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U.S.S. RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN-687)
THE LAST HYMN
The Sabbath Day was ending in a village by the sea,
The uttered benediction touched the people tenderly,
And they rose to face the sunset in the glowing, lighted west,
And then hastened to their dwellings for God's blessed boon of rest.
But they looked across the waters, and a storm was raging there;
A fierce spirit moved above them-the wild spirit of the air-
And it lashed, and shook, and tore them till they thundered,
groaned and boomed
And, alas! for any vessel in their yawning gulfs entombed.
Very anxious were the people on that rocky coast of Wales,
Lest the dawns of coming morrows should be tielling awful tales,
When the sea had sepnt its passion and should cast upon the shore
Bits of wreck, and swollen victims, as it had done heretofore.
With the rough winds blowing round her a brave woman strained
As she saw along the billows a large vessel fall and rise.
Oh! it did not need a prophet to tell what the end must be,
For no ship could ride in safety near that shore on such a sea.
Then the pitying people hurried from their homes and thronged
Oh, for power to cross the waters and the perishing to reach!
Helpless hands were wrung in terror, tender hearts grew cold
And the ship surged by the tempest to the fatal rock-shore sped.
"She has parted in the middle! Oh, the half of her goes down!
God have mercy! Is His heaven far to seek for those who drown?"
Lo! when next the white, shocked faces looked with terror on the sea,
Only one last clinging figure on a spar was seen to be.
Nearer to the trembling watchers came the wreck tossed by the wave,
And the man still clung and floated, though no power on earth
"Could we send him a short message? Here's a trumpet, shout away!"
"Twas the preacher's hand that took it, and he wondered what to say.
Any memory of his sermon? Firstly? Secondly? Ah, no.
There was but one thing to utter in that awful hour of woe,
So he shouted through the trumpet, "Look to Jesus! Can you hear?"
And "Aye, aye, sir!" rang the answer o'er the waters loud and clear.
Then they listened. "He is singing, 'Jesus lover of my soul.' "
And the winds brought back the echo, "While the nearer waters roll."
Strange indeed to hear him, "Till the storm of life is past,"
Singing bravely o'er the waters. "Oh, receive my soul at last."
He could have no other refuge- "Hangs my helpless soul on thee."
"Leave, oh! leave me not" -- The singer dropped at last into the sea.
And the watchers looking homeward, through their eyes by tears
Said, "He passed to be with Jesus in the singing of that hymn.
|Ron is on the right side of the photograph