Words: , 1820; first pub­lished in his The Christ­ian Year, 1827. The words come from a po­em that starts “’Tis gone, that bright and orb­èd glaze.”

Music: Hurs­ley, Ka­thol­isch­es Ge­sang­buch (Vi­en­na: 1774); adapt­ed from the Met­ric­al Psalt­er, 1855. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Abends,
  • Herr Gott Va­ter, (1574-1625)
  • Keble, , 1875

Historical Note: Her­bert Oake­ley com­posed “Abends” spe­ci­fic­al­ly for these words:

I was, many years ago, im­pelled to set Keble’s words to mu­sic for , in con­se­quence of the in­ad­e­qua­cy if not vul­gar­i­ty of the tune which had got into gen­er­al use. I re­fer to “Hurs­ley,” which, how­ev­er, is now less oft­en sung than for­mer­ly.

“Hursley,” strange to say, had been in use in Ger­ma­ny—where, as a rule, chor­al­es (An­gli­cè hymn tunes) are so dig­ni­fied and ad­mir­a­ble—since cir­ci­ter 1792, and is at­trib­ut­ed to Paul Rit­ter.

One of my rea­sons for dis­lik­ing it so much is the re­sem­blance it bears to a drink­ing song, Se vu­ol bal­la­re, in Noz­ze di Fi­ga­ro. As Mo­zart pro­duced that op­e­ra in 1786, he is re­spon­si­ble for the open­ing strain, which suits his Bac­cha­nal­i­an words ve­ry well. But to hear “Sun of my soul, Thou Savi­our dear,” sung to a live­ly tune, un­suit­a­ble to sac­red words, had the ef­fect of driv­ing me out of church.

Despite Oake­ley’s dis­taste for Hurs­ley, we like it.

Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear,
It is not night if Thou be near;
O may no earthborn cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.

When the soft dews of kindly sleep
My wearied eyelids gently steep,
Be my last thought, how sweet to rest
Forever on my Savior’s breast.

Abide with me from morn till eve,
For without Thee I cannot live;
Abide with me when night is nigh,
For without Thee I dare not die.

If some poor wandering child of Thine
Has spurned today the voice divine,
Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
Let him no more lie down in sin.

Watch by the sick, enrich the poor
With blessings from Thy boundless store;
Be every mourner’s sleep tonight,
Like infants’ slumbers, pure and right.

Come near and bless us when we wake,
Ere through the world our way we take,
Till in the ocean of Thy love
We lose ourselves in Heaven above.