Wednesday 15 February 2012

Another traditional hymn to Saint Brigid

One of the volumes that I rescued from a secondhand bookshop a while back is a devotional manual for religious published in Australia in 1936. The book includes some prayers and hymns in honour of Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. The prayer to Saint Brigid is one that is still in use among Catholics today, but the hymn I had never seen before. Its style and sentiments are no longer fashionable, there is an emphasis on duty to faith and country and a belief in the reality of the devil. As with the other traditional hymn Far Above Enthroned in Glory, Saint Brigid is depicted as the spiritual guardian of the Irish people and the hymn invokes the image of her protecting mantle as a shield throughout the ages. No author, date, or melody is given for the hymn, if anyone recognizes it and knows anything of its history perhaps you would leave a comment.


Soft as an Angel's whisper,
Comes the thought of thee, dear Saint,
Erin's Bride and gentle Guardian,
Free from evil and its taint.
Come, and with thy mantle shelter
The children of our Isle;
Dangers threaten, O protect them
From the demon's treacherous smile.
Neath that shield no dart shall pierce them,
Oft of yore it screened from foes
Those who claimed its trustful succour,
In the midst of cruel foes.
Save the youth; the tempter's watching
To beguile them from the way
Of loyal Faith and stern duty,
Oh! dear Saint, we humbly pray.
Come to those who claim thy succour,
The evening of whose life draws near,
Stay uphold them in the struggle;
Near thy heart they need not fear.
Ask that Ireland ne'er may sever
The "Triple leaf" of Faith,
Faith in prayer, in love, in duty
To God and country unto death.

Community Manual for the Use of Religious Orders Compiled by a Religious from Approved Sources (Pellegrini and Co. Ltd, (1936), 484.

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