A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Thursday, May 31, 2007
  St. Patrick's Lorica
This hymn was composed by St. Patrick in a time of great danger. It is called the "Deer's Cry" because, according to legend, Patrick and his companions turned into deer and escaped danger. It is also called the "Lorica" which is Latin for "Breastplate." Here are several translations of the hymn:

To the tune of Bunessan or Morning Has Broken:
Rising I thank You, mighty and strong One
King of Creation, giver of rest.
Firmly confessing threeness of Persons
Oneness of Godhead, Trinity blest.

This day God gives me strength of high heaven
Sun and moon shining, flame in my hearth
Flashing of lightning, wind in its swiftness
Deeps of the ocean, firmness of earth.

This day God sends me Strength as my guardian
Might to uphold me, Wisdome as guide.
Your eyes are watchful, Your ears are listening
Your lips are speaking, Friend at my side.

God's way is my way, God's shield is round me
God's host defends me, saving from ill.
Angels of heaven drive from me always
All that would harm me, stand at my side.

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me.
Christ be behind me King of my heart.
Christ be within me, Christ be below me.
Christ be above me Never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand.
Christ all around me Shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting.
Christ in my rising Light of my life.

Christ be in all hearts Thinking about me.
Christ be on all tongues Telling of me.
Christ be the vision In eyes that see me,
In ears that hear me Christ ever be.

Rising I thank You, mighty and strong One
King of Creation, giver of rest.
Firmly confessing threeness of Persons
Oneness of Godhead, Trinity blest.
The version found in most hymnals, can be sung to most office tunes such as Conditor Alme Siderum:
I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
the Three-in-One, and One-in-Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the River Jordan;
His death on the Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of the Cherubim;
The sweet "Well Done" in judgment hour:
The service of the Seraphim;
Confessor's faith, Apostles' word;
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven;
The glorious suns' life-giving ray;
The whiteness of the moon at even;
The flashing of the lightning free;
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks;
The stable earth; the deep salt sea.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead;
His eye to watch, His might to stay;
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;

Against the demon snares of sin;
The vice that gives temptation force
The natural lusts that war within;
The hostile men that mar my course;
Few or many, far or nigh;
In every place and in all hours;
Against their fierce hostility.
I bind to me these holy powers

Against all Satan's spells and wiles;
Against false words of heresy;
Against the knowledge that defiles;
Against the heart's idolatry;
Against the wizard's evil craft;
Against the death-wound and the burning;
The choking wave and poisoned shaft;
Protect me, Christ, til thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me;
Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ beside me, Christ to win me;
Christ to comfort and restore me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ in Quiet, Christ in danger;
Christ in hearts of all that love me;
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

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;
Of whom all nature hath creation;
Eternal Father, Word, and Spirit.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation.
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Two more verses not usually found with the original:
I call upon the noble earth
To give me strength both day and night
Her granite and her gems of worth
Are tokens of her various might
And from her shores the endless sea
In calm and tempest girds the sphere
And like the earth, the waters free
Shall be my trust against all fear

Above the earth and waters wide
The air enfolds the globe's fair breast
In it good spirits do abide,
I count on them in strife and rest
And last of all, the golden fire
Shall be my great and strong ally
The goodly spirits that never tire
Are all my strength below, on high
A slightly modified version found in Madeline L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet:
With St. Patrick, in this fateful hour
I call on heaven with all heaven with its power,
The sun with its brightness,
The snow with its whiteness,
The fire with all the strength it hath,
The lightning with its rapid wrath,
The winds with their swiftness along their path,
The sea with its deepness,
The rocks with its starkness,
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.
Marty Haugen's translation:
May the Spirit of Christ be our hope through the day
Be our guard through the night, our companion on the way.

Christ be ever before us,
Christ be ever behind us,
Christ be ever within.

Christ on our left hand watching,
At our right hand guiding,
Christ above, beneath us guarding,
Near to us abiding.

Christ be in each holy silence,
Christ be in our speaking,
Christ in ev'ry work we offer,
Ever in our seeking.

Let us be God's light in the darkness,
let us be God's kindness;
Let us be God's justice and mercy,
Hands and feet of Christ.

God Creator, bless and keep us,
Christ, be ever near us;
Spirit be the light before us,
Gentle be our pathway.
John Michael Talbot's version from the album "Hiding Place":
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me;
Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me on my left and my right.

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