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THE REV. HENRY FRANCIS LYTE
01 June 1793 - 20 November 1847

Philip was married to Amelia Charlotte Lyte, half-sister of Henry Francis Lyte, composer of 'Abide with me' and of 'Praise my soul the King of Heaven' among other poems. He also held the curacy for a time, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Lymington.

The following is copied from a newspaper article of 26 December 1987 about Henry Lyte.

One hundred and forty years ago on 20 November 1847 The Rev. Henry Francis Lyte died. He was born on 01 June 1793 at Ednam in Roxburghshire. His mother was Anna Maria Oliver and Father was Thomas Lyte, a former Royal Marines officer who was only interested in shooting and fishing.
There were three boys in addition to a daughter, Amelia, all died before Henry Francis. The parents separated and the two older boys were sent to school in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh but the Father went off to Jersey and left no financial provisions for his family. The boys were saved from the Poor Law Institution by becoming foster children of the head of school.
Henry went to Dublin University when only 16 years and was ordained in 1815.

When first married he lived at Sway Cottage in the New Forest. (Later called 'The Hollies) Here he gained his Master degree, which he visited Dublin to receive.
While at Sway Cottage he concentrated on writing poetry. These poems included tales to illustrate the Lord's prayer. The New Forest climate suited Henry who had been ill but he regretfully had to leave and moved to Dittisham-on-the-Dart. He moved from various churches both in Ireland and England and finally settled in Lower Brixham in Devon.

He was often ill but his wife was able to support him because of her private income. They had three sons and a daughter. Henry Lyte wrote 'Abide With Me' only a month before he died. He was sitting on a favourite seat in his garden and he gave a copy of the hymn to his daughter with the music he had composed for it.
The tune normally used today is W. H. Monk's 'Eventide'.

The hymn was a favourite of George V and Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Explorer, who took with him on his last voyage, a record of Dame Clara Butt singing the hymn to a tune by S. H. Liddle.

It was first sung at a Wembley Cup Final in April 1927 by 100,000 soccer fans.

'Abide With Me' has given comfort to thousands since its first appearance. One of it's admirers argued that it has enabled many to see suffering in a new light, since it's author understood the nature of physical suffering. Verses 3 to 5 are not generally known.


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 dwellst 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 every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners and abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth did smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, 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.

 

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