A famous hymn

William Whiting (1825-1878),  an Anglican churchman from Winchester, England, wrote this hymn in 1860 after a violent storm nearly wrecked the ship he was travelling on. Versions of it were adopted by many branches of the armed forces of Britain and the USA, and it has become known as the “Naval Hymn.” The best-known tune for the hymn was written by English composer J.B. Dykes in 1861, but in the opera it is set to new music by Francis Lynch, who considers it a masterpiece of hymn writing in its clever rhymes and Biblical references.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

(Top left: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn)

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