The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 20 - Summary

Also Read


      The Chief of the nuns along with other four nuns of Franciscan order had been expelled from Germany. The poet called this ship ill-fated because the country it belonged to had committed a great unforgivable blunder by expelling these nuns considered to be the five daughters of God. The goodness in the world is becoming rare. The town referred to in this stanza is Eisleben in Germany which saw the birth of two di fit rent persons diametrically opposite to each other while one was St. Gertrude a devout Roman Catholic nun the other was Martin Luther who had revolted against Roman Catholicism. Gertrude is addressed as Christ’s lily and Luther termed as a savage beast. Hopkins says this incident is nothing new to this world. He gives the instances of Abel and Cain of the same mother and though fed and nursed by the same mother, they were different. While Abel was pious kind and devout Cain was violent and wicked who murdered his own brother Abel.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-4: She was.....of its good: ‘Coif’ means a headdress worn by nun. These nuns were of Franciscan order. The voice belonged to the chief of the nuns. ‘Deutschland’ refers to the name of the ship and the poet calls it ‘double a desperate name’ because the nuns were expelled from Germany which committed a sin against the God by expelling these five nuns.

‘O world wide of its good’ means the world has become a place where goodness has become rare.

Lines 5-8: But Gertude.....the same: Gertude and Luther both were born in Germany but both ideas were different. The town referred to here is Eisleben in Germany.

Christ's Lily: means, somebody dear in the eyes of Christ. Hopkins called Gertude as lily because she was a devout Catholic nun. Martin Luther is considered as a beast of the wild world. Good and evil co-exist in this world as the same town is the birth place of two different persons.

From life's dawn it is drawn down: From the very beginning of the world this has been happening in the world.

Abel is Cain's brother and breasts they have sucked the same: Abel and Cain were the two sons of Adam and Eve. Though born to the same mother and fed by the same breast, their characters were different. While one was God fearing and truthful, the other was cruel and evil. Cain had murdered his own brother Abel.

Previous Post Next Post