Hymn #451: Be Now My Vision

This ancient Irish poem, which dates from the eighth century, began “Rop tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride.” It was translated into English prose by Mary E. Byrne (1880-1931) and then into verse form by Eleanor H. Hull (1860-1935). It is an example of a Celtic lorica, a prayer for physical and spiritual protection.

Early Gaelic culture might never have been uncovered in the twentieth century had it not been for the work of Eleanor H. Hull. She was founder of the Irish Text Society and president of the Irish Literary Society of London, England. Her work reawakened interest in Irish culture.

This traditional Irish tune accompanied a folk song that began “With my love on the road.” SLANE refers to a hill outside of the community of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. It was on this hill that Saint Patrick lit the Paschal fire and challenged the authority of the pagan king.

This Irish folk song was adapted and arranged by David Evans (1874-1948) for use with these words, bringing together two Irish sources into one hymn. Evans was one of Wales’s most distinguished musicians. He spent a great deal of time researching folk tunes of the British Isles.