Monday 13 February 2012

Traditional Hymn to Saint Brigid

The journalist who wrote the article in the previous post referred to a hymn which she used to sing at school in the 1980s. Below is the text of this hymn, associated with the Brigidine Sisters which I found here. Unlike modern compositions this nineteenth-century hymn focuses on Saint Brigid as a heavenly intercessor who keeps a maternal eye on the Irish people rather than on the environment. I have a CD recording of this hymn in the Irish translation Dearc Anuas of Douglas Hyde, where the music is attributed to Cecilia Sinnott (1863-1902) Brigidine Sisters, Goresbridge Convent. I much prefer the Irish version as the lyrics don't convey the rather twee Victorian-parlour sentimentality of the English. I have been collecting prayers and hymns to Saint Brigid for the last few years and will publish more of these in future posts.

Traditional Hymn to St Brigid

Far above enthroned in glory,
Sweetest saint of Erin’s isle
See your people here before you
Cast on us a mother’s smile.

Sainted mother hear our pleading
Faith and hope and holy love.
Sweet St Brigid, Spouse of Jesus
Sent to us from heav’n above.

Sweet St Brigid, all your people
Far and near, o’er land and sea
‘Mid the world and in the cloister
Fondly turn with love to you.

Sainted mother, soothe the mourner
Shield the weary tempted soul
Sweet St Brigid, guide your people
To your bright and happy home.

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