All Things Bright and Beautiful

Representative Text

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.

1 Each little flow'r that opens,
each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colors,
he made their tiny wings. [Refrain]

2 The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky. [Refrain]

3 The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
he made them, ev'ry one. [Refrain]

4 The tall trees in the greenwood,
the meadows where we play,
the flowers by the water
we gather ev'ry day. [Refrain]

5 He gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well. [Refrain]

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #251

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander

As a small girl, Cecil Frances Humphries (b. Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, 1818; Londonderry, Ireland, 1895) wrote poetry in her school's journal. In 1850 she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate (chief bishop) of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles each day to visit the sick and the poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf. Alexander was strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement and by John Keble's Christian Year. Her first book of poetry, Verses for Seasons, was a "Christian Year" for children. She wrote hymns based on the Apostles' Creed, baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Ten Commandment… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Each little flower that opens
Title: All Things Bright and Beautiful
Author: Cecil Frances Alexander (1848)
Meter: with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: All things bright and beautiful
Copyright: Public Domain


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)



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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