Duncan, Mary, née Lundie, daughter of the Rev. Robert Lundie, Parish Minister of Kelso, and Mary Grey Lundie Duncan, was born at Kelso, April 26, 1814. On July 11, 1836, she was married to the William Wallace Duncan, the son of Rev. Henry Duncan, D.D., founder of the Savings Bank movement and minister in Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. In the end of December, 1839, she took a chill, which resulted in a fever and died on Jan. 5, 1840. Her hymns, mostly written for her children between July and December, 1839, appeared, in 1841, in her Memoir, by her mother, and were issued separately, in 1842, as Rhymes for my Children, to the number of 23. The best known are, "Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me," and "My Saviour, be Thou near me."
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My Saviour, be Thou near me, Through life's nigh. Mary Duncan, née Lundie. [Supplication.] First published in her Memoir, 1841, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines, and thus introduced:—
"To a Greek air, which a dear friend loved to hear her sing, she composed, at the pianoforte, the annexed stanzas, not being satisfied with the trifling words attached to it. They bear date the 20th December , the last effusion of her muse, and the prayer of their petition was about to be answered speedily" (ed. 1843,p. 294).
The hymn is included, set to this air, in the Rev. J. H. Wilson's Songs of Zion, 1877, and, without the air, in other collections. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)