The Navy Hymn

Shipmates… I wish for you fair winds and following seas, deep green water under your bow, your main rifles trained in the posture of peace and a gentle breeze at your stern.

 

The Navy Hymn

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 walked’st 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 shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Navy Hymn

  1. John Croix MMCS(SW) 1961-1988 says:

    One of My favorites. The Chapel at Little Creek sang it every Sunday when I went there. Here’s the history of the song.

    The original hymn was written in 1860 by William Whiting, an Anglican churchman from Winchester, Great Britain. Whiting grew up near the ocean on the coasts of England, and at the age of thirty-five had felt his life spared by God when a violent storm nearly claimed the ship he was traveling on, instilling a belief in God’s command over the rage and calm of the sea. As headmaster of the Winchester College Choristers’ School some years later, he was approached by a student about to travel to the United States, who confided in Whiting an overwhelming fear of the ocean voyage. Whiting shared his experiences of the ocean, wrote the hymn to “anchor his faith”.[1] In writing it, Whiting is generally thought to have been inspired by Psalm 107,[2] which describes the power and fury of the seas in great detail:

    Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.
    They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
    For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
    They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away.
    Psalm 107: 23–26

    Within a year the text appeared in the influential first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (HA&M) in 1861 and its circulation became widespread throughout England. The text was substantially revised by the compilers of that edition. In response Whiting continued to revise his own text, releasing another version in 1869 and third in 1874, the last one incorporating most of the suggested changes by HA&M.

    Liked by 1 person

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