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“Abide in Me, and I in You: the Soul’s Answer,” a prayer-poem by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1855/1865)

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Abide in Me, and I in You: the Soul’s Answer

1. That mystic word of Thine, Sovereign Lord!
Is all too pure, too high, too deep for me;
Weary of striving, and with longing faint,
I breathe it back again in prayer to Thee.[1]This stanza is not provided in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).

[Abide in me, O Lord,[2]Originally: “I pray.” “O Lord” appears first in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886). and I in thee;[3]Cf. John 15:4. 
From this good hour, O leave me nevermore;
Then shall the discord cease, the wound be healed,
The life-long bleeding of the soul be o’er.][4]Stanza added in Religious Poems (Harriet Beecher Stowe 1867).

2. Abide with me[5]Originally: “Abide in me.” “Abide with me” appears in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886). — o’ershadow with thy love
Each half-formed purpose and dark thought of sin;
Quench e’re it rise each selfish, low desire,
And keep my soul as Thine — calm and divine.

3. As some rare perfume in a vase of clay
Pervades it with a fragrance not its own —
So, when thou dwellest in a mortal soul.
All heaven’s own sweetness seems around it thrown.[6]This and the following stanza are not provided in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).

4. The soul alone, like a neglected harp,
Grows out of tune, and needs that Hand divine;
Dwell Thou within it, tune and touch the chords,
Till every note and string shall answer Thine.[7]This stanza is missing from the poem as it appears in Religious Poems/em> (1867).

5. Abide in me; there have been moments blest,
When I have heard thy voice and felt thy power;[8]Harriet Beecher Stowe’s original lines read as follows: “Abide in me; there have been moments pure, / When I have seen thy face and felt thy power;”. This new wording appears in Religious Poems (1867). 
Then evil lost its grasp, and passion, hushed,
Owned the divine enchantment of the hour.

6. These were but seasons beautiful and rare;
Abide in me — and they shall ever be;
Fulfil at once thy precept and my prayer;[9]Harriet Beecher Stowe’s original line reads as follows: “I pray Thee now fulfill my earnest prayer.” This new wording appears in Religious Poems (1867). 
Come and abide in me, and I in thee.

“Abide in Me” by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was first published in Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes; for the use of Christian Congregations (Henry Ward Beecher, 1855), p.215. A second version with a new second stanza, the 4th stanza removed, and additional edits was published by Beecher Stowe as the poem “Abide in Me, and I in You: The Soul’s Answer” in Religious Poems (1867).[10]This second version of the poem appears two years earlier in Caroline Snowden Whitmarsh’s Hymns of the ages, Third series (1865). In 1886, Gustav Gottheil (1827-1903) included an abridged form of that poem, (removing the first, third, and fourth stanzas of the original hymn) in Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship. Finally, Gottheil’s variation was reprinted in Rabbi Max D. Klein’s Hymns of Praise and Prayer (Congregation Adath Jeshurun of Philadelphia, 1926).

I’ve retained the numbering of the stanzas for the hymn as it originally appears in the Plymouth Collection and I have enclosed the second stanza added by Beecher Stowe in [brackets]. –Aharon Varady.

Sources

 
 
 

Notes   [ + ]

  1. This stanza is not provided in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).
  2. Originally: “I pray.” “O Lord” appears first in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).
  3. Cf. John 15:4.
  4. Stanza added in Religious Poems (Harriet Beecher Stowe 1867).
  5. Originally: “Abide in me.” “Abide with me” appears in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).
  6. This and the following stanza are not provided in Gustav Gottheil’s Hymns and Anthems Adapted for Jewish Worship (1886).
  7. This stanza is missing from the poem as it appears in Religious Poems/em> (1867).
  8. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s original lines read as follows: “Abide in me; there have been moments pure, / When I have seen thy face and felt thy power;”. This new wording appears in Religious Poems (1867).
  9. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s original line reads as follows: “I pray Thee now fulfill my earnest prayer.” This new wording appears in Religious Poems (1867).
  10. This second version of the poem appears two years earlier in Caroline Snowden Whitmarsh’s Hymns of the ages, Third series (1865).

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