Canticle of the Creatures
This is the song Francis composed whilst he was living at San Damiano's. This is the canticle of a blind man who is praising God for a sun he can no longer see. He wanted his brothers to go round the world singing it and exhorting people to turn to the Lord. his plan was to get a crowd by singing it and then have one of the brothers invite the people to draw near to God and hear what the Lord has to say!
Brother Pacifico, who had been the Prince of Poets before his conversion, sang the music which has not survived. This prose translation misses the rythem and internal rhyme of the old Italian original.
Most high, almighty, good Lord,
to you alone be praise, glory and honour and blessing.
to you, Most High, alone they belong,
and no man worthy to speak of you.
Praise be to you, my Lord, with all your creatures,
Especially messire brother sun,
who is the day through who you give us light
beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
of you, most High, he bears the proclamation.
Praised be to you my Lord, through sister moon and the stars,
In heaven you have formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be to you my Lord through brother wind
and through air and clouds, and serene and all weather,
through which you support your creatures.
Praised be to you my Lord through sister water,
having many uses, earthy (or humble) and precious and chaste.
Praised be to you my Lord through brother fire,
through whom you illuminate (or enlighten) the night.
and he is beautiful and exuberant and most vigorous and strong.
Praised be my Lord for our sister, mother earth,
she who supports and directs us
and produces varied fruits with coloured flowers and grass (or herbs).
Praised be to you my Lord through those who give pardon
who sustain infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who support (this) in peace,
for by you, Almighty, shall they be crowned.
Praised be my Lord through our sister, death of the body,
which no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin:
Blessed are those who shall find themselves in your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no evil.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give him thanks and serve him with great humility.
The second additional verse about ‘sora nostra morte corporale’ comes
In the original old Italian
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 ene dignu te mentovare.
Laudato si, mi Signore, cun tucte le tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate sole,
lo qual' è iorno et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cun 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 dai 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 enn'allumini 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 diverse 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 nol farrà male.
Laudate et benedicete mi Signore,
et rengratiate et serviateli cun grande humilitate.