The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 24 - Summary

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      In this stanza, Hopkins refers to St. Beuno’s college near a hill in Wales. While the nuns were at peril and the ship was wrecking, the poet was quite comfortable and was secured. We find a contrast here between the safety of the poet and the precariousness of the nuns. When the waves were in its full fury and the storm and snowflakes were terrorizing one and all the chief sisters cried out asking Christ’s help. Holding the crucifix close to her breast she was crying seeking His help. All the passengers were trembling in fear so only God’s help was necessary at this crucial moment to protect them. Christ was the “Best” to her but at that very moment, he was full of wrath and wild.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-2: Away in the.....of Wales: While the ship was wrecking, the poet was in his St. Beuno’s college where he had studied theology. This college stood on a hill in the valley of Cloyd.

Lines 3-4: I was under.....the gales: Here is a comparison between the safety of the nuns and the poet. Hopkins’s security is quick-safe under a roof but nuns are in peril.

Lines 5-7: She to the black.....come quickly.

She: the chief among the nuns

the breaker: high waves

the black-about air: violent wind.

flakes: snow storm

quails: cries of women in panic and fear. As the storm was in its full fury, the waves rose furiously and the snow flakes. It made the passenger shuddering in fear and all of them cried vehemently. The chief nun cried out for Christ’s help and was holding the crucifix close to her breast.

Lines 8: The cross.....wild worst Best: The chief nun considered Christ as the only hope who has the power to rescue them.

‘Wild-worst Best’: means that though Christ is the ‘Best’ but he is now in his mildest mood.

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