Back to: Kerala Board Class 11th English Guide and Notes
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This is a poem about one of the greatest tragedies at sea. On 14 April, 1912, the Titanic, which carried 2100 passengers and crew, collided with an iceberg and sank into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. However, this tragedy also exposed some of the greatest acts of courage and heroism.
About the Poet
Benjamin Peck Keith (1856- 1927) was an American poet. His famous collection of poems is ‘Spoons of Silver Spoons of Tin, and Other Poems’ (1921). He has written a lot of short poems. ‘The Wreck of the Titanic’ is one of his famous poems.
Theme of the Poem
Bravery is the main theme of the poem. It talks about the acts of bravery that the captain and the crew of the Titanic performed when the ship was sinking.
Stanza 1- 3
Out of Southampton she swung with the stream, A poem of iron and steel, A sea dream. And thousands on shore, watched her steaming away: The largest, and grandest of all ships that day. And the thousand on board, did security feel, For no eye saw death, as he stood at the wheel; Directing her course to the echoless shore, Her first and last haven of nevermore. She was the last, best work of men, And on her first voyage was speeding -- when: Out of the darkness, Out of the night, Loomed an ominous form of ghostly white.
The Titanic departed from Southampton. It was so beautiful that the poet calls it a poem made out of iron and steel. It was a sea dream. Thousands of people on shore watched it sailing away. It was the largest and grandest of all ships that day. The thousand people on board felt safe, because nobody saw death coming as the brave captain stood at the wheel and commanded the ship.
He directed the ship’s course towards its destination, a shore that was so far away that no echoes could be heard back from it. The Titanic was the last best work of men. She was speeding on her first journey when out of the darkness of the night, an ominous mass which was ghostly white in colour appeared before it.
Stanza 4- 6
"Twas a towering mountain of ice -- gigantic, As ever was seen on the North Atlantic. She struck, with a shiver from stem to stern: And was rapidly sinking -- All soon did learn. Then Captain Smith, her commander brave, Thought not one moment, his own life to save, But stood on the bridge, calling out to the crew: Remember your country, Be British, be true. And England, and Ireland, and Scotland, and Wales, Proved there to the World: Their valor ne'er fails, ‘The women and children first,’ was their cry, And every one of the Crew, stood by.
It was a towering mountain of ice, a gigantic iceberg of the kind that had never been seen on the North Atlantic before. The Titanic struck the iceberg and shook from corner to corner. Everyone soon learned that it was rapidly sinking. Captain Smith, the ship’s brave captain, did not think about saving his own life for a moment.
Instead, he stood on the bridge and called out to his crew. He told them to remember their country, to be British and to be true. And then the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales proved to the world that their bravery never fails. The crew stood by and rescued the women and children first.
Stanza 7- 9
And the boats were lowered and sent away, That cut off all hope, save eternity, And, The Titanic sank from sight, 'neath the Sea While her band played, Nearer My God to Thee. Was there ever a scene so awfully grand? As that sinking ship, with her playing band. All glory to Smith, and the Titanic's men, They bring Trafalgar's heroes to memory again. And that heart thrilling tale of the Alamo, And the last grand charge at Waterloo, And that charge of "The Light Brigade" as well, And Jim Bludso's act on "The Prairie Belle."
The lifeboats with the women and children were lowered and sent away. That cut off all hope for the people left on board. The Titanic sank from sight beneath the sea, while the ship’s musical band played “Nearer My God to Thee.” There was no scene as awfully grand as the sinking ship with her playing band. The poet wishes all glory to Captain Smith and the Titanic’s crew, they bring Trafalgar’s heroes to memory again.
The also bring to mind other historical events where men showed great courage such as the thrilling tale of Alamo, the last grand charge at Waterloo, the charge of “The Light Brigade”, and the hero Jim Bludso’s act on “The Prairie Belle.”
And with these down the corridors of all time, The Titanic's story shall sound sublime, For never was courage more noble and true, Than was shown on that night, by the Titanic's crew.
Along with those other historical events, the Titanic’s story shall remain in people’s memory, because there was no courage more noble and true than that shown by the Titanic’s crew on the night it sank.