Continuing the octave of posts in honour of Saint Brigid with another hymn in her praise, a late nineteenth-century offering, published in The Freeman's Journal in Sydney, Australia in 1897. It is unattributed and as these newspapers often syndicated articles from other sources, it may well have originated in the popular religious press in Ireland itself. Verse three alludes to Saint Brigid's traditional virtues of purity and charity and, appropriately for this blog, the final verse makes reference to her as one of our three patrons. There is even an air suggested to which this hymn could be sung. Initially I didn't recognize 'The valley lay smiling before me' but when I saw that it is also known as 'The pretty girl milking her cow' I realized I did know this melody and was able to try out the lyrics.
HYMN TO ST. BRIGID, PATRONESS OF IRELAND.
(Feast Day, February 1.)Saint Brigid, how fondly through agesThy name is endeared to our race,How brilliant through history's pagesThe track of its glory we trace;Ah! ever be cherished through ErinThat light which thy virtues have shed,To-day and henceforth be thou dear inOur isle, as in days that are fled.Saint Brigid, how deep the devotionLong nurtured to thee, the green isle,Till it 'swelled like the tide of the ocean.Sunlit — 'neath thy virginal smile;Oh ! sooner may cease the white surgesTo break on her emerald shore,Than cool the devotion that urges,Sweet Patron, thine aid to implore.If, glorious Saint Brigid, the splendourOf purity beams through our land,Fair homage to thee should it renderWhose lily waves high in thy hand;And well may the poor Irish maidenRejoice in thy fame and thy name,White purity's robe thus arrayed inWhile burning with charity's flame.With Columba and Patrick we've named theeChief Patron of old Innisfail,And well have her Annals proclaimed theeAs true to the trust of the Gael;Then potent protectress, may neverThy love or thy prayer for us cease,But our Mary of Erin be ever,Till reach we the Kingdom of peace.
Air: — The valley lay smiling before me.
"HYMN TO ST. BRIGID, PATRONESS OF IRELAND." Freeman's Journal, 30 January 1897.
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