The Wreck of the Deutschland: Stanza 31 - Summary

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      The stanza celebrates the reunion of this nun with Christ. Christ rewarded her befittingly for the moments of suffering she endured and the belief which she possessed in spite of the hardships. The poet, when comes to the plight of the passengers, his heart rends in sorrow. He grieves and feels sorry for the passengers because they won’t be able to have the opportunity to confess their sins, so it would deny them the spiritual blessings and bliss. But the poet again says that God is all-merciful and other passengers must have felt the soothing effect on their thirsty soul. It is only because of nun’s faith and devotion others have the benefit of being nearer to Christ. Then in that case, this shipwreck cannot be considered as a tragedy or disaster but it has spiritual significance which is like harvesting, yielding much grains to God. The souls of the passengers are compared to grains.

Line by Line Analysis

Lines 1-2: Well, she of them: This nun endured a lot and her sufferings didn’t go in vain but was amply rewarded as she got a unique chance of being united with Christ. But Hopkins’s other passengers couldn’t be able to confess before their death. The Roman Catholics need to confess for their sins to a priest before their death.

Lines 3-4: Heart, go.....of them: The poet wanted his heart to bleed for or pity those who were unfortunate in getting spiritual comfort and blessings because they couldn’t confess their sins.

Lines 5-8: Not not uncomforted.....for thee?

The poet suddenly changes his statement as he says that other passengers would not go uncomfortable.

Lovely-felicitous Providence: God is benevolent and merciful.

Of a feathery delicacy: of a tender delicacy.

be a bell to: signal to other passengers

the poor sheep: human beings are considered as ship in Christian religion and Christ is the shepherd. Passenger’s plight is pitiable.

God not only showers mercy on the nuns but also on the other passengers like a father he gives comfort, e.g. the kind words of the chief nun. The nun’s actions have endeared many passengers to Christ and they have given spiritual comfort. The poet then explains that this shipwreck shouldn’t be considered as a disaster but blessings in disguise. Like a harvest it yields plenty of grain, the souls, whom God is reaping.

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