The Wreck of the Titanic by Benjamin Peck Keith


As the title alludes,this is a poem about one of the greatest tragedies of the sea, the wreck of the Titanic on 14 April 1912. The ship collided with an huge iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. However, this disaster has uncovered some of the finest deeds of bravery and heroism of a few people, including Captain Smith and the crew.

Summary/Appreciation of The Poem

The famous poem titled “The Wreck of the Titanic” by Benjamin Peck Keith is a poem that exalts the bravery and courage of the captain and crew of the Titanic on their maiden voyage. The first three stanzas are about the grandeur of the boats. The poet calls the ship a “poem of iron and steel.”

On the tragic night when it collided with a massive iceberg, Captain Smith, the valiant captain of the ship, never thought of saving himself for a moment. He stood on the bridge and called the crew to be courageous and to be loyal to the ideals of their country. They replied to his call to ‘be British’ and made their country proud.

The time when the life boats were lowered one by one and sent out, the band proceeded to perform the song “Nearer my God to thee.” It’s going to be hard to find such an awfully grand scene somewhere else in history. The poet then recalls a sequence of historical incidents in which equal courage was displayed such as the tales of Trafalgar, Alamo, Waterloo, The charge of “The Light Brigade” and the “The Prairie Belle” act of Jim Bludso. In all these tales, the storey of the Titanic can still be seen by the future generation as a sublime illustration of the bravery displayed with the utmost nobility.The poet says that the bravery of the Titanic heroes is “more noble and true” and “sublime sound.” These people’s strength and courage will be remembered forever.

The poem is composed of 10 stanzas. Again, each of these stanzas is composed of 4 lines. The whole poem, thus, consists of 40 lines in all. This poem is composed in rhyming couplets. The figures of speech such as the metaphor, the alliteration, the assonance and the consonance give considerable elegance to the poem. The metaphors of the ship’s dream of the sea and the poem of iron and steel are striking. The plain words used are deliberately selected to evoke the feelings of the poet.

The poet has used simple and clear language. He has also made use of many poetic devices like metaphor and personification.The ship is described as an iron and steel poem. It is also described as a sea- dream. We are also able to see personification.The ship is personified and described as a beautiful lady. The poem follows regular aabb rhyme scheme. The poem also provides insights into the management of crises, patriotism and chivalry.

Theme of The Wreck of the Titanic

The major theme discussed here is that of courage, fate, shicpwreck. Emotion of patriotism, valour are evoked while reading the poem. The poem has teaches us how we can behave at a time of tragedy. This poem highlights the virtues of life such as bravery, compassion, devotion to service, and patriotism.

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