Textul original e in irlandeza veche: link
Traducerea versificata in limba engleza (Eleanor Hull, 1912):
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
Be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my whole armour, be thou my true might;
Be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Be thou mine inheritance now and always;
Be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of Heaven, thou Heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won!;
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.
The music behind 'Be Thou My Vision':
The tune to this ancient hymn is entitled "Slane", from an 8th Century Irish melody. The melody is named after Slane Hill - and to an event recorded in the lands history thought to be around AD 433. Tradition goes that the ruling King of the time (High King Logaire of Tara) had decreed that no one was allowed to kindle a fire until Logaire had lit his to announce the start of the pagan spring festival. However, St Patrick defied the royal order and lit candles on the Eve of the festival on Tara Hill (approximately ten miles from Slane Hill in County Meath). The King was so impressed by Patrick's defiance that he pardoned him and allowed him to continue his missionary work in Ireland. Patrick would go on to convert 100,000 people and establish 2,000 churches. No small feat for a man originally kidnapped by pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland!
The Words to 'Be Thou My Vision'
The original words to the hymn date back as far as 6th Century Ireland, and to the prolific Irish writer Dallan Forgaill (c.530-598), with the original title 'Rop tú mo Baile' . It is said that such was his zealousness for writing poetry and studying that it led to his blindness. In his day, Forgaill reformed the Bardic Order, helping to preserve the Gaelic traditional literature and language.
The original words of 'Be Thou My Vision' recorded in Old Irish were used widely in the Monastic tradition before being set to music.
The next major development in the hymn came at the turn of the twentieth century, when Mary E. Byrne translated the Irish words into English, recorded in 1905 in the journal of the School of Irish Learning. Another scholar in 1912, Eleanor H. Hull (founder of the Irish Text Society), versified the words. This was to become the modern form of the hymn.