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.
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.
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)