End of Europe's Middle Ages
The "Canticle of the Sun"
by St. Francis of Assisi
The Canticle of the Sun was written by St. Francis of Assisi
(1182-1226). Having received a good education in his youth, Francis was
well-acquainted with classical literature and, when he turned to the religious
life, fell in with Augustine's ideas that nature and the material world were
gifts from God and should be valued and appreciated. This view quickly gained
popularity amongst those living in the material world outside monastic walls
even though it went against the teachings of other important religious
figures, such as Tertullian and Bernard of Clairvaux.
The Canticle of the Sun
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord,
Praise, glory and honour and benediction all, are Thine.
To Thee alone do they belong, most High,
And there is no man fit to mention Thee.
Praise be to Thee, my Lord, with all Thy creatures,
Especially to my worshipful brother sun,
The which lights up the day, and through him dost Thou brightness give;
And beautiful is he and radiant with splendor great;
Of Thee, most High, signification gives.
Praised be my Lord, for sister moon and for the stars,
In heaven Thou has formed them clear and precious and fair.
Praised be my Lord for brother wind
And for the air and clouds and fair and every kind of weather,
By the which Thou givest to Thy creatures nourishment.
Praised be my Lord for sister water,
The which is greatly helpful and humble and precious and pure.
Praised be my Lord for brother fire,
By the which Thou lightest up the dark.
And fair is he and gay and mighty and strong.
Praised be my Lord for our sister, mother earth,
The which sustains and keeps us
And brings forth diverse fruits with grass and flowers bright.
Praised be my Lord for those who for Thy love forgive
And weakness bear tribulation.
Blessed those who shall in peace endure,
For by Thee, most High, shall they be crowned.
Praised be my Lord for our sister, the bodily death,
From the which no living man can flee.
Woe to them who die in mortal sin;
Blessed those who shall find themselves in Thy most holy will,
For the second death shall do them no ill.
Praise ye and bless ye my Lord, and give Him thanks,
And be subject unto Him with great humility.
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The End of Europe's Middle Ages / Applied History Research Group / University of Calgary
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