When someone had a disheveled, slovenly appearance, my mother used to say that person (could even be herself if she had been working hard) looks like the wreck of the hesperus. She also used that phrase if my hair was tousled.
It wasn’t until I was in college studying American Literature that I learned Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem – The Wreck of the Hesperus! The Hesperus of his poem was a schooner caught in a hurricane.
The sailor had taken his young daughter out for a joy sail when the unsuspected storm came up. He tied her to the mast to keep her from being washed overboard. Everyone onboard perished with the ship. The body of the young maiden was discovered lashed to the mast floating in the sea.
I came across the poem in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and decided to share this story with you.
Do you use this phrase as a metaphor for a messy look?