Order of the Cynthian Palm

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Crossing the Bar
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

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 crossed the bar.

This is the last one of my compositions that wasn't written originally on the computer. It is simple but effective I think.

There have been several notable musical settings of the poem from the anthem setting of Sir Hubert Parry to the modern folk-like version of Salamander Crossing.

All the descriptions of how this poem came to be written seem to vary; the "bar" of the title is undoubtedly a sandbar but it's original location seems to change from version to version (It's usually thought to be off the Isle of Wight.). Tennyson, though, uses it as a metaphor for dying and he insisted it be published at the end of all collections of his poetry. Though it is generally assumed, with some justification, that the "Pilot" at the end of the poem refers to God, apparently the poet did not entirely hold conventional religious views. Therefore it is sometimes thought that it may refer to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-33) whose early death inspired the famous poem "In Memoriam".

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