Coleridge's celebrated poem was written at the suggestion of William Wordsworth in the early days of their friendship, and published for the first time in 1798. It is the story of a nightmare voyage to the South Pole told by the sole survivor, the bright-eyed ancient mariner whose wanton killing of an albatross,a bird of good omen, brought misfortune on the ship and all its crew. Coleridge's own commentary on the dateful drama, written some years later at a time of renewed religious feeling, is printed alongside the poem. The poem is brilliantly illustrated with a sequence of specially commissioned drawings by Mervyn Peake. His powerful, arresting images perfectly express the qualities of the text, its gothic atmosphere and supernatural terrors, ultimately softened by pity and the hope of redemption.