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Thomas Hardy: The Convergence of the Twain.

(Lines on the loss of the Titanic)

By Thomas Hardy.

I.
            In a solitude of the sea
            Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

 

II.
            Steel chambers, late the pyres
            Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres. 

 

III.
            Over the mirrors meant
            To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls — grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

 

IV.
            Jewels in joy designed
            To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

 

V.
            Dim moon-eyed fishes near
            Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: “What does this vaingloriousness down here?”

 

VI.
            Well: while was fashioning
            This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

 

VII.
            Prepared a sinister mate
            For her — so gaily great —
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.

 

VIII.
            And as the smart ship grew
            In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

 

IX.
            Alien they seemed to be;
            No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,

 

X.
            Or sign that they were bent
            By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event,

 

XI.
            Till the Spinner of the Years
            Said “Now!” And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.


First published in The Fortnightly Review June 1912 to commemorate the sinking of RMS Titanic the night of 14-15 April 1912 with the loss of 1512 lives. Republished by The Fortnightly Review on the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

More: Harold Bloom’s comments on ‘The Convergence of the Twain’.

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One Comment

  1. NB Armstrong wrote:

    Great account of unconscious coupling.

    Monday, 31 March 2014 at 14:27 | Permalink

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