(O God, Our Help in Ages Past)
The Hymn "Our God, our help in ages past" was recalled by Colonel Archibald Gracie, as the last to be sung at the morning service, presided over by Captain Smith:
'The exercise and the swim gave me an appetite for a hearty breakfast. Then followed the church service in the dining saloon, and I remember how much I was impressed with the "Prayer for those at Sea," also the words of the hymn, which we sang, No. 418 of the Hymnal. About a fortnight later, when I next heard it sung, I was in the little church at Smithtown, Long Island, attending the memorial service in honor of my old friend and fellow member of the Union Club, James Clinch Smith. To his sister, who sat next to me in the pew, I called attention to the fact that it was the last hymn we sang on this Sunday morning on board the Titanic. She was much affected, and gave the reason for its selection for the memorial service to her brother because it was known as Jim's favorite hymn, being the first piece set to music ever played by him as a child and for which he was rewarded with a promised prize, donated by his father.
What a remarkable coincidence that at the first and last ship's service on board the Titanic, the hymn we sang began with these impressive lines:
O God our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home.'
The words to the hymn were written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), for the collection Psalms of David published in 1719. The music, "St. Anne," was composed in 1708. by William Croft (1678-1727).
1. Our God, our Help in ages past,
2. Under the shadow of Thy throne
3. Before the hills in order stood,
4. Thy Word commands our flesh to dust:
5. A thousand ages in Thy sight
6. The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
7. Time, like an ever rolling stream,
8. Like flowery fields the nations stand,
St Anne (Croft) (midi)
Colonel Archibald Gracie (1913) The Truth about the Titanic. New York, Mitchell Kennerley
The Cyber Hymnal
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Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Wednesday 12th October 2005, last updated Friday 21st November 2014.