Anyone know this Titanic poem


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Cornelius Thiessen

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Evening folks
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Many years ago I read a book on the Titanic and darned if I can remember the name or author of the book.The book included a short poem that had been gleaned from newspapers at the time of the tragedy.Unfortunately I can only remember one verse of the poem and was wondering if anyone else knew it.the verse I remember goes like this:

The captain stood where a captain should,
When a captains boat goes down.
And the owner fled while the women lead,
For an owner must not drown.

Does someone out there know this bit of doggerel?
 
Jul 12, 2003
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You have certainly presented a mystery Cornelius...I vaguely remember the existence of a site that allows you to search for a poem by typing in a line or two...I'm trying to remember the site (or find it if I wrote it down).

In the meantime, for giggles, read some of these limericks about the film Titanic...kind of funny and creative...

www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Theater/7728/poems.htm

and a nicely written one...

www.ebooksandbuys.com/poetry/titanic.htm

(this last site has an interesting graphic at the top...look at the clouds)
 
Aug 29, 2000
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The poem is called Master and Man

The Captain stood where a
Captain should
For the Law of the Sea is grim;
The Owner romped while the ship was swamped
And no law bothered him.
The Captain stood where the Captain should
When a Captain's ship goes down
But the Owner led when the women fled,
For an Owner must not drown.
The Captain sank as a man of Rank,
While his Owner turned away;
The Captain's grave was his bridge and brave,
He earned his seaman's pay.
To hold your place in the ghastly face of Death on the Sea at Night
Is a Seaman's job, but to flee with the mob
Is an Owner's Noble Right.
y Ben Hecht
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Hecht's poem, incidentally was titled after a Leo Tolstoy parable called Master and Man, about a wealthy businessman who hired a servant to travel across the frozen Russian tundra, and when caught in a blizzard, the servant is saved from hypothermia by his wealthy employer who covers him in the sled with his own body and all the furs.The boss dies, the servant is saved. Gotta love those Russian authors! Of course it is just the reverse of Ismay- who was the target of the Hecht poem. This appeared on the front page of the Chicago Journal and Chicago Daily Socialist.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Hecht may have got the idea for the title from Tolstoy, but modelled the verse on Robert Service. Service would have laid the lines out a bit differently.

For lovers of bad verse, there's the worst Titanic poem of all on my site.

http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/Verse.html

Never mind my parodies at the top of the page. Have a look at The Passing of the Titanic and imagine the full 160 lines.
 
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Alicia Windsor

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LOL Dave! I read As You Leak It a few months ago and liked it so much I printed it and showed it to my friends... we all had a good laugh.

And yes, that last poem was simply beastly. But at least the person was moved enough by Titanic's legacy to pen something in her memory... albeit something that could be considered a crime against literature. I'm guilty of the same with my earlier attempts at Titanic fanfiction involving a member from NSync... ;)
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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Jack Eaton made a comment in the Guernsey's auction book this June about no disaster ever inspiring as much bad poetry. I think you guys just proved it.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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quote:

Hecht may have got the idea for the title from Tolstoy, but modelled the verse on Robert Service.
Harold Lowe at least would have approved - he was a Service fan.

I came across so much Titanic verse dedicated to the crew alone - and particularly Smith - when trawling through UK newspapers that I wrote an article for the ADB on the subject a couple of years ago. Genuine pathos sits side by side, almost indiscriminately, with laughable bathos. It's no wonder that Shaw wrote such a searing column on the swill that was circulating - when he says that some writers were handing paens to Captain Smith that they would hardly write for Nelson, it's a good description of some of the Smith poems (some of which have the Captain going down with his ship in raging sea and wave, glibly adding him to the pantheon of heroic British figures like Raleigh).

Momentous occasions - particularly tragic ones - move people to express themselves in verse. Lincoln's death saw such an overwhelming outpouring of such truly dreadful poetry - particularly wretched doggeral - that one newspaper felt obliged to inform its readers that it did not wish to receive any more poems that mentioned tolling bells. From

Lincoln has arisen and sheds a fire
That makes America aspire!


it ranged the full gamult - Tom Taylor's poem appearing with a Tennial cartoon of Britannia mourning with Columbia was Punch's apology in verse for the previous tone of his cartoons on the US President and, in spite of its excesses and some of the contrived archaisms that it was thought were appropriate to grief, is genuinely moving. Some of Whitman's lyrical lines on Lincoln's death have entered the canon of poetic quotes (e.g. 'O Captain, My Captain'). Billy Collins, American Poet Laureate, captured something of why we turn to poetry in times of grief, both personal and "public" (e.g. the death of the Princess of Wales or, more recently and overwhelmingly, the September 11 attacks), when he wrote that:
quote:

Poetry has always accommodated loss and keening; it may be said to be the original grief counseling center.
If you can wade through the dross, and sift through the hardened conventions of lamentation (some of which can trace their antecedents to the ancient world classical works), these poems can tell us much as cultural artifacts of their age. Be it a song on the tomb wall of an Ancient Egyptian or published on the letters paper of the local rag, they can be valuable tools in understanding and interpreting history and culture. And they don't even need to be good to do that
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