Monday, October 20, 2014

The Wreck Of The Hesperus: An Allegory

I was thinking about a poem I remembered from my youth. It is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Wreck of the Hesperus". So I Googled it and just finished rereading it. It is a dead on allegory for the last six years in the life of our country. 

The Hesperus was a strong and seaworthy sailing craft. A schooner in fact. A type of ship known for strength and speed, just as the United States has been respected or feared by either friends or enemies for it's power and adaptability.

The ego driven captain of the ship brought his young daughter along on a voyage for the pleasure of her company. American citizens have been brought along on a voyage of change for the last six years by an ego driven President. 

In both cases, having embarked on the voyage, the passengers lost control and suddenly realized that they weren't even sure of the direction the voyage would take, or what the final destination would be. 

As in the poem there were dissenting voices of experienced people that disagreed with sailing that particular course in those weather conditions. But the self-assured captain sailed on in spite of good and solid advice, seemingly more interested in the pleasure of his pipe than the dangers ahead.

But, as predicted, the weather did turn ugly. So ugly that the captain lashed his daughter to the mast restricting her movements and sailed on heedlessly into the storm.

In the end, the captain died, frozen to the wheel. The ship broke up on the rocks. The daughter drowned still lashed to the mast with stout cord.  The final words are poignant: Christ save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe.

No matter who you pray to, or even if you don't pray at all, turn your thoughts to the fate of our country and hope or pray that we don't end up on "the Reef of Norman's Woe".

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