The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 18 - Summary

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      In this stanza the poet addresses to his own heart. His heart for him is like the “mother of being” and asks his own heart whether his heart has been sensitive enough to realize these painful moments experienced by the passengers and enquires whether his heart puts pressure on him. According to the poet his heart is a hardened one continuously seeking evil but his heart has melted at this pathetic sight and takes pity. He cannot stop his tears. The pain is enough to melt his heart. So he takes a sympathetic view. But these tears also symbolize a new beginning. He is overjoyed listening to the voice of the devout nun. His heart is not aged and while the tremendous faith and the doubtless courage of the faith gives him joy the sad spectacles bring tears to his eyes.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-2: Ah touched.....exquisite smart: ‘Bower of bone’ means an enclosure in which a heart beats. The poet’s heart is touched seeing these and asks his heart whether it has sympathy for them.

Lines 3-4: Have you.....heart: The poet is questioning his own heart if it has developed some feelings and emotions to express in words. His heart is being treated as “the mother of being” by the poet.

Lines 5-6: O unteachably.....a madrigal start: According to the poet his heart is always seeking evil and is hardened and it is truthful. The poet questions his heart the reason of the countless drops of tears in his eyes, whether it has melted at this sight. The poet would start to describe the devotional fervor and these tears are considered as good signs.

Lines 7-8: Never-eldering.....of your own: The poet’s heart hasn’t grown old. The poet is happy and full of joy. Though tears roll down on his cheeks but the deep rock-like faith of the nuns makes his heart gladdened.

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