The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

the mariner's "strange power of speech"

from the rime of the ancient mariner

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The Ancient Mariner tells the Wedding Guest that ever since then (his epic ordeal) the urge to tell his tale has returned at unpredictable times, and he is in agony until he tells it to someone. He wanders from place to place, and has the strange power to single out the person in each location who must hear his tale. As he puts it: "I have strange power of speech; / That moment that his face I see, / I know the man that must hear me: / To him my tale I teach." The Ancient Mariner explains that while the wedding celebration sounds uproariously entertaining, he prefers to spend his time with others in prayer. The Mariner's ordeal seems to have given him a power with words that transfix the listener.