Well, she has thee for the pain, for the
Patience; but pity of the rest of them!
Heart, go and bleed at a bitterer vein for the
Comfortless unconfessed of them―
No not uncomforted: lovely-felicitous Providence
Finger of a tender of, O of a feathery delicacy, the breast of the
Maiden could obey so, be a bell to, ring of it, and
Startle the poor sheep back! is the shipwrack then a harvest, does tempest carry the grain for thee?

The Wreck of the Deutschland
By Gerard Manley Hopkins




Now Hopkins have told the story and in the epilogue of the five last stanzas he is tying up the loose ends and trying to interpret the reasons for what has happened. For Christiabs in terms with God, pain and death is worth heavenly much, but for the unbelievers or those with unconfessed mortal sins, death means the beginning of eternal agony in Hell.

If you choose to separate yourself from the father, you will be separated from him. Pity those souls who have!

The word “Well” indicates a less formal approach toward his readers. I picture father Hopkins leaning forward, and in a tranquil low voice say: “Well, here’s how it is”.

And then he pities all those unconfessed souls, the ones outside of Christs compassion… And there he stops himself. No man is out of Christ’s compassion. There is nothing Christ would love more than having these souls convert their ways and come to him.

Then father Hopkins paints the image of a bird, of feathery delicacy, named Providence: Perhaps, he asks, this was the final way God could reach some of those – until then – lost souls? The path that leads the sheep back to the herd. The dove that lead Noah to land? The nun as a summoning bell.

Let Providence gather the lost so that they convert their ways and give their souls to Christ. Let the tempest reap their souls.

Perhaps the storm was the only grain that could help them grow closer to God?



During lent I will publish the stanzas from the Wreck of the Deutschland, one by one. Sometimes with a small commentary or with some aspect about the poem. Hopefully someone will be able to use this as a form of prayer during Lent. Click here to get to the first stanza.