Crossing the Bar

Melody - Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) - one of the best-loved English composers - is probably best remembered today for his setting of Blake's poem 'Jerusalem'. His career was as distinguished as it was successful and honours were poured upon him by a nation grateful for such state anthems as 'Blest Pair of Sirens' and 'I was glad when they said unto me'. In 1894 he became Director of the Royal College of Music and he was created a baronet in 1903. In the same year his setting of Tennyson's famous poem 'Crossing the Bar' was composed and was heard for the first time at the Hereford Festival. Since then it has found its way into countless hymn books and collections of inspirational songs where its Edwardian grandeur is quite at home. Parry's prolific output and apparent facility were the envy of many of his contemporaries, some of whom doubtless gave credence to the apocryphal story of his being called away to interview a prospective student at the Royal College of Music and, thrusting a manuscript he was working on onto the desk of a secretary, said: 'Carry on with this for a few bars, I'll he hack shortly!'

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