"O better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;..."
See in text (Text of the Poem)
Rather than allowing the unpatriotic “harpies” to scrap the ship, Holmes says that it would be better for the U.S.S. Constitution to be sunk “beneath the wave” than to suffer the ignominy of being decommissioned. As a result, the poem—perhaps unexpectedly—ultimately seems to comment on the inevitability of death and the need to let nature run its course.
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