Saturday, 29 November 2008

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.

I'm not religious. Haven't been since my teens. But this hymn can make me cry. It was the favourite of one of my grandmothers. Also a favourite of Gandhi's (which us why you'll hear it at events associated with him), and just about the only thing my nana had in common with the Mahatma, who she didn't like very much. And it was sung at my mother's funeral last year.


Sharanya said...

Thank you for posting this. I haven't sung this since my school days, which were eons ago. This came..just in time.

Mithe said...

Thank you for a wonderful remembrance and welcome back with a bang!

nancy said...

This was so moving Peter..

1conoclast said...


Mom taught us this in school. And yes as Gandhiji's favourite hymn.
Which is one big reason for me to like it, but isn't my reason. It moves me. It does almost bring tears to my eyes.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Thank you, this is the first time I've read the full hymn. "Fast falls the eventide" has always been a favourite phrase.



Peter here as promised! And AWM is my favourite hymn too, with the de rigueur tears. There's a Jesuit school next to my office, and each time the school band plays it I go out to listen and flush my tear ducts :) Remember that scene in "A Bridge Too Far" where all those battered and shot airborne troops sing it together?

atreyee said...

And my other favourite is Amazing Grace (not the film...) though ofcourse it has a very differant feel to it...
thanks Peter...

Dez said...

everytime i heard Abide With Me, i was at a i connect this hymn with it tradition to sing it at christian funerals?