Friday, August 30, 2019

Hymn of the Week: I Bind Unto Myself (St Patrick's Breastplate)

This hymn is an adaptation of the famous ancient Irish prayer attributed to Saint Patrick (often called "St. Patrick's Breastplate"). There have been many attempts to render his prayer-poem into song--my current favorite is the recent worship song by All Sons and Daughters, "Christ Be All Around Me"--and my own effort adds to that corpus only in that it adheres more closely to a traditionally hymnic form. Much of the verse material comes directly from a translation of St. Patrick's prayer as recorded in the Treasury of Religious Verse (1972), along with a chorus that I wrote based on the central theme of the original Irish poem. I've recorded it to a repeated use of the tune from Isaac Watts' "Jesus Shall Reign," but it would fit any Long Meter tune scheme.

I Bind Unto Myself

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
     Christ be before me, Christ behind,
     Christ in the eye and in the mind
     Of all who see me on this day,
     Following in my Savior's way.
               Amen, Amen, Amen!

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same:
The Three in One and One in Three,
Maker of all, seen and unseen,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word;
Praise to the God who sets me free:
Salvation comes from Christ my Lord!
     Christ be before me, Christ behind,
     Christ in the eye and in the mind
     Of all who see me on this day,
     Following in my Savior's way.
               Amen, Amen, Amen!

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