For Those in Peril on the Sea

Not open for further replies.
I don't know about the various Masses, but when describing the 'hymn sing-song' which took place after dinner on Sunday in the 2nd Class saloon, Lawrence Beesley recalled: "It was curious to see how many chose hymns dealing with dangers at sea. I noticed the hushed tone with which all sang the hymn 'For those in peril on the Sea'."
Interestingly, Gracie backs up Beesley and refers to "the hymn, which we sang". His wording suggests that only one hymn was sung at Captain Smith's service.

I've never seen evidence on the hymns in second class, or at the Catholic observances.
It's often been stated that Eva Hart in 2nd Class remembered singing her favourite hymn 'Oh God Our Help in Ages Past' at the morning service conducted by the 2nd Purser. But perhaps she was recalling it from the evening 'sing-song' described by Beesley. In any event it seems that it was sung on at least one of these occasions in the 2nd Class saloon. That's in addition of course to Gracie's recollection of the same hymn at the 1st Class service.
It would have been very Anglican, I expect. And the hymns chosen would have been well-known to avoid the straggly singing you get in churches when people don't know the tune. So many 19th century Anglican hymns are to do with tribulation and suffering that I don't think it's surprising people chose hymns to do with peril on the sea - they were probably thinking about any ship other than the Titanic. A gesture, so to speak, which only became ironic in retrospect.

When my children were small I took them to the local Baptist church thinking, vaguely, they ought to understand all aspects of life. The Baptists, although rather strict in many ways, certainly knew how to enjoy hymns. They sang many Sankey hymns and harmonized without benefit of choir etc., What A Friend I Have in Jesus and so forth, which was never sung in my Anglican church as a child. It was rather nice. The Minister had been a sailor in his youth, looked just like Bluto, and had tattoos all up his arms. Which I saw on a startling Sunday when he suddenly pulled up a section of floor to reveal a small swimming pool, plunged in with his sleeves rolled up, and baptized several teenagers. My small boys were enraptured. I hadn't realized what 'Baptist' meant, and was slightly alarmed. He was a good man though, and I think I was a bit of a disappointment to him as a parishoner. Read far too much Richard Dawkins probably ....

Inger Sheil

The references to 'Those in Peril on the Sea' (or, as it's formally known, Eternal Father, Strong to Save) being sung aboard reminds me of the Sunday services aboard HMS Conway. James Moody would have sung it every Sunday he was aboard (and, according to Masefield, the boisterous teenage boys tended to get competitive about who could bellow it out more loudly).

Poor Harold Lowe has been criticised on the grounds of tact for his suggestion of Throw Out the Lifeline as a good song to sing in the lifeboats, but as he was a good singer and had been a choirboy in his youth, there's a slim chance he might have been utterly serious!

I've always been partial to Father Mapple's pulpit, Bob - love that chapter of Moby Dick:
Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the architect, it seemed, had acted upon the hint of Father Mapple, and finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used in mounting a ship from a boat at sea. The wife of a whaling captain had provided the chapel with a handsome pair of red worsted man-ropes for this ladder, which, being itself nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany color, the whole contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by no means in bad taste. Halting for an instant at the foot of the ladder, and with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs of the man-ropes, Father Mapple cast a look upwards, and then with a truly sailor-like but still reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted the steps as if ascending the main-top of his vessel.


But the side ladder was not the only strange feature of the place, borrowed from the chaplain's former sea-farings. Between the marble cenotaphs on either hand of the pulpit, the wall which formed its back was adorned with a large painting representing a gallant ship beating against a terrible storm off a lee coast of black rocks and snowy breakers. But high above the flying scud and dark-rolling clouds, there floated a little isle of sunlight, from which beamed forth an angel's face; and this bright face shed a distant spot of radiance upon the ship's tossed deck, something like that silver plate now inserted into Victory's plank where Nelson fell. "Ah, noble ship," the angel seemed to say, "beat on, beat on, thou noble ship, and bear a hardy helm; for lo! the sun is breaking through; the clouds are rolling off- serenest azure is at hand."

Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same sea-taste that had achieved the ladder and the picture. Its panelled front was in the likeness of a ship's bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship's fiddle-headed beak.

What could be more full of meaning?- for the pulpit is ever this earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is the storm of God's quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favorable winds. Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.
It's often been stated that Eva Hart in 2nd Class remembered singing her favourite hymn 'Oh God Our Help in Ages Past' at the morning service conducted by the 2nd Purser.
I've just spent more time than I want to think about looking for Hart's book, which I've packed away while painting. Couldn't find it, so maybe someone else can oblige. On the other hand, the sooner I hie me back to the replastering/painting the sooner I can set the room back up again. So much for thinking I'd have more time for Titanica while on leave!

David Haisman

According to my mother, the hymn, ''For those in Peril on the Sea'' was sung at the service held by the Rev. Carter in the ship's library during the evening service.

David H
Every time i hear that song, i can't help but think of how, (no offense to living family members of those who survived and those who died), interesting it is that this particular song was played, on the day it sank, no matter how many hours it was played before it sank. It gives me chills when that song is played, because as i said, it reminds me how it was played, and i wonder if any of you get chills by hearing that song?
Not open for further replies.