Abide with Me

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This article is about the Christian hymn. For other uses, see Abide with Me (disambiguation).
"Abide with Me"
Music: William Henry Monk
Words: Henry Francis Lyte
Language English
Meter 10 10 10 10
Melody name Eventide
"Abide with Me" set to Eventide.

"Abide with Me" is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte, most often sung to English composer William Henry Monk's tune "Eventide."

Lyte wrote the poem in 1847 and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

Lyrics[edit]

The hymn is a prayer for God to remain present with the speaker throughout life, through trials, and through death. The opening line alludes to Luke 24:29, "Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent":

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, 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, thus 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, 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.

[1]

Tune[edit]

An organ performance of "Eventide," best known for its use with the hymn "Abide with Me," performed by Steven Dunlop.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The hymn tune most often used with this hymn is "Eventide" composed by William Henry Monk in 1861.[2]

Alternative tunes include:

  • "Abide with Me," Henry Lyte, 1847
  • "Morecambe", Frederick C. Atkinson, 1870
  • "Penitentia", Edward Dearle, 1874
  • "Woodlands", Walter Greatorex 1916

Popular use[edit]

Religious services[edit]

The hymn is popular across many denominations, and was said to be a favourite of King George V[3] and Mahatma Gandhi.[4] It is also often sung at Christian funerals. In the aftermath of the sinking of RMS Titanic, survivors reported that the Titanic's band played the hymn as the ship was sinking,[5] although detailed studies have identified other songs played by the band.

Military services[edit]

The hymn is sung at the annual Anzac Day services in Australia and New Zealand,[6] and in some Remembrance Day services in Canada[7] and the United Kingdom. It is also played by the combined bands of the Indian Armed Forces during the annual Beating Retreat ceremony held on 26 January at Vijay Chowk, New Delhi, which officially marks the end of Republic Day celebrations.[4][8] A choral version of this hymn has been arranged by Moses Hogan.

Music[edit]

Phrases of the finale of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 are often noted for their similarity to Monk's Eventide.[9]

Thelonious Monk recorded an instrumental version of Abide with Me with his jazz septet as the first track of the 1957 album Monk's Music. In 2006, two different takes of the recording were released on The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings, an anthology of Thelonious Monk's work with John Coltrane.

The hymn was also set to music around 1890 by the American composer Charles Ives, and was published in his collection Thirteen Songs in 1958, four years after his death.[10]

Doris Day recorded this song on her 1962 album "You'll Never Walk Alone."

The pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards played the hymn in their 2007 album, Spirit Of The Glen.

Hayley Westenra recorded the hymn on her third international album, Treasure, and performed it live at various sporting events, including the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final in August 2009.

An instrumental version appears on the 2009 David Friesen David Friesen release, Vanishing the Darkness.

In 2013, Joe McElderry and the Royal Mail Choir recorded the song, and it was released as a charity single on 14 April 2013, raising money for Prostate Cancer UK.[11] This version reached number 19 in the UK indie charts.[12]

At Portora Royal School (the school Henry Francis Lyte attended) the song has become the school's victory song and is sung at the annual Portora Remembrance Service

In sport[edit]

Since the 1927 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Cardiff City, the first and last verses of the hymn are traditionally sung at the FA Cup Final before the kick-off of the match, at around 2.45pm BST.[13]

It also featured on the B-side of the The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman charity single "Ferry Cross the Mersey" in 1989, which was recorded in memory of the Hillsborough disaster victims.

The hymn has been sung prior to the kick-off at every Rugby League Challenge Cup final since 1929, the first final to be held at Wembley Stadium.[14]

"Abide with Me" was also sung at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, performed by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé.[15]

In film and television[edit]

In literature[edit]

  • In the SF novel Voyage by Stephen Baxter, the joint US-Soviet crew of a fictional space station in lunar orbit recite five of the verses as a tribute to three astronauts who were killed following an accident aboard another spacecraft.
  • "Change and decay in all around I see" flash through Belinda's mind in chapter 15 of Some Tame Gazelle, the first published (in England, last published in the U.S.) of Barbara Pym's novels.

Other media[edit]

  • Vic Reeves – 1991 dance-mixed version
  • Elton John – 1997 album Carnival: Rainforest Foundation Concert
  • ITV – coverage of FA Cup competition
  • Old Harry's Game (BBC Radio 4) – Series 1 & 4; Professor Richard Whittingham mentions that his favourite poem was written by Henry Francis Lyte, and proceeds to recite it to Thomas and Scumspawn. He is also taken to the church where Thomas' father is Vicar and proceeds to weep as "Every Cup Final it would get to me".

Other[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Abide with Me". Risa song lyrics archive. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  2. ^ "Abide with Me". The Cyber Hymnal. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  3. ^ "Abide with me". TheFA. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Beating Retreat weaves soul-stirring musical evening". The Times of India. Jan 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jay Henry Mowbray, "Sinking of the Titanic: Eyewitness Accounts", Courier Dover Publications, 1998, p. 62.
  6. ^ "Remembrance – ANZAC Day". RSA. NZ. Archived from the original on 24 April 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-14. 
  7. ^ "A Guide to Commemorative Services" (PDF). Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  8. ^ "Martial music rings down the curtain". The Times of India. Jan 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ Mitchell, Donald (2002), The Mahler Companion, OUP .
  10. ^ Ives, Charles E. Thirteen Songs, New York: Peer International Corporation, 1958.
  11. ^ Abide With Me The Royal Mail Choir & Joe McElderry Amazon.co.uk.
  12. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/archive-chart/_/12/2013-04-27/
  13. ^ "Abide with me". Meanings. UK: Phrases. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  14. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Emeli Sande Wows At London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony". Capital FM. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 

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External links[edit]