Abide With Me

Abide With Me
Music by William Henry Monk. Lyrics by Henry Francis Lyte. Revised by Charlie Skarbek.

Released in 1999 on the various artists album Land Of My Fathers recorded with the Morriston Rugby Choir. Charlie Skarbek played the guitar for this song and he was also the producer.

This hymn had been repeatedly played among other songs by the seven musicians of the band of the Titanic as the ship went down. No member of the band survived.2

The original song has three more verses and was called “Eventide”. It was in the compilation of “Hymns Ancient and Modern” (1859-1861). This most popular English hymnal ever published and was created under the musical editorship of William H. Monk (1823-1889) to compile all the individual songs of the Anglican church of the 1st half of the 19th century. Also Greek and Latin hymns were translated into English for this work.5

“Abide with Me” is an evening hymn. Its word pictures are taken from the experience of the passing day: falling eventide, deepening darkness, growing dimness, and fading glories. In that, it can also be an introspective of the end of life

Stricken with tuberculosis, Henry resigned the parish he pastored in England. It is said that he almost had to crawl to the pulpit for the final sermon. He wrote this prayer to Christ, echoing the words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who pleaded the risen Christ to “abide with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent.” Soon after he died, at the age of 54. What a joy when a believer can approach death as Mr. Lyte did, or as did the uncle of this writer, “I want to see Jesus.”

But this text is also a prayer for living life now. The original hymn had eight stanzas and the three that are usually omitted also are a prayer for today. (Additional Lyrics) In all, this hymn reminds us to plead with our Lord to abide with us. Stay with us. Be there unchanging when all around us changes. Through cloud and sunshine, abide. “In life and death, O Lord, abide with me.”

Hymn Story:
It is commonly reported that Henry Lyte wrote this hymn in 1847, when he was dying of tuberculosis. He reportedly finished it the Sunday he preached his farewell sermon to the parish he had served for many years, before leaving for Italy in hopes of restoring his health. However, there is evidence that he wrote this hymn in 1820, after visiting a dying friend, who, on his death bed, kept murmuring the passage from Luke 24:29, where the disciples who were traveling to Emmaus asked Jesus to “abide with us, for it is evening and day is almost spent.” Perhaps, feeling his own frailty on that Sunday in 1847, he remembered the hymn he had previously written, and brought it out at that time, lending credence to the first scenario.

Originally with a tune that was also written by Lyte, this hymn was not widely used at that time. It was first published in England in a book “Lyte’s Remains, 1850, and in America in Henry Ward Beecher’s Plymouth Collection, 1855. It was discovered by William Monk and included by him in Hymns, Ancient and Modern, 1861.

Lyte desired to leave behind a hymn that would endure. One of his earlier poems stated it: “Some simple strain, some spirit-moving lay, Some sparklet of the soul that still might live When I was passed to clay… And grant me … my last breath to spend In song that may not die!”

ave Maria 1979

h-AbideWithMe-l

Lyrics:

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

Together with choir:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earths joys grows dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
O thou who changed not, abide with me

Abide with me
Fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens
Lord give me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh abide with me

(Transcribed by Patrick)

8 thoughts on “Abide With Me”

  1. How lucky we are Pieter that you and Dame Shirley Bassey always give us more and more and more !!! We have so many reasons to thank you both for ” IT ” !!!!!🌹

    Liked by 1 person

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