Little Ship Was on the Sea, A
DESCRIPTION: A ship is overtaken by storm "And all but One were sore afraid Of sinking in the deep." "He to the storm said, 'Peace, be still!' The raging billows cease" "It was the Lord, The Saviour and the Friend"
AUTHOR: Dorothea Ann Thrupp (1779-1847) (source: Sidney Lee, editor, _Dictionary of National Biography: Teach - Tollet_, (London, 1898 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. LVI, p. 336)
EARLIEST DATE: 1855 (Phillips)
KEYWORDS: sea ship storm Jesus
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (8 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1756, "There Was Twa Ships Upon the Sea" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Charlotte Phillips, The Shower of Pearls, (London, 1855 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 29-30, "The Little Ship"
The Albion Sunday School Hymn Book, (Southampton, 1867 ("Digitized by Google")), #64, ("A little ship was on the sea")
[William Reid] "The author of 'The Praise Book'," editor, The Children's Praise Book, (London, 1872 ("Digitized by Google")), #21, "A Little Ship Was on the Sea"
Elementary Books for Catholic Schools: Reading-Book No. II, (London, 1860 ("Digitized by Google")), #32 p. 87, "Jesus on the Waters"
A Selection of Hymns and Poetry Compiled Chiefly for the Use of the Friends' Sabbath Schools, (Liverpool, 1863 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 2-3, "Peace, Be Still"
The [Presbyterian] School Hymnal, (Philadelphia, 1899 ("Digitized by Google")), #67, "A Little Ship Was on the Sea" (1 text attributed to Dorothy A Thrupp and dated 1840, 1 tune attributed to Duncan Hume)
The Methodist Sunday-School Hymn-Book, (London, 1879 ("Digitized by Google")), #150 p. 118, ("A little ship was on the sea")
cf. "Hame To My Nancy" (tune, per GreigDuncan8)
NOTES [488 words]: Matthew 8.27: "Even the winds and the sea obey Him."
The "ADDITIONAL" references illustrate how widely printed this poem was and how it cut across denominations. Lee commented in 1898 that the song was popular among children. Was it not collected, except in GreigDuncan8, because it was known to be non-traditional? On the other hand, if it were that widely known why didn't the collector, Duncan, recognize it? Why did the contributor, who recalled that there was a storm in the forgotten part of the song, not recall where it was learned? Why was it recalled as dealing with two ships? - BS
I would note that few of the printings seem to be Scottish or Presbyterian. Checking my own collection of mostly-American hymnals, I do not find this in any -- not Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Mormon, or non-denominational military. Nor do I find it in Grangers Index to Poetry. There was a certain class of nineteenth century authors who just loved pwecious hymns for wittle people. And they all copied each other. I suspect that is what happened here.
Dorothea, or Dororthy, Ann Thrupp is also responsible for the lyrics to "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," which (unlike "A Little Ship") is still remembered today. Another song, "Come, Happy Children, Come and Raise" ("Child's Song of Praise"), which appeared around 1830 in her Hymns for the Young, and also had some success in the nineteenth century.
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1175, gives this brief biography:
Thrupp, Dorothy Ann, daughter of Joseph Thrupp, of Paddington Green, was b[orn] at London, June 20, 1772, and d[ied] there on Dec. 14, 1847. Her hymns, a few of which have come into extensive use, were contributed to the Rev. W. Carus Wilson's Friendly Visitor and Children's Friend, under the nom de plume of Iota; to Mrs. Herbert Mayo's Sel[ection] of Hy[mn]s and Poetry for the use of Infant Schools and Nurseries, 1838... in which her signature is "D. A. T."; and also to the Hy[mn]s for the Young, which she herself edited for the R. T. S. circa 1830, 4th ed., 1836.
The story of Jesus stilling the storm is in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25. The preceise words "Peace! Be Still!" are in Mark 4:39 (only). The line about even the winds and sea obeying is in all three versins: Matthew 8:27, Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25.
We might incidentally add that the "Sea of Galilee" was actually a lake (in fact called "Lake Huleh" or the like in some sources), and a vessel sailing on it was a boat, not a ship. Most modern translations get this right; the King James Bible, which was obviously the source for this song, does not. To be fair, Greek does not draw a distinction between boats and ships (there is a distinction between large and small vessels, but that's not the same -- and the Bible doesn't seem to pay it much attention anyway). - RBW
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