Sunday 22 May 2016

Teach me, O Trinity

E. Hull Poem, Book of the Gael (1913)

To mark Trinity Sunday, below is a poem taken from a 1913 collection of texts and translations by the Anglican writer Eleanor Hull (1860-1935). She is perhaps best known for her English versification of the hymn 'Be Thou My Vision'. Miss Hull contributed translations from Old Irish to many of the scholarly journals of her day and published various books on early Irish history and mythology. The poem below, by the 12th/13th-century writer Muireadhach Albanach Ó Dálaigh, is a beautiful plea to the Holy Trinity:


By Murdoch O'Daly, called Murdoch "the Scotchman" (Muredach Albanach), on account of his affection for that country; born in Connaught towards the close of the twelfth century.

TEACH me, O Trinity,
All men sing praise to Thee, 
Let me not backward be, 
Teach me, O Trinity. 

Come Thou and dwell with me, 
Lord of the holy race; 
Make here thy resting-place, 
Hear me, O Trinity. 

That I Thy love may prove. 
Teach Thou my heart and hand. 
Ever at Thy command 
Swiftly to move. 

Like to a rotting tree 
Is this vile heart of me; 
Let me Thy healing see, 
Help me, O Trinity. 

Sinful, beholding Thee; 
Yet clean from theft and blood My hands; 
O Son of God, 
For Mary's love, answer me. 

In my adversity 
No great man stooped to me, 
No good man pitied me, 
God ope'd His heart to me. 

Lied I, as others lie. 
They deceived, so have I, 
On others' lie I built my lie — Will my God pass this by? 

Truth art Thou, truth I crave, 
If on a lie I rest, I'm lost ; 
My vow demands my uttermost; 
Save, Trinity, O save!

Eleanor Hull, ed. Poem Book of the Gael,  Translations from Irish Gaelic Poetry into English Prose and Verse, (London 1912), 156-157.

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