Henry Lyte wrote the text of Abide with me
whilst he was dying of tuberculosis, complete with his own tune. Lyte received his last sacraments from Henry Manning (still at that time an Anglican) at Nice on 20 November 1847. The opening lines seem to hint at the words spoken to Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24: 29. One of the most popular funeral hymns of the last century and a half, it has been frequently immortalized in film and television, and was performed at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The popular tune Eventide by W H Monk (1823–1889) was one of fifteen original tunes written for the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern of 1861. Perhaps surprisingly to our twenty-first century ears, Monk criticized sentimentality in Church music, and was a champion of the restoration of plainsong in the Anglican liturgy. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery, where a memorial was erected by public subscription.
from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014