July 8, 2013

Be Thou My Vision

O Lord of My Heart

Be Thou my Vision is a translation of the 6th century Gaelic hymn, Rop tú mo baile at­trib­ut­ed to the Irish monk and poet, St. Dallán Forgaill (c.530–598). It is said that he composed it as a tribute to St. Patrick's unwavering faith in God. Down through the centuries the poem has become part of Irish monastic tradition. In 1905, an 8th century manuscript was translated into English by the Irish lin­guist, Ma­ry E. Byrne (1880-1931). In 1912, the writer and Gaelic scholar, El­ea­nor H. Hull (1860-1935) adapted Byrne's translation into verse. In 1919, Hull's verses were paired in the Irish Church Hymnal with the Irish folk tune: Slane, which it is associated with today. In the Divine Office, Be Thou My Vision is used with the Office of Readings.

BE THOU MY VISION by Elea­nor Hull, 1912 (Public Domain)

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.


  1. Be Thou My Vision is one of my very favorites. I followed you here from Twitter. You have provided a gold mine here on your blog. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Mary Ellen. When I started the blog I had no idea how many hymns there were that relate to the Divine Office, and I've barely started on the great wealth of Latin hymns. It's a pleasure to share them with you and all my readers.


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