Hymn of the Week:
All People That On Earth Do Dwell
Posted by Hal in Hymns

This week’s hymn is one of the oldest songs in the English hymnbook.  The tune is the familiar “Doxology” sung all over the world, written by the French composer Loys Bourgeois and published in the second edition of the Geneva Psalter in 1551.  This collection was prepared under the supervision of John Calvin for the use of Reformed churches in that Swiss city.

Geneva was a haven for English Protestant refugees during the persecution of Queen Mary (the “Bloody”).  They adapted the French-language psalter for their own use, and published the Anglo-Genevan Psalter  in 1561.  The words are paraphrased from Psalm 100 by a Scottish minister, William Kethe — which is why this tune and songs are known in many places as “The Old 100th”:

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

For interest’s sake, you can compare Kethe’s paraphrase with the text of the Bible he may have used, the Geneva Bible first published in 1560 (more than fifty years before the King James, or “Authorized”, version of 1611:

1 A Psalm of Praise. Sing ye loud unto the Lord, all the earth.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before him with joyfulness.

3 Know ye that even the Lord is God: he hath made us, and not we ourselves: we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with praise, and into his courts with rejoicing: praise him and bless his Name.

5 For the Lord is good: his mercy is everlasting, and his truth is from generation to generation.

(See the Wikipedia article on “The Old 100th“)