"What day did the Titanic sink?" You may well be asking why on earth I'm putting a page on my website with this heading? You might be wondering what has that got to do with Scotland, or Scotland's Enchanting Kingdom?
Well, the connection is quite simple. The Poem below was written by my Grandmother, an unknown Scottish Poet. But let me go on to tell a little bit about the Titanic and the awful disaster that claimed so many lives, (1,503 people died) and also answer the question, what day did the Titanic sink?
The Titanic, (which was built in Belfast), set sail from Southampton on 10th April 1912 for her Maiden voyage across the Atlantic. This was such a great occasion, the world was buzzing with the news of the launch of this great ship.
She was hit by an iceberg just 4 days into her maiden voyage, on Sunday 14th April 1912 at 11.40 pm, and she sank 2 hours 40 minutes later at 2.20 am on Monday 15th April 1912.
The news shocked the world.
The poem on this page was written by my Grandmother, Jessie Gordon Allan, on April 25th 1912, just 11 days after that historic and tragic disaster.
Despite communications being less sophisticated than they are today, the question "What day did the Titanic sink?" was rarely asked. Word spread throughout the world very quickly. Everyone knew when it sank.
The first voyage of this mighty ship had sent a buzz around the whole of the country. A new, indestructible vessel. So when news of the disaster came back - it was BIG news. People were taking about it for weeks apparently.
My Grandmother wrote many poems in her life, but none were ever published. Many were deeply moving.
She did not have an easy life. Her Mother died when she was only 9 or 10, and she spend several years in hospital resulting in little education, and having a leg amputated when she was only 12 years old.
Her Father had been one of the workmen on the Forth Rail Bridge, where a number of men lost their lives. She saw many disasters and problems in her life, including losing a brother in the First World War, and she used to put pen to paper to describe them.
Although this poem doesn't answer the question, "What day did the Titanic sink?", I still feel deeply moved whenever I read it. I hope you will be too.
By the way, if YOU know a Scottish Poem that you would like to be included on this site, or indeed if you have written one, why not submit your contribution HERE, so people from around the world can enjoy it.
In Memory of the Great Titanic,
April 14th 1912
Was there ever build a boat
So great or so surpassing grand,
As that boat - The Great Titanic -
Which left our native land?
Well might our hearts beat fast with pride,
As we look on this fruit of British toil,
The finest product of human skill
That ever left our British soil.
All that the heart could wish had she,
Rooms of treasure and luxury:
Well might our hearts beat fast with pride,
As we looked on this boat now bound for sea.
Rooms there were where one might dream,
Soothed by the lull of the waves
And think they were in some mystic land
Or dwelling in magic caves.
Music, too, of the very best,
Which filled that boat with a Heavenly strain,
Perchance, making some sad hearts rejoice,
Bidding them hope again.
But dearer than all those earthly treasures,
More precious than all that luxury,
Were the souls of the many on board that boat
Who now are sleeping in the sea.
How little you thought, ye mothers,
As you waved a last goodbye
To the dear ones now who are leaving you
That soon in the deep they would lie.
Mothers, sisters, take one fond look
Of those who are leaving your tender care,
For soon, too soon, ah, how can you know,
They'll need your every prayer.
Cheer after cheer now rends the air
As from her moorings she slips away;
No finer boat has left our shore
Than the Titantic that sailed that April day.
'Tis Sunday night,
And all is calm and still,
The waves are rippling at their will,
When onward comes this mighty boat -
The grandest that was e'er afloat
Upon the sea.
As through the deep it ploughed its way,
Oh, souls on board, did you stop to pray?
Or was it with a dance or song
Ye passed the precious hours along
Of that most Holy night?
No fear did fill their hearts,
For looking up to God's wondrous stars
No thought had they of broken spars;
The stormiest sea it would endure,
They were so safe, their boat secure,
But, hark! They felt a shock,they laugh their fears to mock
Nothing can sink their boat
The safest of those afloat
Upon the sea.
And thus they jest,
They have no fear,
Or see the cause to shed a tear,
Or know that grim death was hovering near
That stately ship.
They didn't know the boat was rent from stem to stern
By a huge iceberg they didn't discern
Till all too late.
But the sailors on the watch below,
The alone knew it to their woe,
As they are caught in Death's cold grip,
And soon are severed from the ship,
Never to rise again.
A message is sent across the wave:
"Come to our help our souls to save;
"Titanic's sinking, but our hearts are brave"
Is the message borne across the wave.
And then they man the boats
"Women and children first", they cry
Fathers, husband, brothers, stand by.
Bidding their dear ones a fond good-bye,
Perhaps never to meet again.
Soon every boat is lowered down,
And slowly sail away;
The souls on that sinking vessel,
What could they do but pray.
But list! o'er the water's din
Come the strains of a well-known hymn;
"Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song to Thee -
Nearer to Thee!
Men who had forgot to pray-
Who once had knelt at mother's knee -
Prayed to God whose name is Love,
That He might take them home above.
Fainter, yet fainter, the strains of the hymn,
Slowly the lights disappear;
Shrieks, groans and awful cries
Now rend the still-night air;
And there they struggle these poor, poor souls,
As over them the Atlantic rolls
Her treacherous waves.
But slowly they die away,
Soon they are rocked to sleep
By the cruel waves, and o'er their graves
Their loved ones may not weep.
And where is the great Titanic?
Which was so full of life and pleasure,
Down in the deep, comes the answer,
Adding to the seas great treasure.
Oh mighty sea! thy toll is great!
'Tis felt all o'er the world,
For the loss of the great Titanic
Our British flags are half-mast unfurled.
Oh cruel sea! Why dost thou take
Those that we love best?
What carest thou tho' hearts do ache,
And we no more see their face,
For thou has rock'd then safe to sleep
In thy dark impenetrable deep.
By Jessie Gordon Allan, April 25th 1912
Copyright: May Coomber and May Cropley
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