Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
Here’s another hymn often used at this “Remembrance” time of year. However, Henry Francis Lyte wrote the words as he pondered his own longtime illness – a lung condition which eventually became tuberculosis – and his mortality. There is some controversy as to whether the song was written in 1847, or was merely reworked at that time, and had been written twenty-five years earlier. In any case, Henry died on November 20, 1847, in France, and Abide with Me was first sung at his funeral back in Brixham, Devonshire, England.
Henry Lyte had served as a vicar in the village of Lower Brixham for twenty-three years. He and his wife were a humble couple, but King William IV had been impressed with Lyte’s ministry, and so provided them with a beautiful coastal estate. Unfortunately, the damp winters there exacerbated Henry’s lung condition. He planned and began on a trip to sunny Italy in an attempt to improve his health, stopping in France on the way. There, in Avignon, he further revised Abide with Me and mailed it to his wife. He continued on to Nice, but there his lungs gave out. Another English clergyman was staying at the same hotel, and was with Henry during his final hours. Henry Lyte’s last words were, “Peace! Joy!”Henry Lyte’s last words were, “Peace! Joy!” Click To Tweet