1793–1847

Introduction

portrait

Born: June 1, 1793, Ed­nam (near Kel­so), Scotl­and.

Died: No­vem­ber 20, 1847, Nice, France. He had been tra­vel­ing to Rome, Ita­ly, hop­ing a warm­er cli­mate might help his lung prob­lems.

Buried: Sainte Mar­guer­ite Ce­me­te­ry (for­mer­ly known as the Ci­me­tière Ang­li­can de Cau­ca­da), Nice, France.

portrait

Biography

Orphaned at an ear­ly age, Lyte at­tend­ed Trin­i­ty Col­lege in Dub­lin, Ire­land, dis­ting­uish­ing him­self in Eng­lish po­et­ry.

In 1815, he was or­dained, and served a num­ber of par­ish­es in Ire­land and wes­tern Eng­land. For most of his ca­reer, though, he was pas­tor at All Saints Church in Low­er Brix­ham, De­von­shire, Eng­land.

Publications

Poem

Ere the Night Fall

Why do I sigh to find
Life’s evening shadows gathering round my way,
The keen eye dimming, and the buoyant mind
Unhinging day by day?

I want not vulgar fame—
I seek not to survive in brass or stone!
Hearts may not kindle when they hear my name,
Nor tears my value own:

But might I leave behind
Some blessing for my fellows, some fair trust
To guide, to cheer, to elevate my kind,
When I am in the dust.

Might verse of mine inspire
One virtuous aim, one high resolve impart,
Light in one drooping soul a hallowed fire,
Or bind one broken heart.

Death would be sweeter then,
More calm my slumber ’neath the silent sod—
Might I thus live to bless my fellow-men,
Or glorify my God!

O Thou whose touch can lend
Life to the dead, Thy quickening grace supply,
And grant me, swanlike, my last breath to spend
In song that may not die!

Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847)

Sources

Lyrics