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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Abide With Me

For 25 years Henry Lyte (1793-1847) had been vicar of the Devonshire fishing village of Lower Brixham. However by the age of 54, his health had broken and he was preparing to leave for the south of France. This immortal hymn was written shortly before his departure from Lower Brixham after taking his final service. He died of consumption at Nice in southern France three weeks later. So "Abide With Me" is a hymn about death, but also about faith.

"Abide with Me" was one of the songs repeatedly played by the 7 musicians of the band of the Titanic as the ship went down. No member of the band survived.

The hymn was much parodied by soldiers in the First World War, one common version being. "We've had no beer, we've had no beer today."



This provided much comfort to Edith Cavell (1865-1915), the British World War 1 nurse, who was imprisoned and condemned to death by the Germans for helping wounded soldiers to escape. Permission was given for the English chaplain, Stirling Graham, to visit her in her cell the night before she was to be shot and together they sung the words of this hymn.

"Abide with Me has been sung just before the start at the English FA Cup Final since 1927.

Taken from Abide With Me Songfacts

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