All creatures of our God and KingParaphraser: William H. Draper; Author: St. Francis of Assisi (1225)
Tune: LASST UNS ERFREUEN
Published in 173 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voice with us and sing:
O burning sun with golden beam,
and shining moon with silver gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
2 Cool flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for your Lord to hearl
Fierce fire, so masterful and bright
providing us with warmth and light,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Source: Sing With Me #14
|First Line:||All creatures of our God and King|
|Title:||All Creatures of our God and King|
|Latin Title:||Cantico di fratre sole|
|Author:||St. Francis of Assisi (1225)|
|Paraphraser:||William H. Draper|
|Meter:||188.8.131.52.8.8 with refrain|
|Source:||Laudato, si, mi Signor|
|Place of Origin:||San Damiano, Italy|
|Refrain First Line:||O praise Him, O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!|
|Liturgical Use:||Opening Hymns|
st. 1 = Job 12:7-10, Ps. 148:3
st. 2 = Ps. 148:8
st. 4 = Ps. 148:9
st. 5 = Ps. 148:11-13
Virtually blind and unable to endure daylight, St. Francis (b, Assisi, Italy, c. 1182; d. Assisi, 1226) wrote this nature hymn during the summer of 1225 in the seclusion of a hut near San Damiano, Italy. The text is a meditation on Psalm 145 (although it also reflects Psalm 148 as well as the Canticle of the Three Young Men in the Furnace-an apocryphal addition to Dan. 3). Originally in Italian ("Laudato sia Dio mio Signore"), the text is known as the "Song of All Creatures" and as the "Canticle of the Sun."
St. Francis of Assisi is universally known for preaching to the birds and urging them to praise God. But his whole life was one of service to God and humanity. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Francis led a carefree, adventurous life as a youth, but after an illness and a pilgrimage to Rome in 1205, he voluntarily began a traveling life of poverty. He restored run-down chapels and shrines, preached, sang devotional "laudi spirituali" (adapted from Italian folk songs), and helped the poor and the lepers. Other young men joined him, and Francis founded the order named after him; the Franciscans were approved by the Pope in 1210. Legends about Francis abound, and various stories, prayers, and visions are attributed to him.
William H. Draper (b. Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, 1855; d. Clifton, Bristol, England, 1933) translated–or rather paraphrased–the text (which appears in virtually all English hymnals) for a children's Whitsuntide (Pentecost) Festival in Leeds, England, around 1910. Originally in seven stanzas, Draper's translation was published with the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN in the Public School Hymn Book (1919). The modernized version in the Psalter Hymnal omits the original stanza 6 (about death) and combines the original stanzas 5 and 7 into one (now st. 5).
Educated at Cheltenham College and Keble College, Oxford, England, Draper was ordained in the Church of England in 1880. He served at least six churches during his lifetime, including the Temple Church in London (1919-1930). He is known for his sixty translations of Latin, Greek, and German hymns, many published in The Victoria Book of Hymns (1897) and Hymns for Holy Week (1899).
"All Creatures" is a catalog text that enumerates various features of the creation and summons all to praise the Lord with their "alleluias." Although not found in the original text, the "alleluias" make splendid sense and are necessary for the tune. Repeating the words "O praise him" each stanza emphasizes the cosmic praise of all creation: the sun and moon (st. 1); wind, clouds, and light (st. 2); water and fire (st. 3); the earth and its produce (st. 4); all creatures (st. 5).
Many occasions as a strong opening hymn of praise; a congregational call to worship; springtime prayer services for crops/industry and for harvest thanksgiving (especially st. 4); festive processionals (use a concertato arrangement with brass and choral parts).
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The text of this beloved hymn of praise is a translation and paraphrase of a text written by St. Francis of Assisi in 1225 known as the “Canticle of the Sun” or “Song of All Creatures.” This specific translation was done by William H. Draper around 1910 for a children’s Pentecost festival.
Differences in text abound between hymnals. Worship and Rejoice contains a verse that is not found in many others, beginning: “All you who are of tender heart….” Another verse found in some hymnals, such as the Psalter Hymnal and Presbyterian Hymnal, begins, “Earth, ever fertile, day by day.” Even among similar stanzas, the words differ. For example, in Worship and Rejoice, the third stanza begins, “O flowing water, pure and clear,” while in the United Methodist Hymnal, that same verse begins, “O sister water, flowing clear.” Subtle differences, but enough to ensure no two hymnals are the same. Almost every modern hymnal agrees, though, in taking out the original sixth stanza, themed around death.
The tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN is believed to be a seventeenth century German folk melody. A common setting of the tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams was published in 1906, and is used in many hymnals today. The “Alleluias” and “O Praise Him” were added to make the text fit this tune, and are a brilliant addition to the existing text, emphasizing the scope of continual praise lifted to God from all creation.
This melody definitely soars, and can be quite fatiguing when sung early in the morning. Though commonly sung in the key of D, consider dropping it down to C if you have an early service. Note too that this hymn is perfect for variations in accompaniment. In each verse, pull out all the stops on the “Alleluias” while maintaining long unison lines in the beginning. Pull back on stanza three – perhaps with just light piano in the upper register, and come in again stronger on the second half of that stanza which reads “Fierce fire, so masterful and bright.” Again, pull out all the stops on the last stanza, or end it a cappella – both can be powerful and meaningful.
This hymn was written for Pentecost Sunday, and it remains a perfect opening hymn for this occasion. It could also be used on Ascension Day or All Saints Day, but really would be fitting as a Call to Worship or opening hymn of praise any Sunday of the year.
Try pairing this hymn with “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” or, when celebrating the Creation and the Creator, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “Let All Things Now Living,” or a contemporary song, “All the Earth.” If you want to put the hymn in the context of its original text, consider reading part or all of Matthew Arnold’s poetic, literal translation of St. Francis’ text, before singing the hymn. This can be found in Albert Bailey’s book, The Gospel in Hymns, on page 266.
Organ arrangements include "Variations on All Creatures of Our God and King" by Janet Linker and "Partita on Lasst uns erfreuen"; or for organ and brass Vaclav Nelhybel's arrangement of LASST UNS ERFREUEN. A setting of the hymn for praise band was made popular by David Crowder. In his version, he tweaks the melody line of the third verse, where he also, instead of singing “Alleluia,” sings “O Praise Him,” so make sure your congregation is aware of these changes when introducing the song, especially if they’re used to the standard hymnal version.For choir, congregation, organ and trumpet, there is David Busarow's arrangement; or for choir, congregation, handbells and brass try Hal Hopson's "Concerto on 'All Creatures Of Our God and King'". For choir alone, Craig Curry has arranged "All Creatures of Our God and King" in rhythm and blues style. A new song you could introduce to your congregation, either during the offering or as prelude music, is a setting of the Canticle of the Sun by Gungor, called “Brother Moon.” This beautiful and uplifting setting perfectly evokes the joy of St. Francis’ text.
Laura de Jong Hymnary.org
In the year 1225, completely blind and nearing death, St. Francis of Assisi arrived at the Convent of St. Damian to bid goodbye to his dear friend, Sister Clara, the first woman to follow the call of St. Francis and take vows of the Order. Clara built him a small reed hut in the garden of her little monastery. It’s said that at times St. Francis could be heard singing faint melodies from within the hut. It was at a meal with the sisters after having stayed for some time at the monastery that he wrote his famous text, “Canticle of the Sun,” later paraphrased into the beloved hymn we sing today.
As we sing this hymn, we join with Christians throughout the ages and with all of Creation to sing our praises to God the Creator. Psalm 145 says, “My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” This is our call and our invitation, and now, using the words God has given us through the voice of a Saint, we answer that invitation with a joyful “Alleluia!”
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|Scripture||First Line||Instances (17)||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|Genesis 1:1 - 2:4; Psalm 8; Psalm 19; Psalm 65; Psalm 104; Psalm 136:1-9; Psalm 136:23-26; Psalm 147; Psalm 148; Psalm 150; Judith 16:13-16; 2 Esdras 16:54-62; Luke 12:22-34; Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Genesis 1:1 - 2:4; Psalm 8; Psalm 19; Psalm 65; Psalm 104; Psalm 136:1-9; Psalm 136:23-26; Psalm 147; Psalm 148; Psalm 150; Judith 16:13-16; 2 Esdras 16:54-62; Luke 12:22-34; Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Peter 1:3-9||All creatures of our God and King||Common Praise #355||All Creatures of Our God and King||Francis of Assisi (1182-1226); William Henry Draper (1855-1933)||Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)||184.108.40.206 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||1998|
|Job 12:7-10; Psalm 148||All creatures of our God and King||Sing With Me #14||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper; Francis of Assisi||220.127.116.11 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||2006|
|Job 12:7-10; Psalm 148||All creatures of our God and King||Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #431||All Creatures of Our God and King||Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||Ralph Vaughan Williams||18.104.22.168 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||E Flat Major||English||1987|
|Job 12:7-10; Psalm 148:3-13||All creatures of our God and King||Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #551||All Creatures of Our God and King||Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||2013|
|Psalm 31:1-16||Let all things their creator bless||The United Methodist Hymnal #764b||Psalm 31:1-16||Let all things their creator bless||St. Francis of Assisi||[Psalm 31:1-16]||1989|
|Psalm 66:1||All creatures of our God and King||Baptist Hymnal 1991 #27||All Creatures of Our God and King||O praise Him, O praise Him||Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper; Thomas Ken||Ralph Vaughan Williams||Irregular||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||E Flat Major||1991|
|Psalm 66:1||All creatures of our God and King||African American Heritage Hymnal #147||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper, 1855-1933; Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226||Norman Johnson||22.214.171.124 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||E Flat Major||English||2001|
|Psalm 103:22||All creatures of our God and King||Celebration Hymnal #63||All Creatures of Our God and King||St. Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||Ralph Vaughan Williams; Ken Barker||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||1997|
|Psalm 104; Psalm 145:10; Psalm 145:21||All creatures of our God and King||The Worshiping Church #356||All Creatures of Our God and King||St. Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||Ralph Vaughan Williams||126.96.36.199 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||1990|
|Psalm 105; Psalm 148||All creatures of our God and King||Gather Comprehensive #533||All Creatures of Our God and King||Alleluia||Francis of Assisi, 1186-1226; William H. Draper, 1855-1933||Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958||188.8.131.52 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREULEN||D Major||Italian; English||1994|
|Psalm 145:10||All creatures of our God and King||Hymns of Faith #12||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper; St. Francis of Assisi||[All creatures of our God and King]||D Major||1980|
|Psalm 145:10; Psalm 148:3-7||All creatures of our God and King||Songs for Life #86||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper; Francis of Assisi||184.108.40.206 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||1995|
|Psalm 145:10; 1 Peter 5:7||All creatures of our God and King||Trinity Hymnal #115||All Creatures of Our God and King||O praise him, O praise him||Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||220.127.116.11 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||1990|
|Psalm 148||All creatures of our God and King||Chalice Hymnal #22||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper; Francis of Assisi||Ralph Vaughan Williams||18.104.22.168.8.8 with refrain||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||1995|
|Psalm 148||All creatures of our God and King||Presbyterian Hymnal #455||All Creatures of Our God and King||Francis of Assisi; William Henry Draper||Ralph Vaughan Williams||22.214.171.124 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||English||1990|
|Psalm 148||Let all things their creator bless||The United Methodist Hymnal #861||Psalm 148||Let all things their creator bless||Francis of Assisi; William H. Draper||[Psalm 148]||E Flat Major||English||1989|
|Colossians 3:13; Psalm 145:21; Psalm 104; 1 Peter 5:7||All creatures of our God and King||Worship and Rejoice #23||All Creatures of Our God and King||William H. Draper, 1855-1933; St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226||Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958||126.96.36.199 with alleluias||LASST UNS ERFREUEN||D Major||2001|