Rime of The Wiser Professor

Creative Project:

Said he to the students entering—

Facing all of sixty seats:

“Charmed to greet you, ye who enter,

Praise be unto those who brave these 18th-century seas!”

But whoa, oh alas!

How he beckoned in vain,

Casting down forlorn students

With a mandated 15% participation grade.

So little he asked,

And yet so outwardly they grieved

Eyes downcast upon the floor, one failed quiz followed another,

From those unfortunate enough to have forgotten to read

O! trembled it did, his forsaken heart!

To witness their great collapse,

Each student, vigorless and vacant of interlude

Fallen wordlessly into terminal relapse

They lie silent in every row, careening the time

As their eyes glazed over in weariness, each grade paid its toll;

Like Death wrapped in lyrical hymns—while their professor requested very little—

CatCourses demanded their souls.

“Cursed am I!” The sore professor wept.

“Like the undead, they sit and they wallow!

I bring them tea and satire and metal,

Yet, their very understanding of what it means to be here—to be alive— appears too difficult to swallow!”

And yet, marched onward he did through an unresponsive scene;

Cursing the monotonous hues—

The purples, the greens, and the blues—

All glistening on the projector screen.

Inspired by the Romantics (and perchance Sir William Blake)

The professor sought refuge in the outdoors

And with sordid groans and unsightly quakes

Did each student arise from their throne of unrest beyond the door

Trembling was he,

As he witnessed their final claims

Like music each volunteered some insightful counterpoint

Proposing his own unrest as idleness and misunderstanding of their ways

“O! By the humanities!” Did the professor croak,

Gazing with bereavement in the cup of black tea in his hands,

“How peculiar it is, that they seem so averse to reading,

To fulfill their contract’s demands?

“They see not the sunlight glistening, nor the ducks over yonder…

They notice not the effort required— that I supply—

For the creation of such presentations.

Still their attention lay somewhere beyond here.

“And still I stand patient,

Perhaps the wiser for having waited

As they come crawling, evermore frequent,

With their begging: ‘Have mercy upon those who knew so little before!’”

Reflection:

To start: Yes, this poem was intended to sound extremely bitter.

This was my attempt at a lyrical ballad. Specifically, it is a recreation of Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The purpose of this project was to utilize the presence of “zombies” within Coleridge’s poem as a reflection of the attitude of many at the start of the semester. It would be accurate to say that this poem exploits the expectations of the student with respect to those of the professor; in simpler terms, I think that more appreciation ought to be expressed towards those who do as much as possible to provide us the best education they can. Moreover, where there is often a discrepancy between the relationship of the teacher and the student, it is easy to place blame on the wiser when one chooses not to participate in self-reflection.

-Savie Luce

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Love in Twilight

imageWhen I first witnessed the beauty of Théodore Gericault’s French painting “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct,” the first emotion I began to feel was love in twilight. The painting contrasts modes of darkness through the entering dark blue clouds as a bright light of sun begins to set, shining over the existence and relations between what appears to be one man and one woman. In this painting, one will find softness amongst rocky grounds, green amongst high mossy bridges, and heightening structures (trees, buildings, etc.) amongst low settling figures.  The painting is formatted in a way that appears almost as if given a peek into a secret world. It is angled off to the side, so that the viewer of the painting not only receives glance of the two people talking but also of the soft light in which shadows upon them and their atmosphere.

I feel as though “Love” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge can be greatly reflected within Gericault’s painting. The poem begins by describing a place of ruins with the speaker of the poem residing on rocks in which overlook moon lit darkness. While the painting isn’t necessarily lit in the moonlight yet, it represents a transitioning moment to the love and atmosphere Coleridge describes. In the poem, the speaker is having a conversation with his lover, relaying to her a story about a knight who experiences heart break. The knight remains heart broken until her saves a woman who in turn happens to fall in love with him.

Coleridge writes,

“’Twas partly love, and partly fear,

And partly ’twas a bashful art,

That I might rather feel, than see,

The swelling of her heart.”

This “love,” Coleridge speaks of is found in fear, in between rocky matters, and along tall mossy stakes, which is exactly what is captured in the painting.

-Angelica Costilla

 

 

Lonely

Romanticism relies on the spirituality and mystery that is evoked by nature itself (lecture notes #8). Both the paintings that we are presented with to choose from, and the book Lyrical Ballads 1798 and 1800 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, present Romanticism at its height of introduction and it’s evocation of Romanticisms attributes of culture, nature, emotions, the author’s voice, and various other attributes attributed to Romanticism.

“The Convict” by William Wordsworth portrays these notions employed by romanticism like the mysteriousness of nature and author’s voice. In this case; the painting Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abby in the Oakwood, 1808-1810 demonstrates aspects of romanticism through it’s own imagery and it’s possible relation to the poem. The poem is a poem of a Convicts need, and dream, of redemption that he may not necessarily have in this; their time of anguish. The poem opes with

“–On the slope a mountain I stood,

While the joy that precedes the calm season of rest

Rang loud through the meadow and wood (1-4)”

Interpreting this into the painting the convict being on a mountain, we can see the loudness describes through the poetic piece through the destruction of nature depicted in the painting. This evoking loneliness, mysteriousness, and destruction through the poetic piece and through the painting. The painting is like the poetry, with eery emotions being actively evoked, the imagery provided by both supports this. The painting shows this through the gate being alone, nature seemingly destroyed through the tree, also the lack of grass, and the employment of a broken building. In the poem it can be related to the image, and it evokes these emotions, through these direct stanzas for example:

“The thick-ribbed walls that o’ershadow the gate

Resound; and the dungeons unfold:

I pause; and at length, through the glimmering grate,

The outcast of pity behold (5-8).”

,In relation to the this imagery above by Friedrich, we can relate it to these stanzas due to the fact that we can see the solaceness through the description of the gate, and the wall. This in relation to evoking loneliness through the mysticism of nature through it’s seeming destruction of nature itself through the image. This being evoked through the stanzas by the “grate” due to its evocation of loneliness of the convict who is in awe of their loneliness in the meadows and woods. Their depiction of a dungeon as they relate to being a pitiful outcast can be translates to how the image evokes pity, sadness, and the destruction of nature. This can be further demonstrates by these last stanzas:

“When from the dark synod, or blood-reeking field,

To his chamber the monarchs is led,

All soothers of sense their soft virtue shall yield,

And quietness pillow his head (25-28).”

The field presented through the image can be imagined by the reader of this poem, or interpreter of the piece and image, as a lonesome and a possibly blood ridden field. In relation to these stanzas this image depicts loneliness, in which the convict can relate to, through the dark colors, imagery that is just dead trees, dead nature, and that of a destroyed building which stands a gate. This imagery adding to the sense of lost that the convict feels through their pain through aspects of romanticism that relied both on the mysticism of nature and authors voice. This being obvious in the poem and in the image. Lastly, all of this imagery can serve for the pain that the convict feels in wanting to desperately redeem himself through all of his loneliness and angish due to how sad, and lonely, the imagery is.

— Isabel P

A Visual Portrayal of Grief

The second image titled “The Abbey in the Oakwood” by Caspar David Friedrich is a painting that bears resemblance to the words of the poem “We Are Seven” by William Wordsworth. In the painting, amongst the somber ruins of the church and the eerie illustration of fog (or perhaps morning dew), gravestones can be seen. It is clear that the abbey in the painting has been abandoned or it is broken down, and the state of the yard is unsettling. The gravestones reflect the two buried siblings of the little Maid mentioned in the poem. When the author asks the child about her siblings, she states that there are seven of them. The little Maid states,

“Two of us in the church-yard lie,

‘Beneath the church-yard tree”.

The painting includes many different graves, but it can be implied that two of the graves that are next to each other belong to the two deceased children. The subject of death is not a particularly happy subject, and the cold sentiment reflected in the poem enhances the feeling of loss that the mother must have gone through. The painting also includes many trees and a tree is mentioned by the child. When reading the poem, one can visualize the setting and the image by Friedrich adds a somber tone to the interpretation of the writing. When the author continues his conversation with the child, he tries to argue that there are only five siblings since two are deceased, but the child still considers them to be a pack of seven. Wordsworth writes,

“‘But they are dead; those two are dead!

‘Their spirits are in heaven!’

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

‘The little Maid would have her will,

And said, ‘Nay, we are seven!’”

The painting may be a reflection of an adult’s view of death and grief. The child in the poem is adamant on stating that there are seven siblings, as if the two deceased siblings were still alive. The author – being an adult – continues his argument with the child and he expresses his understanding of death. The little Maid represents a child’s innocence and how it is easier for them to recover from certain losses because they don’t quite fully understand the severity of the situation. On the other hand, the painting and it’s sorrowful, empty feel may be a representation of how an adult may grieve and how they have to deal with the consequences of loss to a bigger extent than a child. Children may be more accepting of death while adults often have a hard time letting people go. The sorrow, grief, and depression that arises within an adult after a great loss can be felt through the painting’s visualization. Therefore, the painting reflects Romanticism’s ability to trigger a memory within the reader/viewer and may lead them to contemplate the meaning of their own life. The painting is a possible reflection of what may go through an individual’s mind when they come across a poem that mentions a particular subject such as death in Wordsworth’s “We Are Seven”.

-Maria G. Perez

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abby in the Oakwood, 1808-1810

A Journey of the Mariner’s Inner World

Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is, to my own opinion, very much like Romantic poetry. Romantic poetry is often characterized as a focus on the writer or narrator’s emotions and inner world and a celebration of nature, beauty, and imagination. Iron Maiden doesn’t derive away from these specific characteristics in their song. More than anything, they emphasize on these sections of the poem for their song to create a more expressive response from their listeners and to retain the central message of the poem: to love all of God’s creatures and creations.

Of course, Iron Maiden had to take some creative decision making to fit the poem into the rhythmic beat of a rock song. In the opening lines of Iron Maiden’s song, “Hear the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. See his eye as he stops one of three”, is incredibly different from how Coleridge opens his own poem, “It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three.” Of course, Iron Maiden isn’t going to go word-by-word of Coleridge’s poem in a song, they had to change the lyrics, but Iron Maiden’s song keeps the crucial aspects of the poem to express to listeners the severity of the Mariner’s action and the rough and treacherous journey the Mariner and the crewman took. After meeting with death, the song changes tune and only a guitar is heard with a low voice from the singer describing the deaths of the crewman that were affected by the curse. “With a heavy thump, a lifeless lump, they dropped one by one.” This section of the song in its tune is expressing sorrow and grief which reflect back to the lyrics. The song overall is focusing on the narrator’s emotions and how not only what it feels like, but what it sounds like.

The closing remarks of the songs prove that it’s like a Romantic poem as it expressed a celebration of nature, in a darker and gloomier way compared traditional Romantic poetry. “To teach God’s word by his own example, that we must love all things that God made.” The song does almost everything like Romantic poetry but with a darker twist. Therefore, it can be considered Romantic poetry. It expresses a lesson to love nature and see its beauty and the 13-minute song is a journey of both feelings and listening to the Mariner’s inner world.

-Abe Alvarez

A Different Man

Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is like Romantic poetry. One of the characteristics of Romanticism is defined as “A predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic.” In the poem, the other sailors became angry with the Mariner for killing the albatross. Apparently, seeing an albatross meant good luck. However, the fact that the Mariner killed the albatross implies the he doesn’t believe in luck. The Mariner was shamed for doing something different and not believing in the norm. In other words, he was shamed for being different. When the fog cleared, though, the other sailors changed their mind and claimed that the albatross was actually bad luck and forgave the Mariner. Unfortunately, when the men had no water to drink, they again became angry with the Mariner.

Iron Maiden’s musical version of the poem reminds me of those who are unique because rock music is typically tied with opposing the norm. Iron Maiden praises the Mariner for being different. What truly makes something good luck? The Mariner clearly has thoughts of his own and doesn’t easily believe everything he sees. The Mariner forces us to question what we have painted as our reality. For example, is something really as bad as we make it out to be? Though we are entitled to our own opinions, sometimes we need to question the way we look at things.

Charise Cating

Navigating Dangerous Waters

Despite being in a non-traditional form, Iron Maiden’s heavy metal rendition of Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an excellent example Romantic poetry. The song contains a number of elements found in the literary genre, including a focus on nature and expression of vivid emotions. Together these components help the musical piece elevate Coleridge’s ballad and help convey the magnitude of nature and the magnificence of its sheer power.

The aspects of both versions of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” help the reader acknowledge with the Mariner the power the sea, and nature in general, have over living beings. One of the characteristics of Romantic poetry is “[a] deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature.” The Romantics distanced themselves of the artificiality of the cities and looked towards landscapes as refuges where they could take in in its purest, untouched form. While one might be drawn to the aesthetic and serene qualities natural environments may possess, nature’s less soothing aspects can also be classified as a natural beauty. Deadly weather and dangerous creatures tends to lose people’s attention because of the danger associated with them. However, this treachery does have a degree of beauty when you consider its ability be done by the natural world alone, although sometimes influenced by human interference. Just as nature has the capacity to be beautiful and create landscapes that move writers of the Romantic Period with wonder, nature also has the capacity to be twisted and release a vengeance onto humans who enter into it. The power and aggression of latter also moves and causes amazement, though not the most pleasant, and are worthy grounds for a Romantic poem like Coleridge’s.

William Wordsworth defines Romantic poetry by “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” it contains. Coleridge’s poem brings up such feelings through its descriptions of the sea and the events that unfold in the ballad. Such is the case in the following quotation that reads:

“slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danc’d at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green and blue and white” (IV. 121-6)

The Mariner describes the appearance of the ocean in rather unpleasant terms, very different from romantic or idealized peaceful waves. The Mariner compares it to a witch’s brew filled with a variety of creatures that could end the lives of any mortal. At the same time, it admires how the sea can be hospitable to such magnificently, wicked creatures. Coleridge’s description demonstrates, like other environments, how the sea can mean life for some but also death for others.

Iron Maiden establishes identical imagery by incorporating exact portions of the Coleridge ballad into their song. The following is an example of it:

“Day after day, day after day
We stuck ne breath ne motion
As idle as a painted ship
upon a painted ocean

Water, water every where
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water every where
ne any drop to drink” (VIII. 111-8)

Maiden’s decision to copy of Coleridge’s text verbatim, like the quotation above, help the song maintain the imagery described in the text while also keeping the story exactly as the Mariner may tell it, since he has likely told his tale countless times because of his curse. By doing so, the heavy metal version of the lyrical ballad is just another recounting from the Mariner himself.

And the curse goes on and on at sea
And the curse goes on and on for them and me

The repetition of “on and on” in this stanza, like the repetition of “water” and “day after day” in the previously mentioned stanza, helps convey the frustration and desperation of the Mariner, who had to traverse through miles of dangerous nature and see unimaginable sights. This portion of the lyrics indicates to the listener that the Mariner had to continue to go through more of these misfortunes during his voyage. Similarly, the repetition in both works shows how the story of the Mariner is told on and on and the Mariner experiences the voyage again, and how doing so is a mark of the impact the natural world left on him.

In contrast to the poem, the metal band also conveys fear and original poem’s eerie tone in their music. For most of the song, there is a persistent guitar riff that thunders in the background of the song, reminiscent of a ship confidently rushing forwards through harsh waves, ready to take on anything. This riff and the rhythm of the other instruments shifts once the Mariner comes face to face with Death and Life in Death, who are the consequences of his interference with nature when he killed the albatross. It is silenced then only a few guitar wails can be heard from time to time for roughly two minutes, imitating, in my opinion, “ocean sounds” like whale bellows and the slow swaying of waves. Alone these noises would be soothing to listen to. However, in the context the Mariner is in, all alone in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of dead mates, this beautiful noise is sign of uncertainty and possible danger. This shift is an excellent, chilling transition between the point where the Mariner meets the two figures on the ghost ship and his crew is reanimated. It makes the listener anxious as to what will happen next, just like the Mariner must have been while being cradled by the beautiful but treacherous ocean.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Romantic Poetry, Feat. Iron Maiden

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.

-Jody Omlin

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 2.0

If someone were to mention Romanticism poetry and the band Iron Maiden in the same sentence, people would think that person is crazy. What does poetry about “romance” have to do with a heavy metal band? More in common than one would think. Romantic poetry is not really about actual love between two people, it actually has more to do with appreciating the value and beauty of nature as well as expressing feelings and emotions. Which is exactly what is being talked about in Iron Maiden’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” which is why I think it would be considered Romantic poetry. It may not be in the most traditional form of poetry, but it could still be considered a sort of homage to the original poem.

One of the main reasons we can say this song is considered Romantic poetry is because of the way the speaker talks about nature. Just like in the original poem, nature is interwoven into the story and there is specific imagery that is used to describe nature, placing special emphasis on it. It also helps that the images use in the lyric video coordinate with the lyrics so that we can actually visualize what is being sung. What is also interesting is the types of images the video uses to describe the lyrics, all the pictures are all pretty dark and they’re not exactly what one would use to explain the lyrics, so that adds to the tone of the song which is already quiet dark and in a way sort of creepy. Another reason is the way the speaker speaks about the mariner, and the feelings that he has as the poem proceeds is definitely like the original, certain feelings in certain verses are elevated to help achieve a certain tone. It’s definitely interesting to see something that would be considered very old be brought back to life, in a new more modern form of art. It goes to show how amazing it is to keep interest in forms of art alive.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Only Garcia Would Tie Together Romanticism and Iron Maiden

To answer the question of how the poem and song are different, well for starters, it is a lot harder to play than it is to read. I can promise you that. The basic palm-muted gallop in the intro is just an open E string with your ring finger on the 9th fret A string and your index finger on the 7th fret D string. That part was not too hard, but then the song got a bit faster. Also, I do not think Samuel Taylor Coleridge nor William Wordsworth intended a face melting guitar solo, though if they did, that is some very good close reading by Iron Maiden.

On a serious note, I would say that this song is rightly called Romantic poetry. One of the key points to Romantic poetry is less of a stress on formality and more on creative expression. In this sense, I would say a 13-minute heavy metal rock song constitutes as being creative. Though I feel that some may argue that this is just an appreciation piece to Coleridge’s poem and that the imitation is not original, I would find that completely incorrect. Iron Maiden takes the poetic form and appropriates it to a musical audience. It still holds true to what Coleridge initially placed within the poem. This song praises the importance of nature and of God’s creation/ creations, it provides an emotional take over what would be deemed logical (i.e. The Mariner’s murdering of the Albatross), the punishment of the curse laid on the Mariner and his dead crew showing the effect of the Mariner’s actions, the original spiritual or inner understanding of the Mariner’s actions, the origin of God’s creations and their duties in life, and of course the strange occult emphasis with curses and the rising of the undead. This of course, as I stated before is all re-worked in a new, heavy metal version with an amazing guitar solo.

There is little restraint placed on creativity. Though Iron Maiden is confined to what was originally written by Coleridge, their rendition with modern instruments more than makes up for the lack of story telling that had to be withheld to the original source material. Further, I would also argue that the music genre is perfect for such a harrowing tale. The sharpness and the rhythm of the electric guitar create an anxious, but excited mood. It spells what tragedy is to come, but also captures the severity of the tone. These are the liberties taken by Iron Maiden that both hold together, but also reinvent Coleridge’s poem. It is upheld by its recreation of the lyrics, the ominous tone, and the creative liberties, but also reinvented with its creative liberties. There is nothing high-brow with heavy metal and Iron Maiden except to fans of heavy metal or bands less than Iron Maiden. Though famous and well-known to their inner circle (and quite possible fans of music), one would not think a band such as Iron Maiden to take on the work of a Romantic poet. This very contrast is what makes this comparison so ridiculous but also what makes it work as a form of romantic poetry.

—Joseph Rojas