The Sources of the Poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
(1) The central idea of the poem was suggested by Wordsworth. The idea is a very old one, being found in Homer’s Odyssey where Ulysses, the brave sailor, and hero of the Trojan War, is visited with supernatural punishments and long wanderings over the seas by Neptune, the sea-god for having killed a one-eyed giant.
(2) The idea that the spirit of a locality takes vengeance for an act of cruelty done on an animal finds expression in Wordsworth’s Hartleap Well.
(3) According to Coleridge, the poem was founded on a dream of his friend, Mr. John Cruikshank. It was a strange dream in which he “fancied, he saw a skeleton ship, with figures in it”.
(4) Wordsworth suggested that some crimes should be committed which should bring upon the Mariner the persecution of the ruling spirits of the place. He also suggested the navigation of the ship by dead men.