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Crossing the Bar

[words Alfred Lord Tennyson (1889), music Rani Arbo]

Jeff Warner sang Crossing the Bar in 2005 on his CD Jolly Tinker, and in 2012 on Short Sharp Shanties Vol. 3. The accompanying notes commented:

This is not, of course, a shanty—or even a folk-song—nor was it sung by John Short. This is a bonus track which we have simply chosen to include on vol. 3 of the CDs. Crossing the Bar is a poem, written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1889, and it has been set to music over ninety times by composers as diverse as Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Philip Sousa. The poem was read as part of John Short's funeral service on Easter Saturday, April 15, 1933, and it seems entirely appropriate to what we know of the man and his attitudes. This exquisite setting, by Rani Arbo of Connecticut, has been recorded by Jeff before, on one of his own CDs, and we have subsequently used it in live performances related to John Short. We just couldn't resist including it as a bonus track—enjoy!

Tan Yows sang Crossing the Bar in 2012 on their CD Undipped.

False Lights sang Crossing the Bar in 2014 on their eponymous EP False Lights and on their live album Live at Folk East, and in 2015 on their CD Salvor.

Will Finn and Rosie Calvert sang Crossing the Bar in 2018 on their CD Beneath This Place.

David Milton sang Crossing the Bar on his 2018 CD Songs from the Bell Man. He noted:

When I first became Town Crier, the Bell Man of the Court Leet of Watchet, I looked up the previous town criers to find out more about them. Yankee Jack was one of those former town criers, and I discovered that the Tennyson poem Crossing the Bar was one of his favourite songs. The love of that poem was shared by another member of the Court Leet, Ben Norman. I had the great honour of singing this song with Ben Norman shortly before he passed away.

Lyrics

David Milton sings Crossing the Bar

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.

When I put out to sea, when I put out to sea.
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell
When I embark.

When I embark, when I embark,
And may there be no sadness or farewell
When I embark.

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.

Turns again home, turns again home,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

For though 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.

When I have crossed the bar, when I have crossed the bar.
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.