Middle East Resources

On The Passing of Queen Elizabeth II

Bassam Michael Madany

9 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on the Eighth of September 2022. The official notification of her death was made after the Prime Minister was informed by the Queen’s private secretary, the cabinet secretary, and the Privy Council.

The event reminded me of the passing of her grandfather, King George V on 20 January 1936. I was eight years old, living in Alexandretta, Syria. Our neighbors invited the family to listen to the funeral service being broadcast on the BBC. I was very touched by the singing of the hymn ABIDE WITH ME, FAST FALLS THE EVENTIDE. It was decades later that I learned about the British composer of the Hymn, the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte.

“Henry Francis Lyte, an Anglican minister was born in 1793. He pastored a seashore church in England, among the rough sailors and uncultured villagers. They loved him and he loved the work. However, health finally left him, and the doctor advised him to retreat to sunny southern France. The last Sunday before leaving, although he had no strength to stand up and preach, yet he forced himself and preached among his weeping congregation. That evening, by the light of the evening sun, he composed this memorable hymn: “Abide with me, Fast falls the Eventide.”

Henry F. Lyte settled in Nice, France, where he died on 20 November 1847. The British came to this city on the Mediterranean to spend their winters. It was recommended as an ideal location for people suffering from respiratory illnesses. The French called the boulevard where the British lived, Promenade des Anglais. The name is used at present, as I noticed in 1975, when visiting Nice. The hymn was sung for the very first time at his funeral. The tune is "Eventide" by William Henry Monk. (1823 – 1889)

Abide with me, Fast falls the Eventide

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.

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, O 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 thru 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.