Slane (Be Thou My Vision) - Chords, Lyrics and Origins


The traditional Irish tune, Slane, is used in several hymns, most notably 'Be Thou my Vision', 'Lord of all Hopefulness' and 'God, In the Planning and Purpose of Life'.  The lyrics of 'Be Thou my Vision' are a modern English translation by Eleanor Henrietta Hull of an old Irish text that is thought to date from the sixth century.  The name of the traditional tune comes from the place in which it was collected - the village of Slane, in County Meath, Ireland.  The recording below is an instrumental version of Slane by Webster-Fergusson, a duo that I (Peter Webster) am one half of.  Ross Fergusson plays the guitar that you hear first, which carries the tune, and I play the other part, that you will hear coming in later.

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Be thou my vision,

D               A    D
O Lord of my heart,

      A                 A7
Be all else but naught to me,

Bm                     A
Save that thou art;

                G                               D                  G
Thou my best thought in the day and the night,

          D                 Bm                 A7                 D
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.


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:
Oh 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,
Oh Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of Heaven,
Thou Heaven's bright sun,
Oh grant me its joys
After victory is won.
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be thou my vision, oh ruler of all.

Webster-Fergusson Website