Lyte, Henry Francis

Lyte, Henry Francis (1793 - 1847)


Henry Francis Lyte was born on June 1, 1793, at Ednam, Scotland, and educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (the alma mater of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, in Northern Ireland) and Trinity College, Dublin, where he won the Chancellor's Prize for English verse three years in a row, and from which he graduated in 1814. After being ordained in the Church of England, Lyte became a minister in Marazion, Cornwall, in 1817. He and Anne Maxwell wed on Jan. 21, 1818, and they set up house in Lymington. He published Tales in Verse in 1826, the first of his three volumes of poetry. By 1823 Lyte had become curate at All Saints Church in Lower Brixham, Devonshire. Dublin in 1830, and Oxford in 1834, granted him Master's degrees, but the one memorable "spirit-moving lay" that Lyte confessed, in his poem "Declining Days," he so longed to write in 1839 finally came to him in the days preceding his last sermon in late summer 1847. "Abide with Me" is a hymn universally beloved for memorial services and is sung annually by tens of thousands at the Football Association Cup Final at Wembley Stadium before the kick-off (beginning in 1927, at the suggestion of King George V). Lyte died on Nov. 20, 1847, at Nice, France, and is interred in the English Cemetery there. Three sons and a daughter survived him. One hundred years later, a tablet bearing his name, dates, and the first line of his greatest poem was placed in Westminister Abbey.


  • Lyte, Henry Francis. Poems, Chiefly Religious. London, 1833.
  • --. Miscellaneous Poems. London, 1868.
  • --. The poetical works of the Rev. H.F. Lyte, M.A.. Ed. John Appleyard. London: E. Stock, 1907. PR 4897 L6 A17 1907 Victoria College (Emmanuel)
  • --. The Spirit of the Psalms. London, 1834.
  • --. Tales in Verse illustrative of the several petitions of the Lord's Prayer. London, 1826.
  • Skinner, Basil Garnet. Henry Francis Lyte: Brixham's poet and priest. Exeter: University of Exeter, 1974. BV 330 L9S55 Robarts Library
Given Name
Henry Francis
Family Name
Birth Date
June 1, 1793
Death Date
November 20, 1847
Family Relations
wife : Anne Maxwell Lyte (from 21 Jan. 1818)
  • Minister

Literary Period
Literary Movement
First RPO Edition