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Let All Things Now Living
The lyrics are set to the tune of The Ash Grove. The Ash Grove (Welsh: Llwyn Onn) is a traditional Welsh folk song whose melody has been set to numerous sets of lyrics. The most well-known was written, in English, by John Oxenford in the 19th century.
The first published version of the tune was in 1802 in "The Bardic Museum". The book was written by Edward Jones, a harpist. About 4 years later a version with words appeared, under the name "Llwyn Onn". It tells of a sailor's love for "Gwen of Llwyn". The tune might be much older, as a similar tune appears in "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay (1728), in the song "Cease Your Funning". In 1922 , however Kidson claimed that John Gay's tune derives from the Morris dance tune "Constant Billy", which is first known in Playford's "Dancing Master".
The tune of "The Ash Grove" is used for the hymn "Let All Things Now Living" in 1939 by composer Katherine K. Davis. Around 1962 another song called "The Irish Free State" was written to this tune. "The Ash Grove" featured in the 1980 BBC mini-series Pride and Prejudice.
Lyrics by Katherine Davis
Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.
His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
"To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"