Category Archives: B. M. Hecht

When a Captain’s Boat Goes Down

It occurs to me that the title of my last article may not have raised the association that I intended in the minds of many of my readers. It rewords a line from a perfectly dreadful bit of doggerel titled, “Master and Man,” written by B. M. Hecht shortly after the sinking of the Titanic. Since it isn’t widely available, I’ll reproduce it here:

Master and Man

The Captain stood where a Captain should,
For the law of the sea is grim;
The Owner romped ere his ship was swamped,
And no law bothered him.

The Captain stood where a Captain should,
When a Captain’s boat goes down,
But the Owner led when the women fled
For an Owner must not drown.

The Captain sank as a man of rank,
While the Owner turned away;
The Captain’s grave was his bridge, and brave,
He earned his seaman’s pay.

To hold your place in the ghastly face
Of Death on the sea at night
Is a seaman’s job, but to flee with the mob
Is an Owner’s noble right.

Oy, that’s bad verse, but as Oscar Wilde told us about such things, it is sincere and ought to be read aloud in the halls of power daily.