Friday, 8 May 2015

Waratah - a very moving tribute.

Portland Guardian (Victoria) Wednesday 29 September, 1909
The Grief of the Sea.
Writing on the subject of the missingWaratah, the London "English News "says :- The toll of life demanded by thesea will always call from human heartsa note of grief quite alone in its depth and poignancy. Nor is it wonderful, that it should be so - least of all where the catastrophe concerns some ship which leaves harbour and is heard of no more. Thedefinite fate of those we love can be accepted,even turned into a memory of strength for those who remain. But is there any griefin the wide world equal to the griefof uncertainty? - the hoping against hope,the conflicting rumours, the dead wall ofsilence, the ultimate despair? Greatwriters have had no greater theme ofgloom. It empties of all joy the lives of such as have ever lived through similarhours of bitterness. Those who have goneare neither dead nor are they alive - Theyhave simply vanished in the midst of theirstrength and of their kindness, as thoughthey had passed with all the capacity ofhuman suffering into the unending perilsof some unknown star. While mankindendures there will be no sorrow equal tothis. And it is one which falls with notthe heavy hand upon a nation such asours, whose earth is scattered over manyseas. He who is born in an island mustmake up his mind to long journeys - or atany rate, to the long journeys of friendsor of kin. When the wind moans acrossthe land at night, to how many heartsdoes it not speak? How many eyes areturned- silently and longingly seaward,even amid the most apparently thoughtlessseaside crowd upon the brightest day?No literature renders the sadness of oceansas ours does, because no nation has knownmore of its pain. But that pain is theprice of such a dominion, the indispensableconcomitant of all that makes life largeand spacious in a land like ours."

2 comments:

Mole said...

This is marvellous, Andrew!

andrew van rensburg said...

I agree Mole, and the passage takes one on a journey back in time when Australians depended on long distance steam travel.