The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 21 - Summary

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      These five nuns were innocent but were expelled because they were preaching the divine message of love to mankind. They were driven out of Germany, the country of river Rhine. They were destined to die in England, the country of Thames, so Nature reacted violently. In heaven God’s presence radiated peace and kindness. But as a hunter like Orion, God drove them away because he wanted to put them to test their faith. God’s kindness towards nuns made Him to transform the hostile atmosphere to a favorable one. The violent elements were transformed into beautiful things joy and happiness. The snow storm turned to scroll-leaved flowers and lily showers.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-3: Loathed for a love.....Rhine refused them: Though born in Germany, these five nuns were expelled from their country for no fault of theirs. Rhine is the name of a river in Germany. These nuns only fault was they had worked for the humanity and had dedicated themselves for its cause.

Lines 3-5: Thames would.....Gnashed: These nuns are now to die in England, the country of Thames. The different elements of the earth are in anger and violent. ‘Surf’ means the foam on the waves.

Lincs 5-6: But thou art....the worth: God, who reigns in heaven emanates tranquillity. Orion is regarded as the symbol of God. In ancient mythology, Orion who was a handsome hunter was struck by Dionysus. But Orion gained his eyesight by exposing his eyeballs to the goddess Aurora’s rays. He fell a victim to Apollo’s jealousy because of his love to Artemis. Consequently, Orion was transformed into a constellation in the sky. God by Hopkins is considered as a hunter. Who could pursue the destiny of human beings. Hopkins thinks that God, who is a hunter has driven all these nuns out of Germany in order to test them of their faith.

Lines 7-8: Thou martyr..... a strew in them: The poet thinks God to be the master of all the martyrs. God’s mercy can be seen reflected in the elements of nature. The flakes of the snow storm have been turned beautiful like ‘scroll-leaved flowers’ and ‘lily showers’. ‘Scroll’ means a beautiful ornamental design. Sufferings for nun suddenly changes its violent nature and becomes heavenly things of joys.

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