The carillon tune sounding from Goddard Chapel’s tower this month honors our planet home, in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22nd. “All things bright and beautiful” was first published in 1848 in a collection called Hymns for Little Children. Penned by Irishwoman Cecil Frances Alexander (who famously also wrote the beloved Christmas hymn “Once in Royal David’s City”), the hymn may have been inspired by William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802), which celebrated God as designer of the natural world.
Today the hymn text and its traditionally associated tune, “Royal Oak” (English Traditional, 17th. c), are well loved far beyond its Anglican origins. Indeed, both believers and non-believers the world over value its descriptive imagery of our natural world.