Story and Origins of Famous Songs Abide With Me

About the history, origins, and story behind the famous song and Christian hymn Abide With Me.

STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS YOU GREW UP WITH

"ABIDE WITH ME," Henry Francis Lyte and William Henry Monk--1847

According to one poll, "Abide with Me" is the most popular of all the 400,000 Christian hymns in existence, followed, in descending order, by "Nearer, My God, to Thee," "Lead, Kindly Light," and "Rock of Ages."

The words were written by Henry Francis Lyte, an Anglican curate at Lower Brixham, Devonshire, in 1847, and printed in Remains of the Late Rev. H. F. Lyte, M.A. in 1850. He had mentioned the poem in a letter, calling it his "latest effusion"; the title comes from the Bible (Luke 24:29). A sentimental story, since disproved, had it that he wrote the poem after preaching his last sermon to his congregation at Brixham. Actually Lyte died in Nice the same year that he wrote "Abide with Me."

Lyte was born in Scotland and ordained in the Anglican Church after he graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. He wrote several books, among them Tales Illustrative of the Lord's Prayer (1826), Poems, Chiefly Religious (1833), and Miscellaneous Poems (1868).

The music for "Abide with Me" was provided by William Henry Monk, an organist and professor of music. However, the song was called "Evening" when it appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).

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