Be Thou My Vision
- 1 Sheet Music
- 2 Tunes
- 3 Lyrics
- 3.1 Original Irish lyrics and English translation as found in Ériu, Volumes 2-3, 1905 (p. 89–91)
- 3.2 Mary Byrne's translation versified by Eleanor Henrietta Hull, as found in The Poem-book of the Gael, 1912 (p. 119–120)
- 3.3 Lyrics from Mark Hamilton Dewey's SSATBB arrangement
- 3.4 External Lyrics
- 4 References
- 5 External Links
- SSATBB Arrangement by Mark Hamilton Dewey, 2007
- MIDI (Piano)
- MIDI (Choir)
- Copyright: Public Domain: All portions that were not already public domain were released to the public domain by the arranger on 27 July 2007. He already had released the parts and the versification (except for a few changes in the third verse, which he released to the public domain in 2007) to the public domain in 2006.
- Contributer: Veramet 20:54, 27 July 2007 (MDT) (Veramet is the arranger)
- Notes: The poetic meter varies slightly with this arrangement, and is somewhat different on the first two verses than the rest, due to where the emphasis on a certain line lies. This is why this article is also in the irregular meters category.
- 'Light is short for Alight.
- The midis have karaoke functionality, for all verses (only tested with vanBasco's Karaoke Player).
- Composer: Unknown Composer—Irish Folk Melody, 1909
- The tune was first published in Old Irish Folk Music and Songs: a collection of 842 Irish airs and songs, hitherto unpublished, 1909 (no. 323; p. 151) with the name 'With My Love on the Road' instead of Slane.
- Copyright: The melody is public domain
- Note: There was a public domain arrangement of 'Slane' published with 'Be Thou My Vision' in Irish Church Hymnal, 1919
- Note: Another source says the version traditionally used with this hymn was first published in 1927 (probably in this book), and so a verification of the copyright and content on that is perhaps needed. Perhaps we have multiple traditions.
- Poet: Unknown Poet—attributed to Dallan Forgaill (8th century)
- Copyright: public domain (note this refers to the original Irish text; see sub-headings for further copyright information)
Original Irish lyrics and English translation as found in Ériu, Volumes 2-3, 1905 (p. 89–91)
Irish Gaelic text: 1. Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride. Ní ní nech aile, acht ri secht nime. 2. Rob tu mo scrutain i llo ’san-aidche. Rop tu atcheur im cotlad caidhce. 3. Rob tu mo labhradh, rob tu mo tuicsi, Rob tusa damsa, rob misi duitsi. 4. Rob tusa m’ athair, rob me do mac-sa. Rob tusa lemsa, rob misi latsa. 5. Rob tu mo cathsciath, rob tu mo cloidem. Rob tusa m’ ordan, rob tusa m’ airer. 6. Rob tu mo didiu rob tu mo daingen. Rob tu romtogba a n-aontaig aingel. 7. Rob tu gach maithus dom curp, dom anmain. Rob tu mo flaithus a nim occus i talmain. 8. Rob tusa t’ oinar sainṡerc mo cridhe. Ni rob nech aile, a airdrig nime. 9. Co talla orm rondul it lama Mo cuid, mo cuisle ar med do grada. 10. Rob tusa at’ aonar m'[ḟ]erann uais ammra Ni cuinngim doine na maine marba. 11. Rob tusa dinsir cech selb, cech saoghal; Mar marb ar mbrenadh art fegad t’ aonar. 12. Do serc am anmiun, do grad im craidhe Tabuir dam amlaidh, a ri secht nime. 13. A ri secht nime, tabair dam amlaidh Do gradh im cride, do serc im anmain. 14. Ac righ na n-uile ris iar mbuaid leire Robeo i flaith nime, a gile grene. 15. Athair inmain, cluin, cluin mo nuallsa. Mithig monuarán lasin truagan truaghsa. 16. A cride mo cridhe, cipead dommaire, A flaith na n-uile, rob tu mo boile.
English translation (Mary E. Byrne): 1. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens. 2. Be thou my meditation by day and night; May it be thou that I behold ever in my sleep. 3. Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding, Be thou with me, be I with thee. 4. Be thou my father, be I thy son. Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine. 5. Be thou my battle-shield, be thou my sword, Be thou my dignity, be thou my delight. 6. Be thou my shelter, be thou my stronghold. Mayst thou raise me up to the company of the angels. 7. Be thou every good to my body and soul. Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth. 8. Be thou solely chief love of my heart. Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven. 9. Till I am able to pass (?) into thy hands, My treasure, my beloved, through the greatness of thy love. 10. Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate. I seek not men, nor lifeless wealth. 11. Be thou the constant guardian of every possession and every life (?). For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of thee. 12. Thy love in my soul and in my heart— Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens. 13. O King of the seven heavens grant me this— Thy love to be in my heart and in my soul. 14. With the King of all with (?) Him after victory won by piety May I be in the kingdom of heaven, O brightness of the sun. 15. Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentation; Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch. 16. O heart of my heart, whate'er befall me, O ruler of all, be thou my vision.
Mary Byrne's translation versified by Eleanor Henrietta Hull, as found in The Poem-book of the Gael, 1912 (p. 119–120)
- Versifier: Eleanor Henrietta Hull (1860–1935), 1912
- Versification copyright: public domain
- Note: The popular version found today is different than this, but we have yet to find out who made the extra changes. We still need verification that the changes beyond what are found below are public domain, notwithstanding loads of publications have arisen with it, likely without knowing, and without permission from whomever made the changes.
- See also the 1913 publication.
1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart, Naught is all else to me, save that Thou art. 2. Thou my best thought by day and by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. 3. Be Thou my Wisdom, Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee, Thou with me, Lord. 4. Thou my great Father, I thy dear son; Thou in me dwelling, I with Thee one. 5. Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for the fight, Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. 6. Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower; Raise Thou me heavenward, Power of my power. 7. Riches I heed not or man's empty praise, Thou mine inheritance now and always. 8. Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art. 9. King of the seven heavens, grant me for dole, Thy love in my heart, Thy light in my soul. 10. Thy light from my soul, Thy love from my heart, King of the seven heavens, may they never depart. 11. With the High King of heaven, after victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O Bright heaven's Son! 12. Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Lyrics from Mark Hamilton Dewey's SSATBB arrangement
- Note: The arranger isn't satisfied with this arrangement—so, now that he has found a translation of all sixteen Irish verses, he plans to make a new version.
- Contributer: The arranger
- Copyright: Public Domain - All portions that were not already public domain were released to the public domain by the arranger on 27 July 2007. He already had released the versification (except for a few changes in the third verse, which he released to the public domain in 2007) to the public domain in 2006.
- Poetic Meter: Irregular, but it may work as 5 5 6 4 5 5 6 5 and/or 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 5.
- Arranger's Notes: The first two verses differ significantly from the original, and the other verses contain some less major alterations, mostly for versification and to conform with the mood established by the changes in the first two verses. The second verse was changed for several reasons: 1. To accommodate female singers (i.e. it once said and I Thy true son, with son referring to the singer. 2. The altered note on the last system made it difficult to simply reversify that verse. The first verse was altered to avoid a certain double meaning to those who would think of the song less poetically. The first line of the first verse was changed for the sake of mood, as it contrasted strangely with the previous verses, before the change, although I did like for the fight more than in the fight and in the fight is quickly growing on me with the new mood, but for just didn't fit as well. The change to Guardian I much preferred, as it avoided the whole conflict of what kind of armor name I should use (plus it made the song seem less war-like, though it fit well being thus in the original version). Veramet 16:39, 28 July 2007 (MDT)
- Contributer: Veramet 21:39, 27 July 2007 (MDT)
1. Be Thou my Vision,
Through night and come day;
'Light* on me always,
Thy Spirit to stay—
Thou, Eternal Father,
The Great and the Last,
The wise and true Sov'reign
Of all that shall pass.
(*Note that 'Light stands for Alight)
2. Be Thou my Wisdom,
My Staff and my Stay,
Shine through the darkness;
Give light to my way!
Be Thou the true Source
Of all I enjoy,
So let carnal pleasures
No longer annoy.
3. Be Thou my Guardian,
My Sword in the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity,
Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter,
And Thou my high Tow'r:
Wilt Thou raise me heavenward,
O Pow'r of my pow'r?
4. Riches I heed not,
Or man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance,
Now and always:
Thou and Thou only,
Still first in my heart,
The High King of Heaven,
My Treasure Thou art.
5. High King of Heaven,
My victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys,
O bright Heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart,
Still be Thou my Vision,
O Ruler of all!
Lyrics from ucc.ie (Original Irish Lyrics)
The Irish text at ucc.ie is in 16 stanzas. Most current American English hymnals that contain this hymn give four stanzas, the text as at oremus.org but omitting the third (breastplate) stanza. The Summit Choirbook gives an additional stanza.
Lyrics from The Cyber Hymnal™
- Poet: attributed to Dallan Forgaill (8th Century)
- Copyright: Public Domain
- Poetic Meter: 5 5 6 4 5 5 5 5
- Lyrics link from the Cyber Hymnal™