Abide With Me
by Henry F. Lyte, 1847
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness thickens. Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come, not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea,
Come, friend of sinners, and abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, 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, O 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;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
The summer was passing away, and the month of September (that month in which he was once more to quit his native land), and each day seemed to have a special value as being one day nearer his departure. His family were surprised and almost alarmed at his announcing his intention of preaching once more to his people. His weakness, and the possible danger attending the effort, were urged to prevent it, but in vain. It was better, as he used often playfully to say, when in comparative health, to wear out than to rust out. He felt that he should be enabled to fulfill his wish, and feared not for the result. His expectation was well founded. He did preach, and amid the breathless attention of his hearers gave them the sermon on the Holy Communion…He afterwards assisted at the administration of the Holy Eucharist, and though necessarily much exhausted by the exertion and excitement of this effort, yet his friends had no reason to believe that it had been hurtful to him. In the evening of the same day he placed in the hands of a near and dear relative the little hymn, Abide with Me, with an air of his own composing, adapted to the words.
Anna Maria Maxwell Hogg
Remains of the Late Rev. Henry Francis Lyte
London: Rivington, 1850