Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star

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Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star

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“Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star” is a Marian hymn written by Father John Lingard (1771–1851), a Catholic priest and historian who, through the works of William Cobbett, helped to smooth the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in England.

Contents

History[edit]

Loosely based on the medieval Latin plainchant Ave maris stella, the hymn is generally sung to the modified traditional English melody Stella. This melody was published in 1851 by Henri Frederick Hemy in his “Easy Hymn Tunes for Catholic Schools“. The name Stella comes from the village of that name near Newcastle-upon-Tyne where Hemy was the organist in a local church.[1][2] According to one account, after playing the organ for evening benediction on Sunday at Stella, he called into the (old) Board Inn at the foot of Stella Lane with some companions and seated at the piano first played his rendition of the tune.[3]

J. Vincent Higginson described it as “one of the oldest English vernacular hymns commonly found in Catholic hymnals.”[4]

Nautical imagery[edit]

A ship was an early Christian symbol. The word “nave”, used to describe the main body of a church, is from the medieval Latin word navis, meaning “ship”, possibly with some reference to the “Ship of St Peter” or the Ark of Noah.[5] Catherine of Siena described the Church as a ship.[6] The image was transferred to the individual travelling on life’s stormy or tempestuous seas.[4] This motif of a ship can also be found in the first stanza of Mother Dear, O Pray For Me,[7] as well as in Matthew 8:22-34, where Christ calmed the storm for his apostles who were travelling by boat, and walked on the water with St Peter. Moreover, in Matthew 4:18-22, it says that many of the apostles were fishermen and that Christ made St Peter and St Andrew fishers of men.

Music[edit]


{ \new ChoirStaff <<
    \language "english" 
  \new Staff << 
    \new Voice \relative c'' { \set Staff.midiInstrument = "church organ" \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t \override Score.BarNumber  #'transparent = ##t \tempo 4 = 100 \voiceOne \clef treble \key ef \major \time 3/4
  \partial 4
  bf4 | bf( g) bf | bf2 ef4 | ef( d) c | bf2
  bf4 | bf( af) g | f( g) af | g( bf) g | f2
  bf4 | bf( g) bf | bf2 ef4 | ef( d) c | bf2
  bf4 | bf( af) g | f( g) af | g2 f4 | ef2.
  f4. g8 af4 | g2. | bf4 g c | bf2.
  c4 ef4. c8 | bf4.( af8) g4 | af2 f4 | ef2. \bar "|."
 } 
   \addlyrics {\set stanza = #"1. "
    Hail, Queen of Heav'n, the O -- cean Star,
    Guide of the wan -- d'rer here be -- low,
    Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care,
    Save us from per -- il and from woe.
    Mo -- ther of Christ, Star of the sea
    Pray for the wan -- d'rer, pray for me.
   }
   \addlyrics {\set stanza = #"2. "     
   O gen -- tle, chaste, and spot -- less Maid,
   We sin -- ners make our prayers through thee
   Re -- mind thy Son that He has paid
   ⁠The price of our in -- i -- qui -- ty.
   ⁠Vir -- gin most pure, Star of the sea,
   ⁠Pray for the sin -- ner, pray for me.
   }
   \addlyrics {\set stanza = #"3. "
   So -- journ -- ers in this vale of tears,
   ⁠O thee, blest Ad -- vo -- cate, we cry,
   Pi -- ty our sor -- rows, calm our fears,
   ⁠And soothe with hope our mi -- se -- ry.
   ⁠Re -- fuge in grief, Star of the sea,
   ⁠Pray for the mourn -- er, pray for me.
   }
   \addlyrics {\set stanza = #"4. "
   And while to Him who reigns a -- bove,
   ⁠In God -- head One, in Per -- sons Three,
   The source of life, of grace, of love,
   ⁠Ho -- mage we pay on bend -- ed knee;
   ⁠Do thou, bright Queen, Star of the sea.
   ⁠Pray for thy child -- ren, pray for me
   }
    \new Voice \relative c'' { \voiceTwo 
  g4 | g( ef) g | g2 g4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2
  g4 | g( f) ef | d( ef) d | ef2 ef4 | d2
  f4 | g( ef) g | g2 g4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2
  g4 | g( f) ef | f( e) f | ef2 d4 | ef2.
  d4. ef8 f4 | ef2. | g4 ef f | f2.
  af4 af4. af8 | g4.( f8) ef4 | c ef d | bf2.
 } 
  >>
  \new Staff <<
    \new Voice \relative c' { \set Staff.midiInstrument = "church organ" \clef bass \key ef \major \time 3/4 \voiceOne
  ef4 | ef bf ef | ef2 bf4 | c4 bf af | g2
  g4 | g( af) bf | bf2 bf4 | bf2 bf4 | bf2
  d4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2 bf4 | c4 bf af | g2
  g4 | g( af) bf | c( bf) af | bf2 af4 | g2.
  bf4. bf8 bf4 | bf2. | ef2 ef4 | d2.
  ef4 c4. ef8 | ef4.( bf8) bf4 | af c bf8 af | g2. \bar "|."
 }
    \new Voice \relative c { \voiceTwo 
  ef4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2
  ef4 | ef( f) g | af g f | ef g ef4 | bf2
  bf4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2 ef4 | ef2
  ef4 | ef( f) g | af( g) f | bf2 bf,4 | ef2.
  bf4. bf8 bf4 | ef2. | ef4 g af | bf2.
  af4 af4. af8 | ef2 ef4 | f2 bf,4 | ef2.
 } 
>> >> }

Tolkien[edit]

Much has been written of the influence of Tolkien‘s Catholicism on the imagery he employs. In his legendariumVarda, also known as Elbereth, is one of the Valar and the highest of the “guardians”. Peter Kreeft sees her as one of the clearest reflections of Roman Catholic Marian devotion in Tolkien’s work.[8] Both Marjorie Burns and Stratford Caldecott see in the Elvish hymn A Elbereth Gilthoniel an echo of the Marian hymn, Hail Queen of Heaven.[9] According to Caldecott, “Tolkien would have been familiar with one of the most popular Catholic hymns from his childhood, the tone and mood of which are markedly close to those of Tolkien’s song to Elbereth.”[10]

O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,

Thy Starlight on the Western seas.[10]

References[edit]

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