|Composer:||John Bacchus Dykes (1861)|
|Incipit:||13355 66551 27554|
|Source:||Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861|
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.
The original chant melody associated with this text [i.e., "Eternal Father, strong to save"] is found in most hymnals of denominations where chant has played a role, including the Lutheran tradition, which has produced much organ music on this well-known chant.
The setting here is by John B. Dykes (PHH 147), originally composed as a setting for William Whiting's "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) with that text, MELITA is often referred to as the "navy hymn." The tune is named after the island of Malta where Paul was shipwrecked.
A fine tune, MELITA is marked by good use of melodic sequences and a harmony that features several dominant sevenths (both are Dykes's trademarks). Sing in harmony; because the lines flow into each other in almost breathless fashion, use a stately tempo.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987