Hymns from History #1: Be Thou My Vision

4 Hymns from History 4 Comments

Did you know that the words of the timeless hymn Be Thou My Vision are over one thousand years old?  It is believed that the original Irish words were written in the sixth century by Saint Dallán Forgaill. In 1912 Eleanor M. Hull published the beloved English version and it was paired with the tune we know so well.

The tune was called ‘Slane’, named after a hill where it is said that St. Patrick, an early missionary to the Irish, courageously defied the Irish druid priests. The Irish king was so impressed with St. Patrick’s conviction and zeal that he pardoned St. Patrick and supported him in his fruitful ministry in Ireland.

Knowing a bit of the background to this hymn enables us to appreciate it better as we read, along with Christians from many past centuries, the triumphant words:

Be Thou My Vision

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 Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

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 Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.



  1. Savannah Lea - November 10, 2017

    Wow, that is so interesting! I had no idea it was Irish first. Thanks!


  2. Hannah Dale - November 3, 2017

    Thank you Amy,
    This song is one of my all-time favorites and now it has even more meaning with the background story. xx

  3. Neil Evans - November 3, 2017

    Thanks Amy,
    As it happens, we sang this on Sunday – in the Slane tune. It really is a timeless classic.

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