He went like one that have been stunned,
And is for sense forlorn.
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
Contextualise this passage and say: who does it refer to? Why is he sadder and wiser?
These are the very last lines of Coleridge’s ballad, so in part seven. The author makes us return initial condition, we are back to the first level of the story: the wedding-feast. The old mariner, as he finished telling his story and the contents of his teaching, goes away. The Wedding-guest is so stunned, shocked that he doesn’t go to the wedding party. H’s really touched by the story, this meeting was a turning point in his life, so essential that he became to share some characteristics in common with the mariner: from this moment on he would be a “sadder and wiser man” (notice that Coleridge uses “and”, and not “but”). Now also the Wedding-guests shares the same agony with the old man, which obliged him to travel from place to place and to find a particular man to tell his story. Through this agony he grew up, he became wiser: this fact reminds me a passage from Agamennone from Aeschylus: «πάθει μάθος». For the Greek tragedy poet gods imposed to men the knowledge through sufferance and pain: the negative part of this agony isn’t cancelled, censured (for this reason Coleridge uses “and” instead of “but”), but it brings something positive.