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The Titanic

Katharine Lee Bates 1859 (Falmouth) – 1929 (Wellesley)



As she sped from dawn to gloaming, a palace upon the sea,
Did the waves from her proud bows foaming whisper what port should be?
That her maiden voyage was tending to a haven hushed and deep,
Where after the shock and the rending she should moor at the wharf of sleep?
Oh, her name shall be tale and token to all the ships that sail,
How her mighty heart was broken by blow of a crystal flail,
How in majesty still peerless her helpless head she bowed
And in light and music, fearless, plunged to her purple shroud.
Did gleams and dreams half-heeded, while the days so lightly ran,
Awaken the glory seeded from God in the soul of man?
For touched with a shining chrism, with love's fine grace imbued,
Men turned them to heroisim as it were but habitude.
O midnight strange and solemn, when the icebergs stood at gaze,
Death on one pallid column, to watch our human ways,
And saw throned Death defeated by a greater lord than he,
Immortal Life who greeted home-comers from the sea.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem America the Beautiful Bates was born in Falmouth Massachusetts and lived as an adult on Centre Street in Newton Massachusetts An historic plaque marks the site of her home The daughter of a Congregational pastor she graduated from Wellesley College in 1880 and for many years was a professor of English literature at Wellesley While teaching there she was elected a member of the newly formed Pi Gamma Mu honor society for the social sciences because of her interest in history and politics for which she also studied She lived at Wellesley with Katharine Coman who herself was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College Economics department The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Comans death in 1915 It is debated if this relationship was an intimate lesbian relationship as different sources maintain or a platonic relationship called sometimes Boston marriages as the local historical society of her birthplace maintain more…

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