Please give today to support during one of only two fund drives we run each year. Each month, Hymnary serves more than 1 million users from around the globe, thanks to the generous support of people like you, and we are so grateful. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online using this link.

Alternatively, you may write a check to CCEL and mail it to:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star

Author: Alfred Tennyson, Baron Tennyson (1889)
Published in 170 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Sunset and ev'ning star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning bar
When I put out to sea,
And may there be no moaning bar
When I put out to sea.

2 Twilight and ev'ning bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sad farewell
When I at last embark,
And may there be no sad farewell
When I at last embark.

3 For tho' from time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot's face
When I have crossed the bar,
I hope to see my Pilot's face
When I have crossed the bar.

Source: The Christian Hymnary. Bks. 1-4 #975

Author: Alfred Tennyson, Baron Tennyson

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, son of the Rev. G. C. Tennyson, Rector of Somersby, Lincolnshire, was born at Somersby, Aug. 6, 1809; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge; appointed Poet Laureate in 1850, and raised to the Peerage in 1884. Although Lord Tennyson has not written any hymns, extracts from his poems are sometimes used as such, as "Strong Son of God, immortal Love" (Faith in the Son of God), from the Introduction to his In Memoriam, 1850; the well-known "Too late, too late, ye cannot enter now," and others. The former is sometimes given as "Spirit of immortal Love," and again as "Eternal God, immortal Love." --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)  Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Sunset and evening star
Title: Crossing the Bar
Author: Alfred Tennyson, Baron Tennyson (1889)
Meter: Irregular
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Sunset and evening star. Alfred Lord Tennyson. [Death and Burial.] In Lord Tennyson's Memoir of his father, vol. ii,, p. 366, he gives this account of the writing of this hymn:—

"'Crossing the Bar,' was written in my father's eighty-first year, on a day in October [1889] when we came from Aldworth to Farringford. Before reaching Farringford he had the moaning of the bay in his mind, and after dinner he showed me this poem written out. I said, 'That is the crown of your life's work.' He answered, 'It came in a moment.' He explained the 'Pilot' as ‘That Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.’ ... A few days before my father's death [1892] he said to me, 'Mind you put "Crossing the Bar" at the end of all editions of my poems.' ... My father considered Edmund Lushington's translation into Greek of 'Crossing the Bar' one of the finest translations he had ever read."

This translation into Greek is given in the Memoir. The hymn was first published in Lord Tennyson's Demeter and other Poems, 1889, p. 174.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



Instances (1 - 8 of 8)

Church Gospel Songs and Hymns #653

Church Gospel Songs and Hymns #663

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #618

Clarion Call #161

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #117

Sacred Songs of the Church #290


The Cyber Hymnal #1093

The Liturgy of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives #53

Include 162 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us