Henry Francis Lyte Poems

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Henry Francis Lyte
Henry Francis Lyte (June 1, 1793 - November 20, 1847) was an Anglican divine and hymn-writer. He was born in West Mains (a farm) near Ednam, near Kelso, Scotland, which was then known as "the Cottage", in the year 1793. His father was a naval officer, which is curious partly because the farm was not so near the sea. His family came from Somerset in South West England. In 1804, the family went to Ireland and he was educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and at Trinity College, Dublin. He took Anglican holy orders in 1815, and for some time held a curacy near Wexford. In 1817 he was a curate in Cornwall married to Anne who came from Monaghan in Ireland. Owing to bad health he came to England, and after several changes settled, in 1823, in the parish of Lower Brixham, a fishing village in Devon where he helped educate Lord Salisbury, who would become British prime minister no less than three times. In poor health throughout his life, he had consumption, probably due to the damp climate of northern Europe. He visited Continental Europe often, but kept writing, mainly religious poetry and hymns. In 1844 his health finally gave way. After his last service, he penned his most famous hymn Abide With Me. He died just two weeks later in 1847 in Nice in southern France, at age 54, and was buried there. Lyte's first work was Tales in Verse illustrative of Several of the Petitions in the Lord's Prayer (1826), which was written at Lymington and was commended by Wilson in the Noctes Ambrosianae. He next published (1833) a volume Poems, chiefly Religious, and in 1834 a little collection of psalms and hymns entitled The Spirit of the Psalms. After his death, a volume of Remains with a memoir was published, and the poems contained in this, with those in Poems, chiefly Religious, were afterwards issued in one volume (1868). His best known hymns are: Abide with me! fast falls the eventide; Jesus, I my cross have taken; Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven; and Pleasant are Thy courts above. An unpublished poem of his is On My Native Land, which demonstrates his fondness for Scotland, even though he spent most of his life outside the country: "On My Native Land" Beloved Scotland, how shall I forebear to cast a fond but heavy look to thee When shall be mine the soldier, lost to share my native hills and home again to see O loveliest land of all the world to me theme of my sleeping and my waking dreams Dim not my eyes, ye tears of ecstasy how bright thy distant scene to memory seems Ye hills of Cheviot where my infant feet have rambled wild through many a summer's day Ye banks of Tweed, where I once thought it sweet to lie and listen to the skylark's lay A sad farewell I still had hiped to stray and find within your bowers a refuge yet The dream is fled, but this form of clay Till every spark of feeling shall be set Land of my birth, this heart shall never forget thee

abide with me
"Abide with us: for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent."
Luke xxiv.29

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