Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Titanic: When poet Thomas Hardy revealed his thoughts, without much compassion

Titanic first class suite bedroom 'b58'. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic at fitting-out wharf with three out of four funnels fitted. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic Building will immortalise one of history's most enduring tales

Like everybody else in Britain, Thomas Hardy quickly became aware of the Titanic disaster.

He responded with a famous poem, The Convergence of the Twain (Lines on the loss of the “Titanic”) which was published in 1915.

The poem begins dolefully: "In a solitude of the sea/Deep from human vanity,/ And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she." goes on to talk about a "sea worm" crawling over the ship's mirrors and hardly mentions the victims.

Hardy's controversial poem contrasts mankind’s materialism with the integrity and beauty of nature.

Some people thought his tone showed an absence of compassion towards the great loss of life that accompanied the sinking of the ship, something he scarcely refers to.

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