ABIDE WITH ME
Luke 24:29 "But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over. So He went in to stay with them' ".
Long before I realized what a total anglophile I was, this hymn was one of my most favorite. It is what I call "exquisite". By that I mean that it is a rare combination, to me, of the perfect melody combined with the perfect words.I love it best sung acapella. So totally "English". It was sung at the weddings of George VI and later, his daughter's, Queen Elizabeth II. It is always sung at the beginning of the English FA Cup Final (since 1927) and at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final. It is sung at Rememberance Day (Veteran's) celebrations in Australia, Canada and the UK. It's also surprising to note that it was one on Mahatma Ghandi's favorite songs. No wonder it is considered England's national hymn.
The tune is "Eventide", composed by William H. Monk in 1861, just for these words. The lyrics were written by Henry Frances Lyte in 1847.
Lyte was Scottish, well-educated, and was often quoted as saying "It is better to wear out than rust out". He was a musician, poet and a minister. Lyte was never healthy, suffering from asthma and tuberculosis. He eventually decided to move to Italy to try to improve his health. He never made it. On his way to Rome he died in Nice, France, and was buried there. He composed the words to "Abide With Me" just three weeks before he died.
There are many verses to this hymn. The best thing is to check them out on the Internet:
Once again, go to www.YouTube.com, type in "abide with me". Check out Haley Westenra at the Crystal Cathedral. I cried when I heard this one. Libera is excellent: typical English boys' choir. Oh, and don't miss Elton John. Yes, I said Elton John!
The sampler is one I did maybe 10 years ago. It's by Stoney Creek. It's my always reminder of the hymn I love so much and am not embarrassed to say that I want it sung at my memorial service.
Lovely, lovely hymn!