#166 Abide with Me!

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1. 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!

2. 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!

3. I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!
Text: Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847

Music: William H. Monk, 1823-1889

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte.

He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

Religious services

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

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 29 January at Vijay ChowkNew Delhi, which officially marks the end of Republic Day celebrations.[4][8] A choral version of this hymn has been arranged by Moses Hogan.


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 ca. 1890 by the American Composer Charles Ives, and was first published in his collection Thirteen Songs in 1958, four years after his death.[10]

The 27th Lancers Drum & Bugle Corps in 1975 and 1976 used the hymn in an original work, entitled “Spectrum Novum”, written by legendary brass instructor/arranger Jim Wedge.

The pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards covered the song for their 2007 album, Spirit Of The Glen.

Hayley Westenra recorded the hymn on her third international album, Treasure, and is among those to have performed it live at various sporting events, including the Rugby LeagueChallenge Cup Final in August 2009.

FA Cup Final

Since 1927, 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.[11]

It also featured on the B-side of the The ChristiansHolly JohnsonPaul McCartneyGerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman charity single Ferry Cross the Mersey in 1989, which was recorded in memory of the Hillsborough disaster victims.

Challenge Cup Final

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.[12]

Written By: Henry F. Lyte

Henry Francis Lyte (1 June 1793 – 20 November 1847) was a Scottish Anglican divine and hymn-writer.

Lyte’s first composition was Tales in Verse illustrative of Several of the Petitions in the Lord’s Prayer (1826), written at Lymington and commended by John Wilson in the Noctes Ambrosianae. Lyte next published Poems, chiefly Religious (1833), and in 1834, a small collection of psalms and hymns entitled The Spirit of the Psalms. After his death, a volume ofRemains (1850) with a memoir was issued, and the poems contained in this, with those in Poems, chiefly Religious, were afterward published in one volume (1868). Three of Lyte’s best-known hymns are paraphrases of psalms, published in The Spirit of the Psalms: “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” (Psalm 103), “God of Mercy, God of Grace” (Psalm 67), and “Pleasant are thy courts above” (Psalm 84).[29]

Lyte’s best known hymns are:

Of these hymns, “Abide With Me” is the best known.[30] According to the traditional story given in the Remains, Lyte wrote it a few hours after conducting the final service at his church, which was probably 5 September 1847.[31] More likely the hymn was actually written in July or August of that year.[32] Lyte himself created for the hymn what his biographer has disparaged as “a dull tune.” When Hymns Ancient and Modern was published in 1861, the editor, William H. Monk—whose three-year-old daughter had just died—composed his own tune, “Eventide,” for Lyte’s poem.[33] The hymn became a favorite of George V and George VI and was sung at the former’s funeral. The hymn also inspired Field Marshall Herbert Kitchener and General Charles “Chinese” Gordon, and it was said to have been on the lips of Edith Cavell as she faced a German firing squad.[34] “Abide with Me” has been sung at theFA Cup finals since 1927 when the association secretary substituted the hymn for the playing of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”[35]

Music By: William H. Monk

Probably better known in his day as an organist, church musician, and music editor, William Henry Monk (16 March 1823 – 18 March 1889) composed a fair number of popular hymn tunes, including one of the most famous from nineteenth century England, “Eventide”, used for the hymn Abide with Me. He also wrote music for church services and a number of anthems.

Monk was born in London in 1823. His youth is not well documented, but it seems he developed quickly on the keyboard, but perhaps less so in composition. By age 18 he was organist at St. Peter’s Church, Eaton Square (Central London). He left after two years, and moved onto two more organist posts in London (St. George’s Church, Albemarle Street, and St. Paul’s Church, Portman Square), each also for two years and each serving as a stepping stone toward fostering his musical ambitions.

In 1847 Monk secured the post of choirmaster at King’s College, London. There he would develop an interest in incorporating plainchant into Anglican service, an idea suggested by William Dyce, a King’s College professor with whom Monk had much contact. Monk also became organist at King’s (1849), then in 1852 became organist and choirmaster at St. Matthias Church,Stoke Newington, where he began instituting many changes: plainchant was used in singing psalms and the music performed was more appropriate in regards to the church calendar. By now Monk was also arranging hymns, as well as writing his own hymn melodies. In 1857 his talents as composer, arranger, and editor were recognized when he was appointed the musical editor for Hymns Ancient and Modern, a volume first published in 1861 containing hundreds of hymns that would become, after supplements were added (second edition—1875; later additions or supplements—1889, 1904, and 1916) one of the best-selling hymn books ever produced.

It was for this publication that Monk supplied his famous Eventide tune, as well as several others, including Gethsemane, Ascension, and St. Denys. In 1874 Monk was appointed professor of vocal studies at King’s College; subsequently he accepted similar posts at two other prestigious London music schools, the first at the National Training School for Music, in 1876, and the second at Bedford College, in 1878. Monk remained active in composition in his later years, writing not only hymn tunes but also anthems and other works. He died on 18 March 1889.