Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision (iTunes)
Words attributed to Dallán Forgaill, Translation by Mary Byrne and Eleanor Hull
Music from an Irish folk song
From the album WOW Worship (Zomba Recording)

The text of the beloved hymn "Be Thou My Vision" is sometimes attributed to Saint Eochaid "Dallán" Forgaill (ca. 530-598). He become known as Dallán ("little blind one") after he lost his sight, supposedly due to intense study. He was a Christian Irish scholar and the Chief Ollam (poet) of Ireland. Dallán was martyred when pirates overtook the island monastery where he was staying. Over 1600 years later, Irish linguist Mary Byrne translated Dallán's text into English in 1905; Irish writer and scholar Eleanor Hull versified Byrne's translation in 1912, creating the version we sing today.

The tune comes from a medieval Irish folk song entitled Slane, which tells the story of St. Patrick defying the pagan king by lighting a fire on Easter Eve on the Hill of Slane. The hymn text was first married with this tune in 1919 in the Irish Church Hymnal. Together they serve as a prayer, asking that God would help us seek him alone as our vision, our wisdom, our shelter, our treasure, and King of our hearts.