Scripture Verse

His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4


Cecil F. Alexander (1818–1895)

Words: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der, 1889.

Music: St. Pat­rick (Stan­ford) Charles V. Sta­nford, 1902 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Charles V. Stanford (1852–1924)
National Portrait Gallery


The ly­rics are a trans­la­tion of a Gael­ic po­em called St. Pat­rick’s Lo­ri­ca, or breas­tplate. A lo­ri­ca was a mys­ti­cal gar­ment that was sup­posed to pro­tect the wear­er from dan­ger and ill­ness, and guar­an­tee en­try in­to Hea­ven.

This hymn can be a chal­lenge to sing with­out see­ing the words matched to the notes, but it is a mas­ter­piece ne­ver­the­less.

Origin of the Hymn

Alexander penned these words at the re­quest of Her­cu­les Hen­ry Dick­in­son, Dean of the Cha­pel Roy­al at Dub­lin Cas­tle:

I wrote to her sug­gest­ing that she should fill a gap in our Ir­ish Church Hym­nal by giv­ing us a me­tric­al ver­sion of St. Pat­rick’s Lo­ri­ca, and I sent her a care­ful­ly col­lat­ed co­py of the best prose trans­la­tions of it. With­in a week she sent me that ex­quis­ite­ly beau­ti­ful as well as faith­ful ver­sion which ap­pears in the ap­pen­dix to our Church Hym­nal.


Saint Patrick Catholic Church
Junction City, Ohio
Nheyob, 21 March 2015
Wikimedia Commons


I bind unto my­self to­day
The strong name of the Tri­nirty,
By in­vo­ca­tion of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me for­ev­er
By pow­er of faith, Christ’s in­car­na­tion;
His bap­tism in Jor­dan ri­ver,
His death on cross for my sal­va­tion;
His burst­ing from the spic­èd tomb,
His riding up the hea­ven­ly way,
His com­ing at the day of doom
I bind un­to my­self to­day.

I bind un­to myself the pow­er
Of the great love of che­ru­bim;
The sweet Well done in judg­ment hour,
The serv­ice of the se­ra­phim,
Confessors’ faith, apos­tles’ word,
The pa­tri­archs’ pray­ers, the pro­phets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done un­to the Lord
And pu­ri­ty of virg­in souls.

I bind un­to my­self to­day
The vir­tues of the star lit hea­ven,
The glo­ri­ous sun’s 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
Around the old eter­nal rocks.

I bind un­to my­self to­day
The pow­er of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to heark­en to my need.
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;
Or 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, the poi­soned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy re­turn­ing.

Christ be with me, Christ with­in me,
Christ be­hind 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.
By whom all na­ture hath cre­ation,
Eternal Fa­ther, Spir­it, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my sal­va­tion,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.