According to traditions from 5th century Ireland, High King Logaire of Tara decreed that no candles be lit before his great festival fire on Tara hill, signaling the start of the spring pagan festival. Seeking to convert Pagan Ireland to Christianity, St Patrick defied this royal decree by thereafter lighting candles, clearly visible from nearby Tara hill.
Logaire, impressed by the Scotsman’s bravery, allowed him to continue his missionary work in Ireland and meted out no punishment. Formerly kidnapped by pirates and taken into slavery in Ireland, St. Patrick was to be responsible for the establishment of 2,000 churches.
Considered to be the finest poet of his time and inspired by the tale, Dallan Forgaill wrote the original words to this Old Irish hymn in the 6th century, now a treasured Christian Hymn. Deeply moving and devotional, this favorite of many expresses heartfelt devotion with many descriptive titles for our God: Vision, Lord, Best Thought, Light, Wisdom, True Word, Father, Inheritance, High King of Heaven, Treasure, Heaven’s Sun, Ruler of All.
- 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.
- 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.
- Additional verse:
- 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