Littell's Living Age/Volume 139/Issue 1798/Hymn by St. Columba



Sweet is to me in Uchả Alữinn?[1]
On a peaked crag to be,
That I might often behold
The face of the boundless sea.


To look on the heaving waves,
While in their Father's ear
Music forever they chant,
Hymning the world's career.


The level and star-bright strand
No sorrow it were to see,
And to hear the wondrous birds,
Sailing on happily.


The thunder of crowding waves
To hear on the rocky shore.
And down by the church to hear
The sounding surges roar.


To see the swift-flying flocks
Over the watery plain,
And, greatest of wonders all,
The monsters of the main.


To see the ebb and the flood
In power upon the sea,
And Cul-ri-Erin[2] there, I say,
My secret name would be.


And grief would come to my heart,
While gazing to her shore,
And all the many ills I've done
I weeping would deplore.


The Godhead then would I bless,
Him who doth all things keep,
Heaven with its orders bright untold,
And earth and shore and deep.


I would search in all the books
That good to my soul would bring,
Now to beloved Heaven ICd kneel,
And now a psalm I'd sing.


Heaven's high one, the holy Chief,
My thoughts would now employ,
Anon, to work without constraint
Would be to me a joy.


Dulse from the rocks I would pluck,
At times I'd fishing go,
At times I would feed the poor,
Now in the cell bend low.


Best counsel in the sight of God
To me there hath been given,
From error he shall keep me free,
My king, the Lord of Heaven!

Macmillan's Magazine.

  1. Lovely Breast — The rocky heights on the southwest of Iona are called Uchdachan at this day.
  2. Back turned to Ireland — Erin no more!