Sunday, July 27, 2014

Abide With Me

At the end of some estate sales, the sellers will tell the buyers to "fill up a box or a bag" with items and give them a low, fixed price on the lot, usually five or ten dollars.  That's how I ended up with this little book last weekend.  Several members of this family had been involved in serving other people through their churches.

"Abide With Me" is a classic Christian hymn.  The lyrics were written in 1847 by Henry Lyte, who died of tuberculosis three weeks after he penned the words.  The publishers, Cupples & Leon, printed this illustrated version of the lyrics in about 1900.  They were known for producing nice-looking books at a reasonable price.  They also produced similar small volumes based on other favorite hymns, including "Lead Kindly Light,"  Psalm 23, "Rock of Ages" and others. 

In "Abide With Me," no credit is given to the artist(s) who did the artwork and the gilt calligraphy.

Here are Lyte's original words; the singer is speaking to God.

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.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, 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 Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


Here's a link to the chorus of King's College, Cambridge, England, singing Lyte's words to the tune written by William H. Monk in 1861.

You can listen to a basic rendition of the score, and read the other verses of the hymn, on the Cyberhymnal website:

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