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100 years ago: Shackleton’s Companion

by
04 February 2022

February 3rd, 1922.

IT HAS not been given to Sir Edward [sic*] Shackleton to return from the accomplishment of his quest to receive the meed of praise, but the passage of all that was mortal of him to its resting-place in England will have the nature of a triumph. For the rest, we recall the lines which Tennyson wrote for the cenotaph of Franklin in Westminster Abbey, 

thou
Heroic sailor-soul,
Art passing on thine happier voyage now
Toward no earthly pole.
 

There can be no severer test of character and comradeship than polar exploration. Sir Edward Shackleton responded to it so fully that those who had once sailed with him were eager to sail again. Beyond even the high qualities of courage, resourcefulness and endurance were those which knit his men to him. There was perhaps in him, as in many who love wide, silent spaces of sea or plain, something of the mystic; we remember that passage in one of his books which speaks of the perilous march during which he was conscious of One who went with them unseen. He who endured so much for his men had, we cannot doubt, a Companion of the way.

*Ernest (a misprint). Edward was his younger son

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