Found among a lot of miscellaneous papers, some religious - this poem by one William Allen about the Titanic disaster. It is dated May 1912, one month after the tragedy. The name William Allen is associated with the Titanic because it was the name of the father of one of the survivors, Ada E. Hall. The family was from Hackney, London and Ada was emigrating to America (along with her brother in law the Reverend Bateman who drowned*). She is in the Encyclopedia Titanica and in a lengthy article on her in the Baltimore Sun it states: "Nearer My God to Thee" was the last song Ada heard from the band that was playing on the deck of the RMS Titanic after she boarded a lifeboat and was lowered to the waters below." This hymn is mentioned in the poem and there are a few details that may have come from an eyewitness (i.e. his daughter) rather than from press reports. William Allen is a common name so none of this is conclusive. The poem is heartfelt, competent and deeply religious:
T'was the eve of the day of rest
That the mighty Leviathan
Ploughed her way through the ocean's
List to the throb of her stately tread
Mark her proportions
From anchor to lofty head
Its harmony sublime.
True to her name Titanic (=) the vast
Immensity with triumphant symmetry bold
Is like the wondrous Greeks' sculptured cast
This though is silent, this energy untold.
Her maiden voyage!
See how she sweeps along
Joyful and free, but alas alas,
The retreating waves echo,
Alpha and Omega (=)
The first and last.
The pride of a nations skill completed
Hastens on through the ice strewn main,
But soon ha!too soon, she must cry defeated
Creation her own must claim.
They say few had warnings,
Gloomy forebodings of what was to come
How many I wonder that same Sabbath morning,
Knelt in supplication to Him who is 'Love'?
I need not recall from memory or imagination
The horror of that fearful anticipation
Sudden darkness, a reeling crash like unto thunder,
Thousands in a moment were in awe struck wonder.
Hastening to the dark all recently clad
Mother child and friend now all are one
All must stand at the great tribunal, good & bad,
For the day of reckoning is come.
Not there panic, no nor noisome weeping
So calm they stand sons and daughters of dear Motherland,
Whom so many will never again be seen
For Death is quickly creeping.
With speed the boats are lowered o'er the dark abyss
Soon filled with dear child & dear wife
Christian chivalry demand such a sacrifice
Heart rending though that last fond look & kiss.
But who's that noble figure on yonder sloping bridge
T'is the captain, at his post, there to abide
"Be Englishmen" to officers & all he bids,
And sinks to a death, history will never hide.
Who can tell of the many acts of silent heroism?
The love of man for many!
They know the end is near,
But strange, they feel no fear!
Each with stern duty to do calmly waits
The embrace of cruel fate.
Some with tear-dimmed eyes
Remember far off days of holiest ways
As the hymn "Nearer my God to thee"
Wafts its kindly benediction from below.
There were but a third of them saved
We must not say "Why not more?"
The Lord of Mercy in his Goodness gave
The same Lord has taken away.
So do not mourn nor fret their loss
They are in his Presence and tender care
Rather learn from the "Vast", never mind what it costs
That in our life the Eternal God must have a share.
* As she entered the lifeboat the Reverend Bateman called to her 'If I don't meet you again in this world, I will in the next'. He then removed his neck-tie and threw it to her as a memento as the boat was lowered.