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Ocean of Peace

for SATB choir and piano

Year:  2023

Year:  2023

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton


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This text written by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), the great Indian/Bengali poet and Renaissance man, in 1939. He intended it to be sung at the end of one of his most popular plays "The Post Office", a play about a young boy who is very ill, and hopes to receive a visit from the Raja (king) before he passes away. The polestar alluded to in this song is also referenced near the end of the play, where it is mentioned by Amal, the boy who is sick. It is Amal, one presumes, that the perspective of the song is sung from. This song was actually not performed after the play as intended, but Tagore later requested that it be sung at his own funeral, which it was, after his death in 1941.

Although originally a text about the comfort one seeks at the end of life, it can also be seen as a more general blessing, or invocation to the "Great Unknown". To the text, the Latin appeal for peace - dona nobis pacem - has been added, plus a final 'Amen'.

Ocean of Peace was written for conductor David Gordon, for performance in December 2023 by South Auckland Choral Society.

Text note

The ocean of peace lies ahead of me.
Sail the boat, O pilot
You are my constant companion now.
Take me in your lap.
Along our journey to the infinite.
The pole star alone will shine.
Giver of Freedom
Set me free.
May your forgiveness and compassion
Be my eternal resources for the journey —
May the mortal ties fall away,
May the vast universe
Hold me in embrace,
And with an undaunted heart
May I come to know the Great Unknown.

Dona nobis pacem Amen