Neil Rennie

‘There was a ship,’ quoth he

When Wordsworth and Coleridge were in their collaborative youth, walking one evening in 1797 on the Quantock Hills and contemplating something Gothic, Wordsworth suggested to Coleridge that the Ancient Mariner could be haunted by what he had just been reading about in Shelvocke’s Voyage Round the World — the killing of an albatross by a sailor rounding Cape Horn in 1719.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Election special offer

The stage is set. Grab a front-row seat with The Spectator. Subscribe and get 3 months for just £3 – plus a free election mug.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Our online archive, going back to 1828

Comments

Want to join the debate?

Only subscribers can comment. Sign up and – in the run-up to the election – you’ll get the next 12 weeks for just £12.

Already a subscriber? Log in