The British luxury passenger liner Titanic sank in the early hours of 15 April 1912 after striking an iceberg.
It was its maiden voyage, from Southampton, to New York City and carried hundreds of crew members and first-class, second-class, and third-class passengers. These last were poor emigrants from Europe seeking a new life in North America The total number of people onboard was a little more than 2,000, while lifeboats could accommodate up to 1,178. In the end, only 706 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.
During the evacuation of the ship, designed to be ‘unsinkable’, the crew bravely stayed at their work and helped save a lot of passengers, even at the cost of their own lives.
These are the heroes celebrated by Henry Van Dyke (1852 –1933), American author, educator, diplomat, and clergyman.
Heroes of the “Titanic”
Honour the brave who sleep
Where the lost “Titanic” lies,
The men who knew what a man must do
When he looks Death in the eyes.
“Women and children first,”—
Ah strong and tender cry!
The sons whom women had borne and nursed,
Remembered,—and dared to die.
The boats crept off in the dark:
The great ship groaned: and then,—
O stars of the night, who saw that sight,
Bear witness, These were men!
November 9, 1912.
Gli eroi del Titanic
Onorate i coraggiosi andati a riposare
laggiù dove il “Titanic” giace,
uomini che sapevano ciò che un uomo deve fare
quando guarda la Morte negli occhi.
“Prima le donne e i bambini”,
forte e tenero il grido si udì salire
da quei figli partoriti e allattati da donna
che, ricordandolo, osarono morire.
Le barche s’insinuarono nell’oscurità,
gemette l’enorme scafo: e poi … –
O stelle della notte, testimoni di tale fatalità,
rendete testimonianza, Quelli furono uomini!