Henry Francis Lyte was born June 1st, 1793 in Scotland. A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, Lyte was a multitalented man. He was scholar, poet, musician, pastor, though illness followed him throughout his life.
Described as a “most gifted poet,” Henry F. Lyte has stirred centuries of souls with his precious lines forged of great suffering. The loss of his father as an infant and his mother a few years later left Henry orphaned at age nine. While comforting a dying clergyman, both men discovered in the scriptures their lack of hope. Together they sought and found forgiveness. Lyte would continue his life now in great peace and fervent service to his Master. After years of failing health, Pastor Lyte was beset by ailing frame, succumbing to tuberculosis. He preached his farewell message to his congregation in September of 1847 “as from a dying man.” His eyes drifted oft toward the eternal rest, penning in his final days the beloved hymn “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide.” The Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs hymnal restores the original eight stanzas from Lyte’s pen. Read on, and allow the richness of timeless words to point your heart to the Saviour.
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 ev’ry plea.
Come, friend of sinners, and thus bide with me!
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, though I oft left thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me!
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?
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 then 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 and death, O Lord, abide with me!