Guest poem submitted by Ira Cooper:
(Poem #1007) Abide with me
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 dwell'st 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 thus bide with me. Thou on my head in early youth didst 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.
1847. Since adolescence, this poem always has been a comfort to me. Years later, it is especially so in these traumatic times. Ira. [Background] Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn't make it, though -- he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. For more than a century, the bells of his church at All Saints in in Lower Brixham, Devonshire, have rung out "Abide with Me" daily. The hymn was sung at the wedding of King George VI of Britain, and at the wedding of his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II. -- http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/b/abidewme.htm