The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is a hauntingly beautiful work, acclaimed both for the lyrical quality of its language and for the ghostly atmosphere it evokes. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's masterpiece related the tale of a sailor who shoots a lucky albatross and is condemned to wander the sea in search of redemption, burdened with guilt over his deed and the resulting deaths of his shipmates.
"It is an ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth one of thee...." Although these ominous lines perennially instill fear of final exams and term papers in the minds of high school students and Romantic English majors, they're not often remembered by adults. Mason's reading of Coleridge's 1796 epic poem is at once hypnotic and stirring. The Academy Award nominated actor reads the chilling tale involving clashes with sea monsters, a boat swarming with zombies and a dice game with Death in an authoritative English accent. Like the ocean surrounding the Mariner's ship, his voice ebbs and flows with the imaginative poem's various heights. He quickly rattles off, "water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink" but gently whispers "And I had done an hellish thing, and it would work 'em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird that made the breeze to blow." Coleridge (1772 1834), uses words to make the fantastical believable, and here, Mason brings those words vividly to life. A bonus track features Mason's animated reading of The Hunting of the Snark, an eight-canto poem by Lewis Carroll.