry in their expression one in music, the other written. Often times, poetry was expressed orally giving the audience a sort of storytelling tones. Within the modern heavy metal version, I was able to feel more emotions through the music. Phrases that were singled out were catchy and interested me. The pace with climactic instances of the poem was highlighted within the song.
Taylor Coleridge’s poem beings with the descriptions of nature within the mariner’s narration. The sea and the omen of the bird all may signify a greater purpose or message to the audience. The Marnier finds himself the sole survivor and teller- of the misfortune tale. Similarly, Iron Maiden’s song expresses a greater significance taken from the poem: “And the thirst goes on and on for them and me…day after day, day after day, we stuck nor breath nor motion as Idle as a painted ship upon on the ocean…,” thus a rhythm that is relatively repeated, and catchy. Moreover, they include themselves along with the Marnier, “for them and me,” this suffering and emotional devastation is not just the Mariner’s experience, but also related to the audience.
The evocation of God stays within the modern telling of the poem which expresses another meaning. All of God’s creatures and things must be loved and respected. If not, harm befalls those that are involved. We as the audience, also obtain this warning. It is not so much about a warning, but about the transcendence of experience. For my modern interpretation, the journey of our life is the ocean.
When one thinks of romantic poetry, heavy metal isn’t one of the first forms that comes to mind. Especially not a band as renowned for their cannon-blast of exuberant, anthemic bravado, like Iron Maiden. But then again, poetry is the basis for any type of musical genre, including heavy metal.
In this particular song, Iron Maiden does a variation of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and despite using a different means of conveying the message, it remains a form of Romantic poetry. The most important part of making a different variation of a poem is not losing sight of the original message. Ironically, through their simplified version of the poem, they are telling the story of the mariner, which is what the mariner’s curse actually was. By doing so, Iron Maiden became the messengers of this curse.
One positive thing that I got from taking poetry with Hakala, was that poetry was meant to be read aloud. By doing so, one can hear the meter of the syllables that are being used, and as I read through Coleridge’s poem, I noticed several instances where he would omit, or add an extra syllable. By having this poem portrayed as a heavy metal song, the differences in meter could be heard more frequently. Both of these creators use these changes in meter to make several point of emphasis throughout their works.
Overall, we can conclude that despite heavy metal being a different form of portraying poetry, it can still be considered a form of Romantic poetry. Similar to DeQuincey’s idea of Literature of Power, if this heavy metal song is able to make people feel an emotion, than it could classify as a literature of power, thus making a successful Romantic poem.
Traditionally romantic poetry can be seen as a emotional expression between one or two people, desiring each other to give full attention towards one another. Also on the opposite side of the spectrum a single person very infatuated with a signal individual, and lacks the courage to seek a physical encounter. Either traditional definition, does not apply to the broader aspects of what romantic poetry can really be. In the case of Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Marinere,” the rhythmic tempo and story line puts it in the file of romantic poetry. Each bracket of quotes flows seamlessly into one another, and the picture painted between the lines is important to us readers. Lines 243-246 conveys the terrible image of dead bodies lying around and the repulsive smell coming from them. There is nothing romantic about this thought, but the rhythm that creates this picture is nothing short of well to do poetry. Similar to the ebb and flow of the Iron Maidens song, the rhythm is smooth enough to engage and capture its audience. So romanticism does not need to be about love, but can be about finding a rhythm you find passionate enough to speak about. Which both our author and band group were able to create despite the difference in each others audience.