The Canticle of the Creatures - 113 

The Canticle of the Creatures

Chronologically, there are three stages to consider in the development of this poetic praise of God, each of which reveals a side of Francis’s vision of God, creation, and the human soul. Francis’s companions tell us of the composition of the first part of this piece, verses 1-9, in which the saint sings the praises of creation in glorifying God. While suffering intensely from his physical infirmities, he announced: “I wish to compose a new hymn about the Lord’s creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its Creator.”a A short while later, after hearing of a quarrel that had broken out between the civil and religious authorities of Assisi, Francis asked the brothers to go before them singing these verses, but added two more, verses 10-11.b He composed the final verses 12-13 on his death bed.c Verse 14 may well be a refrain used after each verse of the entire Canticle.

1Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing, Rv 4:9 Rv 4:11
2To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.d
3Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, Tb 8:7
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.e
4And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
5Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, Ps 148:3




Canticum fratris solis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 39-40

Canticum fratris solis

1Altissimu onnipotente bon signore,
tue so le laude la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.
2Ad te solo, altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ene dignu te mentovare.
3Laudato si, mi signore, cun tucte le tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate sole,
lo qual'è iorno, et allumini noi per loi.
4Et ellu è bellu e radiante cun grande splendore,
de te, altissimo, porta significatione.
5Laudato si, mi signore, per sora luna e le stelle,
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.

Versio cantici latina

1Altissime, omnipotens, bone Domine,
tuae sunt laudes, gloria et honor et omnis benedictio,
2tibi soli, Altissime, conveniunt;
et nullus homo est dignus te nominare.
3Laudatus sis, mi Domine, cum universa creatura tua,
principaliter cum domino fratre sole,
qui est dies, et illuminas nos per ipsum;
4Et ipse pulcher et irradians magno splendore;
de te, Altissime, defert significationem.
5Laudatus sis, mi Domine, propter sororem
lunam et stellas, quas in
caelo creasti claras, pretiosas et bellas.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 113