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Be Thou My Vision

About the Song

This old Irish text was translated by Mary Elizabeth Byrne in 1905, and later cast into verse by Eleanor H. Hull in 1912. It was set to a traditional Irish tune called “Slane.”

We use this tune for the hymn “Take Time to be Holy” as well, and I also set “Away in a Manger” to the same arrangement.  Since these are all well-loved hymns, I did separate scores for each of them. To avoid confusion, they are posted on three separate pages.

The solo is set in the alto range, and includes optional notes in verse three for the one high passage. The SSAATB is set a whole step higher, so if you need a higher version you might try using this accompaniment, as it will work just fine with a solo voice. (You can’t use the solo accompaniment with the SSAATB version though… a few of the notes will clash.)  Even up a step, the pickup notes are still fairly low, so if you need it in any other key, here are transposition instructions.

The recording with vocals and the YouTube video (both listed below) use the “Away in a Manger” lyrics. One of these days maybe I’ll have a recording using words from the other hymns as well.  🙂

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor:

Note: I don’t currently have a recording using the words to “Be Thou My Vision.” This version uses the words to “Away in a Manger.” The arrangements are identical.

Accompaniment track (Solo version):

Piano track (Solo version):

Piano track (SSAATB version):


Note: I don’t currently have a recording using the words to “Be Thou My Vision.” This version uses the words to “Away in a Manger.” The arrangements are identical.

  (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)


Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, both by day and by night,
In waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true Word
Be thou ever with me, and I with thee, Lord
Be thou my soul’s shelter, Be thou my high tow’r
Oh raise thou me heavenward, Great Pow’r of my power

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise
Be thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only the first in my heart
Oh high King of heaven, my treasure thou art

High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joy, Oh heaven’s Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be thou my vision, oh ruler of all

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂


  1. Georgia L. Fairbanks

    Sally, I don’t know you but I WANT to know you because I think you must be a saintly person. How I know that is that you FREELY share all your beautiful music with us. I love your music and arrangements so much! Therefore, I love you. A million thanks for allowing us to have this music. I am a voice teacher in Salt Lake and I use this music all the time for my voice students and my church choir has sung many of your arrangements. We are so blessed to have you.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  2. Katherine Lee

    Sister DeFord,
    I love your beautiful gift and that you use it for so much good! You are an excellent missionary!
    A family member just passed away and I have been asked to sing at her service. I was trying to find something beautiful yet unique (my family aren’t members), and I discovered Katherine Jenkins’ recording of “Homeward Bound” on YouTube. I loved it but there’s no decent Karaoke type of recording of it anywhere. Then I remembered you and found “Be Thou My Vision” and I am so delighted!!! While “Homeward Bound” was so perfect for the message I wanted to share with my family, I feel very blessed that my favorite LDS composer put together such a beautiful version of this other lovely song. I am so grateful to and for you. I know Heavenly Father must be so proud of his daughter who praises Him (and helps the rest of us to do the same) with her talents!

  3. James Jordan

    Sally, THANK YOU for such beautiful arrangements! My Choir at Pioneer Congregational UCC just loves your music.


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