Words by St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), tr. by William H. Draper (1855-1933)

(Also included in Baptist Hymnal – 1975 ed. #9; 1991 ed. #27; 2008 ed. #11; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle Publishing Co., Chicago, 1967 – #24; The Celebration Hymnal, Word/Integrity, Waco, 1997 – #63; Inspiring Hymns, Singspiration/Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1951 – #232; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, Word, Waco, 1986 – #64)

The Hymn

1.     All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2.     Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3.      Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
4.      Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

5.      And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
6.      And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
7.      Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
(hymn words accessed from Cyber Hymnal)

[Bold print indicates verses included in our study hymnal.]

Scriptural Connection

Because this is a hymn of praise it is no wonder that hymn collectors over the years have chosen any one of a number of the praise Psalms as the connection for this hymn. For a reference among these many you might connect with Psalm 66, Psalm 100, or Psalm 104 (the latter is popular among many hymnal editors).

What does it mean?

This is a hymn that calls all of Creation into the worship hall of praise. Francis of Assisi having been renowned for his love of nature and his desire to make connection between the creation and its Creator it is not surprising that he would pen this great hymn of our faith.

As you can see, there were a number of stanzas penned for this hymn of faith. The writer calls on the heavenly bodies as well as the animals and all of Nature to adore the God who made them. The final verse points us to the Trinity—which indicates the orthodox belief in One God in Triune Being (Father, Son, and Spirit) (see the post on “Holy! Holy! Holy!” for more on the Trinity).

Archaic language that might be cumbersome for the modern reader/singer of this hymn would include the “Thou” and “Ye” references. These are both words of second person address. While some might opt for changing these references to “you” for the modern reader, the ancient language offers something that we miss out on today. Namely the use of a “thou” rather than “you” indicates the close family/friend relationship between children and parents or brothers and sisters. One misconception is that to use the term “thee” or “thou” in addressing a person is more formal than the simple “you.” Quite the opposite is true. The thought that Christ is closer than a brother for the believer touches on the endearment of using such language. A second reason to keep the language from the 19th Century translation/paraphrase is the poetic nature of Shakespearean English.

This same language helps us to see the connection that St. Francis draws between mankind and the rest of creation. This also gives an ear to Christ’s assertion that if people ceased to praise God, then all of Nature would do it. (see Luke 19:28-40 for the story.)

Some later hymn collectors (including the editors of the two latest versions of Baptist Hymnals) added the words commonly known as Old 100 (or Doxology) as a verse of conclusion for this hymn. The main reason to do this is to give the practice of praise to those voices called into praise. St. Francis has called us to worship, now let us worship.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.