In honor of St. Patrick, here is another of my favorite hymns. When this post originally went out on Friday, I unintentionally plagiarized, because I neglected to include the source of the following description! The Cyber Hymnal is a searchable online database of thousands of hymns, with lyrics, MIDI files, scores, pictures, history and more. I loved the story of Patrick at Slane Hill found on that website, so here (with correct attribution, this time!) is the entry for Be Thou My Vison from The Cyber Hymnal.
Words: Attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride); translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne, in Eri, Journal of the School of Irish Learning, 1905, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912, alt.
Music: Slane, of Irish folk origin. Slane Hill is about ten miles from Tara in County Meath. It was on Slane Hill around 433 AD that St. Patrick defied a royal edict by lighting candles on Easter Eve. High King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one could light a fire before Logaire began the pagan spring festival by lighting a fire on Tara Hill. Logaire was so impressed by Patricks devotion that, despite his defiance (or perhaps because of it), he let him continue his missionary work. The rest is history.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.