At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had ben a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1.63–66)
Greetings all. Thanks so much to Ash Nichols for his comment on my previous, concerning the ways Romantic poetry can get its natural history wrong. I'm going to have to think about this one before I reply to it, so stand by. But I think my paradoxical reading (below) might go some way towards addressing the last couple of remarks—that the traditional reading of the shooting of the albatross has to do with disrupting some kind of natural continuum. Ash very reasonably wonders why this is any worse than, say, shooting a turkey for Thanksgiving.