Tossed upon life's raging billow

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1 Toss’d upon life’s raging billow,
Sweet it is, O Lord, to know
Thou hast press’d a sailor’s pillow,
And canst feel a sailor’s woe:
Never slumb’ring, never sleeping,
Tho’ the night be dark and drear,
Thou the faithful watch art keeping,
“All is well!” Thy constant cheer.

2 And though loud the wind is howling,
Fierce theo’ flash the lightnings red,
Tho’ the storm-clouds dark are scowling
O’er the sailor’s anxious head:
Thou canst calm the raging ocean,
All its noise and tumult still,
Hush the billow’s wild commotion,
At the bidding of Thy will.

3 Thus our hearts the hope will cherish,
While to heav’n we lift our eyes,
Thou wilt save us ere we perish,
Thou wilt hear our faintest cries:
And, tho’ mast and sail be riven,
Life’s short voyage soon is o’er;
Safely moor’d in heav’n’s wide haven,
Storms and tempests vex no more.

Source: Gloria Deo: a Collection of Hymns and Tunes for Public Worship in all Departments of the Church #598

Author: George W. Bethune

Bethune, George Washington, D.D. A very eminent divine of the Reformed Dutch body, born in New York, 1805, graduated at Dickinson Coll., Carlisle, Phila., 1822, and studied theology at Princeton. In 1827 he was appointed Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church, Rinebeck, New York. In 1830 passed to Utica, in 1834 to Philadelphia, and in 1850 to the Brooklyn Heights, New York. In 1861 he visited Florence, Italy, for his health, and died in that city, almost suddenly after preaching, April 27, 1862. His Life and Letters were edited by A. R. Van Nest, 1867. He was offered the Chancellorship of New York University, and the Provostship of the University of Pennsylvania, both of which he declined. His works include The Fruits of the Spirit, 1839; Ser… Go to person page >


Tossed upon life's raging billow. Sailor's Hymn. Appeared in the Christian Lyre, 1830; in the Seamen's Devotional Assistant the same year, and in Dr. Bethune's Lays, 1847, p. 168, in 3 stanzas of 8 1ines. It "is said to have been the Author's first and favourite hymn, having been written when he was on a voyage to the West Indies, for the benefit of his health, in the year 1825" (Lyra Sacra Americana p. 297). It is a "Sailor's Hymn;" as such it was given in Lyra Sacra Americana, and thence passed into The Hymnary, 1872, and other English collections.

-John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


PILGRIM (Kingsley)



BETHANY, named after the village near Jerusalem, is a suitably dramatic tune for the song text. It was composed by Henry Smart (b. Marylebone, London, England, 1813; d. Hampstead, London, 1879), a capable composer of church music who wrote some very fine hymn tunes (REGENT SQUARE, 354, is the best-k…

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Instances (1 - 94 of 94)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
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