The text is a translation of a medieval text attributed to St Fallan , a 6th century Celtic monk, poet, and follower of St Columba his feast day is January 29th. The text and the tune were combined in the Irish Church Hymnal in , and it has spread round the world since. At the bottom of this post are two videos with good recordings. St Fallan went blind in the middle of his life, and the opening verse of the the hymn poignantly draws upon his experience:. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. The focus seems to be the unity between God and us, between the Father and his son. So after the first verse, which calls out to God, this second verse draws us into the relational dynamic of Trinitarian love and indwelling. There is a middle verse, not normally sung, which provides a lovely request of God to be a defensive and offensive support, evocative of Ephesians :. Because God is already present, we who sing realize we are rich!
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; thine own may I be, thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all. Byrne Mary Elizabeth Byrne, M. July 2, — January 19, was born in Ireland. Hull no biographical information available about Eleanor H. Byrne Versifier: Eleanor H. Hull Meter: According to mythology, when St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland in the 5th century, King Logaire of Tara decreed that no one was allowed to light any fires until a pagan festival was begun by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill.
The words are based on a Middle Irish poem often attributed to the sixth-century Irish Christian poet St. The best-known English version, with some minor variations, was translated by Eleanor Hull and published in Some date it to the 8th century;  others putting it as late as the 10th or 11th century. The prayer belongs to a type known as a lorica , a prayer for protection. Such military symbolism was common in the poetry and hymnnology of Christian monasteries of the period due to the prevalence of clan warfare across Ireland. The English text was first versified in by Eleanor Hull , president of the Irish Literary Society , and this is now the most common text used. It was common practice  to attribute hymn tune names to the place where they were collected by folk song collectors, such as Vaughan Williams who co-edited The English Hymnal, published in Slane is a village in Ireland. Three more 20th century hymns have been set to the same tune. Winslow and first published in