The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 1 - Summary

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      The beginning lines of the poem in The Wreck of the Deutschland by Hopkins in a befitting manner pays glowing tribute to God. Hopkins thinks that God, the Divine, dwells everywhere and He is not only omnipotent but also omnipresent. All the creatures are controlled by Him. He is the only source of vigor and vitality. The poet compares God with the seashore where people may take shelter from the ceaseless troubles. God is the water of the sea and He rules not only the living beings but also the dead. For the poet, God is everything, who has shaped him and has given him flesh bones and veins. But at the same time Hopkins echoes a different mood as he says that the same God has subjected him to tribulations and agonies. Then it seems to the poet that God has touched him with his divine finger and the poet suddenly realizes that he is in touch with God.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-3: Thou mastering: ‘Thou mastering me’, refers to God who is regulating, controlling and governing the poet’s life. God is like a sea shore which can give freedom to people to escape from the teething sea of troubles.

Line 3: Sway of the sea: God who controls the sea.

Lines 4-7: Lord of living: ‘Lord of living and dead,’ means God who is the lord of living beings as well as of the dead.

Line 5: Thou hast.....flesh: God shaped the body of the poet and has given him flesh, bones and veins.

Line 6: And after it.....dread: God has unmade him and undoing refers to misfortunes dampen him and shake his stability and disturb his mental peace. Hopkins many a time felt mental and physical agonies which made him realize the unknown aspect of God, his dark side.

Line 6: With dread: means God who instills fears in him.

Lines 7-8: Thy doing......find thee’s: The shipwreck is regarded as a way to realize His presence as he feels God’s finger touching him. Here Hopkins also experiences a unique mystic moment when he feels of being united with God.

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