DESCRIPTION: "All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice." Alternately, "Make ye a joyful sounding noise, Unto Jehovah, all the earth." The listener is reminded that Jehovah is God, and is advised to enter "his courts with thankfulness."
AUTHOR: unknown (see NOTES)
EARLIEST DATE: 1560 (Psalms of David in English)
KEYWORDS: religious Bible nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England) US(NE)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Fireside, p. 287, "Old Hundredth" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-BoA, pp. 28-29, "Psalm 100 (A Psalm of Praise)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 366, "Old Hundred" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 409-410, "Old Hundred"
ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, _One Hundred and One Famous Hymns_ (Hallberg, 1982), pp. 26-27, "All People That On Earth Do Dwell" (1 text, 1 tune)
Robert J. Morgan, _Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories_, Nelson, 2004, pp. 6-7, "All People That on Earth Do Dwell" (1 text, 1 tune)
John Julian, editor, _A Dictionary of Hymnology_, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), pp. 43-44, "All people that on earth do dwell" (1 text)
Hymn for Syttende Mai (Pankake-PHCFSB, pp. 18-19 -- though the words have to be squeezed pretty hard to fit)
The Dogsology (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 156)
National Thanksgiving Ode ("Ancient of Days! before whose throne," by C. C. Haven) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 106)
Our Country ("Our Country! 'Tis of thee we sing") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 119)
Thanksgiving Song ("Ruler of Nations! Sovereign Lord," by C. C. Haven) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 155)
The Union Soldier's Prayer ("Almighty God! eternal friend") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 163)
Centennial Hymn ("Our fathers' God, we come to the; To thee our grateful voices raise") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 79)
Gratitude ("Father Supreme! as here we stand") (by Prof. Edward North, [class of 18]41) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 19)
Grange Benediction ("Praise Nature's God who rules above") (by A. P. Knapp) (Albert P. Knapp, _Grange Songster_, 1915, p. 6)
NOTES [1521 words]: This tune is now better known as "The Doxology," but those words are a relatively recent addition -- they are part of a work by Thomas Ken (sometimes spelled Thomas Kenn). According to Kunitz/Haycraft, p. 301, Ken was "one of the fathers of English hymnody," but few of his works are still used in any significant way. He lived from 1637 to 1711, perhaps lived for a time with Izaak Walton, and earned his M.A. in 1664. McKim, p. 313, says that King James II called Ken "the most eloquent preacher" among the Protestants of his time -- but given that James II was a Catholic, I'm not sure that should be considered praise.
The Doxology apparently is from his Manuel for Winchester Scholars of 1674. He drifted into, then out of, royal favor, and produced many other books but nothing else of great quality or historical significance.
Julian, p. 616, says "The bare details of B[isho]p Ken's life... [are]:-- Born at Berkhampstead, July, 1637; Scholar of Winchester, 1651; Fellow of New College, Oxford, 1657; B.A., 1661; Rector of Little Easton, 1663; Fellow of Winchester, 1666; Rector of Brightstone, 1667; Rector of Woodhay and Prebendary of Winchester, 1669; Chaplain to the Princess Mary [later Mary II] at the Hague, 1679; returns to Winchester, 1680; B[ishop] of Bath and Wells, 1685; imprisoned in the Tower, 1688; deprived [of his bishopric], 1691; died at Longleat, March 19, 1710/11.
"The parents of Ken both died during his childhood, and he grew up under the guardianship of Izaak Walton, who had married Ken's elder sister, Ann." Among his other acts of piety (?) was "refus[ing] Nell Gwynne the use of his house when Charles II came to Winchester" -- but he did provide genuine support to those who were punished after the Battle of Sedgmoor in 1685, and was at the scaffold of the defeated Duke of Monmouth.
Apparently his literary reputation was sufficient that a great deal of stuff was published under his name after his death, and even his authentic works rewritten; Julian devotes much of pp. 617-621 to the history of this (with a supplement on pp. 1658-1659, which seems to indicate that the song dates back at least to 1674), and gives a detailed examination of the "Evening Hymn" from which the doxology comes. The first listed publication of the "Evening Hymn" was in Playford's Harmonia Sacra of 1688, where the text run
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above, the angelick host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Julian, p. 1537, adds that a biography of Ken by Plumptre was published in 1888.
Regarding the "doxology," Davidson, p. 111, reports, "DOXOLOGY... An ascription of praise addressed to the Trinity is a doxology. The term may refer to the ter sanctus and allelulia, but more especially to the Gloria an excelsis (the greater doxology) and the Gloria Patri (the lesser doxology). The practice of singing a doxology (usually the Gloria Patri) at the conclusion of the Hebrew psalms led to metrical versions of this doxology, which eventually transferred to hymns. One such metrical paraphrase which has gained great popularity is Thomas Ken's (1631-1711) "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." This versification together with the tune "Old Hundredth" is commonly called by many persons "The Doxology." This entity, used as an ascription of praise at the commencement of a service of worship, at the presentation of the offering, or at the end, came into this usage and title during the mid-19th century."
The source and age of the rest of the words are subject to debate. They were not, perhaps, originally meant to be a hymn -- as Morgan points out on p. 7, John Calvin did not approve of hymns, thinking that paraphrases of the psalms were sufficient.
Davies, p. 374 (article on "Metrical Psalms") reports that "The ancestor of the modern hymnal was the metrical psalter, comprising versifications of the psalms with simple strophic tunes designed to fit the metres employed. Perhaps the most familiar of the metrical psalm is the version of the hundredth psalm in which the original prose, 'O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands,' has become 'All people that on earth do dwell.' Included in almost every modern hymnal, and hence usually thought of as a hymn, these words first appeared in Fourscore and Seven Psalms of David published in Geneva in 1561. The tune always associated with them is from the still earlier Genevan Psalter of 1551. Thus both words and music take us back to the same source -- the English Protestant exiles who fled to Geneva in 1553 to escape persecution under Queen Mary."
Fuld too reports that the music is said to have been provided by Louis Bourgeois for Psalm 134 in the 1551 Genevan Psalter. However, no copies of this book survive, and the 1553 edition lacks the song.
The first certain printing, the 1560 edition "Psalms of David in English," has the piece with words credited to William Kethe (although Stulken, p. 320, notes another copy of Four Score and Seven psalmes of David in English Mitre which gives credit to one Thomas Sternhold). According to Johnson, William Kethe was a Scotsman, but apparently he ended up in England, because he "fled before the persecution of Mary 1555-1558 [i.e., by the dates, Mary Tudor of England, not Mary Stuart of Scotland] and found refuge in Geneva."
Although the attribution to Kethe is old, it is by no means found in all the early sources. Julian, p. 44, lists ten psalter editions from 1560 to 1587. These break down as follows:
- No attribution: Daye's Psalter (1560/61), Daye's Appendix (1564), Daye's Psalter (1565), Daye's Psalter (1566), Crespin's Psalter [Geneva] (1569), Daye's Psalter (1579)
- by "Tho. Ster.": (Sternholf) Anglo-Genevan Psalrter (1561)
- "W. Ke.": Britwell Psalter (1561), Scottish Psalter (1564)
- "I. H." (Hopkins): Daye's Psalter (1587)
On this basis Julian accepts the attribution to Kethe.
Little is known of Kethe; Julian, p. 623, says he "is said by Thomas Warton in his Hist[ory] of Eng[lish] Poetry, and by John Strype in his Annals of the Reformation, to have been a Scotsman. Where he was born, or whether he held any preferment in England in the time of Edward VI., we have been unable to discover. In the Brieff discours off the troubles begonne at Franckford, 1575, he is mentioned as in exile at Frankfurt in 1555, at Geneva in 1557; as being sent on a mission to the exiles in Basel, Strassbourg, &c. in 1558; and as returning with their answers to Geneva in 1559. Whether he was one of those left behind in 1559 to "finishe the bible, and the psalmes bothe in meeter and prose," does not appear. The Discours further mentions him as being with the Earl or Warwick and the Queen's forces at Nwhaven [Havre] in 1563, and in the north in 1569. John Hutchins... says he was instituted in 1561 as Rector of Childe Okeford, near Blandford.... His connection with Okeford seems to have ceased by death or otherwise about 1593."
Kethe was credited with 25 of the psalms in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter of 1561, but only nine of these made the English Psalter of 1562, with "All People" being added in 1562, and only his version of Psalm 100 and a modification of his Psalm 104 having any long life in church use.
Johnson reports that this song "was suggested to us by the McCormick Theological Seminary as expressing Calvin's and Presbyterian/Reformed hymn concepts in much the same way as A Mighty Fortress Is Our God could be said to represent Luther's."
NewCentury, p. 830, reports that the Kethe text of Psalm 100 "was at first known as the 'Hundredth,' but in 1696, when Nahum Tate and Nicolas Brady published their 'New Version,' the word 'Old' was used to show that the tune was the one which had been used in the previous psalter (Sternhold and Heplin's of the 16th century)." (For more on Tate, if it matters, see the notes to "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.")
The version printed by Scott (from the Bay Psalm Book of 1640) has the curious trait of using the name "Jehovah" rather than the theologically correct "the LORD" or the phonologically correct "YAHWEH." This version does have the advantage of being noticeably closer to the Hebrew in meaning.
The Missouri Harmony has a song, "Old Hundred" (as well as a "New Hundred") which doesn't seem to match any version of this I've ever seen in either text or tune.
Reynolds, p. 32, claims that this is mentioned by Shakespeare in "The Merry WIves of Windsor," Acts II, scene i: "They do no more and keep peace together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of Greensleeves." An interesting link, although I'm not sure that's proof.
With all that controversy over the lyrics, the tune doesn't seem to get much attention, but McKim, pp. 164-164, says it "was composed or adapted by Louis Bourgeois" (c. 1510-c. 1561) as a setting for Theodore Beza's adaption of Psalm 134; it was combined with "Old Hundred" in the 1562 Psalter by Daye. He sounds like he had a very odd life, actually being prosecuted in Geneva for changing the tunes used for psalms, but being supported by Calvin himself (McKim, pp. 79-80). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
- Davidson: James Robert Davidson, A Dictionary of Protestant Church Music, Scarecrow Press, 1975
- Davies: J. G. Davies, The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (originally published in Britain as A New Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship), Westminster, 1986
- Johnson: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns, Hallberg, 1982
- Julian: John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes)
- Kunitz/Haycraft: Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft, Editors, British Authors Before 1800: A Biographical Dictionary, H. W. Wilson, 1952 (I use the fourth printing of 1965)
- McKim: LindaJo H. McKim, Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993
- Morgan: Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories, Nelson, 2004
- NewCentury: Clarence L. Barnhart with William D. Haley, editors, The New Century Handbook of English Literature, revised edition, Meredith Publishing, 1967
- Stulken: Marilyn Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Fortress Press,
- William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976
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