Here’s to Saint Patrick, a great Welshman (or so I was told as a lad) who tried mightily to save the Irish.
The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is known as “Slane,” and is associated with a moment in history when Saint Patrick lit a fire on a hill in pagan Ireland—the hill of Slane—in defiance of the customs of the time, in order to mark the Christian holy day of Easter. His bravery was met with a success that put him in the history books and makes him the subject of parades in countless cities across the world. Many Christians today exhibit similar bravery and find merely death—in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and North Korea—but their hope is in something far beyond the acceptance of men.
Surely no one has sung it better than Van the man.
(Available on Van Morrison’s album, Hymns to the Silence.)
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might
Thou my sole shelter, and thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenwards, O power of my power