Sicilian Mariners (Lord I hear) (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2006-04-07)  CPDL #11405:     
Editor: Tim Henderson (submitted 2006-04-07).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 38 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Tune and Harmony from Rippon's Tunebook (including suspect bass notes in bar 5!). Original text given was "Guide me O thou great Jehovah". This text by Elizabeth Codner.

General Information

Title: Sicilian Mariners (Lord I hear)
Composer: Anonymous

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: SAB
Genre: SacredHymn

Language: English

First published: 1792 in The European Magazine, and London Review, volume 22, pages 385-386
Description: For the melody on which this hymn tune is based, see O santissima (Traditional). The tune was published with the text 'O sanctissima', titled 'The Sicilian Mariner's Hymn to the Virgin', in The European magazine, and London review, volume 22, pages 385-386, in November 1792. A comment on the piece was made on page 342 of the same magazine:

Wonderful, indeed, is the effect of many voices in unison. A remarkable instance of their effect is mentioned by the ingenious Dr. Burney in his Musical Travels (that entertaining and well-arranged book, which the late Dr. Johnson told his friends he had always an eye to in his voyage to the Hebrides), "Article Venice," where the sensation occasioned by the unison of three thousand voices is described. Travellers all agree in their account of the effects of the simple air called "The Virgin's Hymn," sung in unison by the whole crew of the Sicilian seamen on board their ships when the sun sets, or when it is the twenty-fourth hour of Italy. It is subjoined to the end of the Poetry of this Magazine.

The words are merely,


"O sanctissima! O piissima! dulcis Virgo Maria, mater amata, intemerata, ora pro nobis.
"O spotless Virgin, mother dear,
"Thou holy pious Virgin hear;
"To thee our suppliant lays we pour,
"For wretched fallen man implore."

It would appear that the use of the melody as a hymn tune with English texts originates from this publication: the earliest references to its use in the Hymn Tune Index date from 1793.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Lord, I hear of showers of blessing
Thou art scatt'ring, full and free,
Showers, the thirsty land refreshing;
Let some drops now fall on me,
Even me, even me,
Let some drops now fall on me.

Pass me not, O God, my Father,
Sinful though my heart may be;
Thou mightst leave me, but the rather;
Let thy mercy light on me;
Even me, even me,
Let thy mercy light on me.

Pass me not, O gracious Savior,
Let me live and cling to thee;
I am longing for thy favor;
Whilst thou'rt calling, O call me;
Even me, even me,
Whilst thou'rt calling, O call me.

Pass me not, O mighty Spirit!
Thou canst make the blind to see;
Witnesser of Jesus' merit,
Speak the word of power to me;
Even me, even me,
Speak the word of power to me.

Have I been in sin long sleeping,
Long been slighting, grieving thee?
Has the world my heart been keeping?
O forgive and rescue me;
Even me, even me,
O forgive and rescue me.

Love of God, so pure and changeless,
Blood of Christ, so rich and free;
Grace of God, so strong and boundless
Magnify them all in me;
Even me, even me,
Magnify them all in me.

Pass me not; but pardon bringing,
Bind my heart, O Lord, to thee;
Whilst the streams of life are springing,
Blessing others, O bless me;
Even me, even me,
Blessing others, O bless me.