From the Album Getty Kids Hymnal – Family Hymn Sing


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, and 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 armor, and be Thou my might
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower
Raise Thou me heavenward, O power of my power

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 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


Song Story

This Irish hymn is one of the oldest hymns we sing in the church today. Some people say it was written as early as the 6th century. There is a written copy of the text written from the 12th century kept in the National Library in Ireland. In Irish the text is called ‘Rop tú mo Baile’. You can listen below to hear how to pronounce that!

The words of the hymn give us a taste of early Christianity in Ireland. Before Christianity had come to this island people believed in many false gods and it brought a lot of darkness and fear. There were also constant wars as one king fought against another. This hymn is a prayer for trust in the one true God, the High King and for courage and protection as we follow Him. This is still a very important prayer for us today!
Mary Elizabeth Byrne was the first to translate the words from Irish to English in 1905. Then in 1912 Eleanor Hull formed the words into the verses that we sing today.

The words are sung to a melody known as ‘Slane’. The first time they were published together was in 1919, which was when World War 1 ended. How people must have been encouraged to sing these words then just as they do now!