Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Be Thou My Strength

Be Thou My Strength

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 09, 2012

Be Thou My Strength

By Charles H. Welch
Cowley, Wyoming

O Master, shall I come to thee,
And be forever thine?
Shall I behold thy blessed face,
And hear thy voice divine?
Be thou my Shepherd and my Strength,
To guide my feet each day;
And may thy Spirit ever teach
The straight and narrow way.

I do not ask to miss the snares
That in my pathway lie;
To have no thorns to prick my feet,
My weary soul to try.
I only ask that thou wilt be
My Strength, my Shield, my Friend;
That thou wilt guide my erring feet,
In safety to the end.




  1. Two thoughts as I was reading this:

    1) When did the understanding of the necessity of trials as a part of this life, eloquently expressed in the second stanza? Certainly none of us looks for trials that are not ours, but it seems that in many aspects of life, the absence of trials seems to be a mark of Godliness. Whenever I find myself slipping into thinking that I am having this or that trial because I wasn’t good/smart/faithful/ prayerful/perfect enough, I have to pull myself back to

    I only ask that thou wilt be
    My Strength, my Shield, my Friend;
    That thou wilt guide my erring feet,
    In safety to the end.

    2) I love the combining of the path being straight and narrow in the first stanza, and the fact that snares and thorn are ON that straight and narrow path. I have read long explanations of that concept that didn’t have the same impact as this beautiful two stanza poem.

    So, is there a backstory to the poem? Should I know who Charles H Welch was?

    (My personal blog has a strong bent towards poetry and creative nonfiction. Is this a poem I can repost, (with proper credit to Charles H Welch, and a link to this post as where I found it) on my blog, with my reactions to it? Or is it more appropriate to simply link here?)


    Comment by Julia — August 10, 2012 @ 3:37 am

  2. Julia, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon I post a poem written by a Latter-day Saint poet, as another way of thinking about the Mormon past (this is a Mormon history blog, after all!); on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, I post either a short story or another episode in one of serial fiction for the same purpose. There’s no reason you should recognize the poets or authors. In most cases they were just “plain Mormon folks” and not polished poets. Some of the poetry is really good, others have especially Mormon themes without being necessarily good poetry, but it all gives us access to the past.

    You’re welcome to repost — I don’t have any copyright on these old poems, of course — and a link/credit would be appreciated.

    You can find a list of links to other poetry already posted here by clicking on the “Topical Guide” link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, then using your browser’s search function to go down to the “Poetry” category.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 10, 2012 @ 6:54 am

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