Song #8 Be Thou My Vision
"Be Thou My Vision"
Versified by Eleanor Hull
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 451
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 and by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Sometimes hymn singing invites us to connect with the saints who have gone before. Such is the case with the famous Irish hymn, "Be Thou my vision." The original poem, found in two Irish manuscripts in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, may be dated as early as the 8th century.
Quite often, older hymns come to us as a collaborative effort before we are able to sing them from our hymnals. The Irish text, beginning "Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride," was translated into literal prose by Irish scholar Mary Byrne (1880-1931), a Dublin native, and then published in Eriú, the journal of the School of Irish Learning, in 1905. Byrne was also known for her academic publications, including Old and Mid-Irish Dictionary, Dictionary of the Irish Language, and a treatise, England in the Age of Chaucer.