At the end of the 18th century Samuel Tayler Coleridge wrote a dramatic poem titled The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. A greybearded old sailor tells of how, many years ago, he had gone on an initially exhilarating voyage into the unexplored southern ocean. The greatest marvel they found there was a beautiful white albatross which followed their ship. In a reckless moment the mariner shot the albatross. From then on, a terrible curse fell over the voyage. The ship is becalmed, surrounded by terrifying sea-monsters. A spectral vision of another ship approaches, with Death on board. The mariner sees his shipmates all die, one by one, of hunger and thirst. When all seems lost, the mariner is looking down at a mass of sea-snakes crawling around the ship. Moved by seeing the only living beings apart from himself, he croaks out a blessing on them. The ship returns to ghostly life as a mysterious wind springs up, carrying it back within sight of home; at which point it sinks, leaving the mariner to be carried to shore, half dead, but repentant of his crime. Today the story may well be read as a metaphor on the reckless destruction of nature, and the eventual self-revelation of the perpetrator.