This poem is often called St Patrick's Breastplate or Cry of the Deer. This is a version I had not seen before. No one is quite sure if St Patrick actually composed the poem, nonetheless, it is still deeply moving. You can read more of the history of this poem and of today's saint here.
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession
of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.
I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.
I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the
Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
As moving as the lorica is, it leaves me thinking to lighten up the mood a bit. So, toward that end here is a poetical explanation for the date (March 17th) we choose to celebrate the good saint himself.
St. Patrick's Birthday
On the eighth day of March it was, some people say,
That Saint Patrick at midnight first saw the day.
While others declare 'twas the ninth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn;
For mistakes will occur in a hurry and shock,
and some blam'd the babby—and some blam'd the clock—
Till with all their cross questions sure no one could know
If the child was too fast—or the clock was too slow.
Now the first faction fight in old Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Patrick's birthday.
Some fought for the eighth—for the ninth more would die,
And who wouldn't see right, sure they blacken'd his eye!
At last both the factions so positive grew,
That each kept a birthday, so Pat then had two.
Till Father Mulcahy, who confessed them their sins,
Said, "Ye can't have two birthdays, unless ye be twins."
Says he, "Don't be fightin' for eight or for nine,
Don't be always dividin'—but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday." "Amen," says the clerk.
"If he wasn't a twins, sure our hist'ry will show
That, at least, he is worth any two saints that we know!"
Then they all drowned the shamrock—which completed their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this.