Facts About "Abide With Me"
Abide with Me was written by Henry Francis Lyte and was tuned to “Eventide” of composer William Henry Monk. Lyte wrote the poem in Crossabeg, County Wexford, Ireland, in Artramon House during the Great Famine in 1847.
The opening line of the hymn was taken from the Scripture Luke 24:29, "Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent", while the last verse is from 1 Corinthians 15:55, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?". The hymn is a prayer asking the Lord to remain present throughout the speaker’s life.
Henry Francis Lyte was an Anglican minister and vicar of All Saints’ Church in Brixham, England. He was a curate from 1815 to 1818 in County Wexford. According to an article in The Spectator dated October 3, 1925, Lyte composed the hymn while visiting a dying friend, William Augustus Le Hunte, in 1820. He stayed with the Hore family in County Wexford at that time. William kept repeating the phrase ‘Abide With Me’ during the visit. Francis wrote the hymn when he left his old friend’s bedside and gave a copy of it to William’s family.
Lyte was diagnosed with tuberculosis and while he was lay dying, he set the hymn to music. He died three weeks after he completed it. Abide with Me was first sung at Lyte’s funeral. The hymn became popular on many Christian churches and was said to be King George V and Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite. That being said, it was played by the Mysore Palace Band during Gandhi’s visit to the Kingdom of Mysore. Aside from religious services, the hymn is also often used on military services, in sport, in film and television, and even in literature. There was also a dance-mixed version of the hymn by Vic Reeves in 1991. Moreover, the hymn was included in Elton John’s album in 1997, Carnival: Rainforest Foundation Concert.