The Canticle of the Sun
The Canticle of the Sun (or The Canticle of the Creatures) was composed by St. Francis of Assisi.
The legend goes that when St. Francis was recovering from an illness in a hut outside the convent of St. Clare, the nuns heard from his lips this rapturous new song. The informality, even casualness, of its composition and its rambling rhythms and rhymes make it as simple and unaffected in its form as the Umbrian dialect in which it is written.
Altissimu, onnipotente, bon Signore,
tue so' le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.
Ad te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.
Laudato sie, mi' Signore, cum tucte le tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate sole,
lo qual'è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de te, Altissimo, porta significatione.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora luna e le stelle:
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate vento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale a le tue creature dài sustentamento.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sor'aqua,
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra matre terra,
la quale ne sustenta et governa,
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti flori et herba.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo tuo amore
et sostengo infirmitate et tribulatione.
Beati quelli ke 'l sosterrano in pace,
ka da te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trovarà ne le tue sanctissime voluntati,
ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male.
Laudate e benedicete mi' Signore et rengratiate
e serviateli cum grande humilitate.
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather
through which You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
Hear / download the original Italian (Umbrian) version of the Canticle here.
Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna, the Italian version of the film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, directed by Franco Zefferelli (1972), has a song based on the Canticle. This was composed by Riz Ortolani and was sung by Claudio Baglioni. Here's a video clip of this song.
Finally, here's a video clip of the English version of the same song, sung by Donovan.
Image: Stained glass window, St. Francis Chapel, by Kessler Studios.