hawkeye (hawkeye7) wrote,

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Abide With Me

In order to get the recommended hours of work on the thesis in, I have to work on it on Sunday afternoons. Usually I start at around 2pm and end up at midnight or so, with a couple of breaks. This is necessary because the chapter of Finschhafen – started at Christmas time – is still not finished, although it is now over the 40 page/10,000 word mark. Now I'm hoping for next weekend. What I thought was a minor campaign was actually a major one. An easy mistake to make, if what you know about WWII comes from reading books. Also, my plans are not worth much. Bottom line is that if only four chapters get written this year, the thesis will take a whole year longer.

One benefit of being a hermit is that at lunchtime there is a show on the ABC about the hymns and their authors. Now, I'm not sure how familiar everyone is with them. They differ from most songs in a number of ways. First, with a few exceptions, they don't have titles, so we always used to call them by their first line. Second, they don't have music. Our hymn books contained lyrics only. The organist would play a few bars to let us know what tune the hymn would be sung to that day. This was possible because most are written in certain "metres", such as the "common meter", which is a four line stanza, with two lines of iambic tetrameter followed by two lines of iambic trimeter (8:6:8:6); the rhymes usually fall on the lines of trimeter, although in many instances the tetrameter also rhymes. This is the meter of most of the Border and Scots or English ballads, and a great many hymns, such as Amazing Grace, which was last week's hymn. It was written by John Newton (who also wrote over 200 more hymns, such as Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken) and first published in 1779.

This week they had a even better known hymn, Abide With Me. This one, like O Valiant Hearts, is sung every Anzac Day. The author, the author, Henry F. Lyte, was dying at the time he wrote it and it was first sung at his funeral of in 1847. It's in 10:10:10:10 and today we usually use a haunting melody written nearly a quarter century later – William Monks's Eventide. The first two verses are:

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 lifes little day;
Earths joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

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