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All Creatures of Our God and King

(St. Francis of Assisi/William Henry Draper)

This hymn started it’s life in 1225 when it was composed by St. Francis of Assisi in his Laudes Creaturarum also known as The Canticle of the Sun, which was based on Psalm 148.  It was originally written in Italian using the Umbrian dialect, thought to be one of the first pieces of literature in Italian, but has since been translated into other languages many times.  It is traditionally though that Saint Francis and his brothers sung the canticle on his deathbed.

The Canticle of the Sun was first referred to by the Italian friar Thomas Celano in his three-part hagiography Vita Prima, which was written about Saint Francis of Assisi in 1228 soon after he had been canonised.

Several versions of the canticle have been set to music and arranged by composers that include Franz Liszt, Amy Beach, Paul Hindemith, Leo Sowerby, Charles Martin Loeffler, Carl Orff, Joaquin Rodriguez and Roy Harris.

The hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” was written by William Henry Draper who was a Church of England rector at the parish church in Adel in Yorkshire, England.  It is a paraphrase of the canticle with music set to the 17th century German hymn “Lasst uns erfreuen” and was written for the Whitsuntide festival.  It was first published in the Public School Hymn Book in 1919 and currently appears in 179 different hymn books.  It is now used more for the early Easter season.  Ralph Vaughn Williams had previously arranged the music for the tunr which was published i The English Hymnal in 1906. John Rutter has written also written music for the hymn.

On television the  hymn has been used in the British TV series Mr. Bean.

Christopher Parkening recordings
EMI Angel CDC-7 47525 2 (CD: Simple Gifts)
Guitar – Christopher Parkening
Arranger – Rick Foster