All Things Bright and Beautiful

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander

Alexander, Cecil Frances, née Humphreys, second daughter of the late Major John Humphreys, Miltown House, co. Tyrone, Ireland, b. 1823, and married in 1850 to the Rt. Rev. W. Alexander, D.D., Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. Mrs. Alexander's hymns and poems number nearly 400. They are mostly for children, and were published in her Verses for Holy Seasons, with Preface by Dr. Hook, 1846; Poems on Subjects in the Old Testament, pt. i. 1854, pt. ii. 1857; Narrative Hymns for Village Schools, 1853; Hymns for Little Children, 1848; Hymns Descriptive and Devotional, 1858; The Legend of the Golden Prayers 1859; Moral Songs, N.B.; The Lord of the Forest and his Vassals, an Allegory, &c.; or contributed to the Lyra Anglicana, the S.P.C.K. Psalms and Hym… Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 6:28-29
all st. = Gen 1:31, Eccles. 3:11, Neh. 9:6, Ps. 148

Cecil F. Alexander (PHH 346) wrote a number of hymn texts on articles of the Apostles' Creed. This text, whose biblical source is Genesis 1:31 ("and God saw all that he had made, and it was very good"), is Alexander's explanation of the Creed's phrase "Maker of heaven and earth." The text was first published in her Hymns for Little Children (1848) in seven stanzas, one of which was:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly
And ordered their estate.

In the currently familiar form of this hymn Alexander's original first stanza has been turned into the refrain, and her stanzas 3 and 6 have been omitted.

The vivid images depicting the creedal statement are easily understood by God's children of all ages. It is a catalog text (see also 431 and 433) because it enumerates various creatures God has made: flowers and birds (st. 1); mountains, rivers, daylight, and evening (st. 2); summer, winter, and harvest (st. 4). The final stanza and the refrain teach us that the creation points to and praises the Creator, for "the Lord God made them all." Note that "all" is used four times in the refrain!

Liturgical Use:
As a creation hymn, especially for children but also suitable for adults; with Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 9, as a hymn of confession of faith.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
==========================

All things bright and beautiful. Cecil F. Alexander, née Humphreys. [God, our Maker.] A successful and popular hymn for children, on the article of the Creed, "Maker of Heaven and Earth," which appeared in her Hymns for Little Children, 1848, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. It is usually given in an unaltered form, as in Thring's Collection, 1882.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

ROYAL OAK

ROYAL OAK is presumably named for a tree at Boscobel, Shropshire, England, in which King Charles II hid during the Battle of Worcester, 1651. A folk song that may well be older than the seventeenth century, ROYAL OAK was associated in the 1600s with the loyalist song "The Twenty-Ninth of May," a son…

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ALL THINGS BRIGHT


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