The Lyrics to “All Creatures of Our God and King” Are 800 Years Old
St. Francis of Assisi, who was born in 1181 in what is now Italy, is credited with the lyrics to “All Creatures of Our God and King.” The lyrics are adapted from “The Canticle of the Sun” (Canticum Solis), a poem he wrote during the last year of his life. Written at a time when he was weak and struggled with periods of temporary blindness, St. Francis wished to express the unity he felt with nature and the feelings of peace he experienced as his earthly life drew to a close.
Nearly 700 years after the death of St. Francis of Assisi, in 1906, music editor Ralph Vaughan Williams published the version of “All Creatures of Our God and King” that we know today. It first appeared in the English hymnal for the Church of England and was later added to the LDS hymnbook. On Glory!: Music of Rejoicing, an album by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the song “Psalm 148” is included, which uses the same music as “All Creatures of Our God and King” but with different lyrics.
For more information on the history behind this hymn, listen to Episode 2 of the History of Hymns series on The Mormon Channel.