The Beautiful Sun, by William McGonagall

Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
For thou nourisheth all the creation,
Wherever there is found to be animation.

Without thy heat we could not live,
Then praise to God we ought to give;
For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
To nourish all creatures on earth below.

Thou makest the hearts of the old feel glad,
Likewise the young child and the lad,
And the face of Nature to look green and gay,
And the little children to sport and play.

Thou also givest light unto the Moon,
Which certainly is a very great boon
To all God’s creatures here below,
Throughout the world where’er they go.

How beautiful thou look’st on a summer morn,
When thou sheddest thy effulgence among the yellow corn,
Also upon lake, and river, and the mountain tops,
Whilst thou leavest behind the most lovely dewdrops!

How beautiful thou seem’st in the firmament above,
As I gaze upon thee, my heart fills with love
To God, the great Creator, Who has placed thee there,
Who watches all His creatures with an eye of care!

Thou makest the birds to sing on the tree,
Also by meadow, mountain, and lea;
And the lark high poised up in air,
Carolling its little song with its heart free from care.

Thou makest the heart of the shepherd feel gay
As he watches the little lambkins at their innocent play;
While he tends them on the hillside all day,
Taking care that none of them shall go astray.

Thou cheerest the weary traveller while on his way
During the livelong summer day,
As he admires the beautiful scenery while passing along,
And singing to himself a stave of a song.

Thou cheerest the tourist while amongst the Highland hills,
As he views their beautiful sparkling rills
Glittering like diamonds by the golden rays,
While the hills seem to offer up to God their praise.

While the bee from flower to flower does roam
To gather honey, and carry it home;
While it hums its little song in the beautiful sunshine,
And seemingly to thank the Creator divine —

For the honey it hath gathered during the day,
In the merry month of May,
When the flowers are in full bloom,
Also the sweet honeysuckle and the broom.

How beautiful thy appearance while setting in the west,
Whilst encircled with red and azure, ’tis then thou look’st best!
Then let us all thank God for thy golden light
In our prayers every morning and night!

by Wiliam Topaz McGonagall (1825-1902)


6 Responses to “The Beautiful Sun, by William McGonagall”

  1. When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
    Summer evening birds are calling.
    Summer’s thunder time of year,
    The sound of music in my ears.
    Distant bells,
    New mown grass smells so sweet.
    By the river holding hands,
    Roll me up and lay me down.
    And if you sit,
    Don’t make a sound.
    Pick your feet up off the ground.
    And if you hear as the warm night falls
    The silver sound from a time so strange,
    Sing to me, sing to me.
    When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
    Summer evening birds are calling.
    Children’s laughter in my ears,
    The last sunlight disappears.
    And if you sit,
    Don’t make a sound.
    Pick your feet up off the ground.
    And if you hear as the warm night falls
    The silver sound from a time so strange,
    Sing to me, sing to me.
    When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
    Summer evening birds are calling.
    Children’s laughter in my ears,
    The last sunlight disappears.

    By David Gilmour

    • I prefer that one! If only because it does not feel the need to refer to a god..!

      • This is a relatively obscure Floyd song, but one of my favourites. It is one of the earliest songs Gilmour wrote. It is on the rather obscure Atom Heart Mother album (title taken from a tabloid headline), which I think is much better than what many people think (even the members of Pink Floyd don’t seem to like it very much).

        I saw Pink Floyd twice, but after Waters left. I’ve recently seen Gilmour twice, on his “old-man tour”. One time was last summer, during an open-air (but with chairs and punters actually sitting down, fortunately!) concert in Wiesbaden last summer. It was a very warm summer evening. And he did play “Fat Old Sun” (as at the previous concert, inside in Oberhausen, the previous year), but after the Sun had already set (or at least disappeared behind some nearby buildings (folks living in them got a free show from a (literally) balcony seat)).

        The song is relatively easy to play. An interesting thing about Floyd is that the technical difficulty of the music varies quite a bit; there is no difficulty for difficulty’s sake—just as much as the song needs.

      • Even better! I used to play DSM, WYWH, and Animals obsessively as a teenager, but then punks took over my cassette player!

      • In the last few decades, Floyd tickets or those for concerts by (former) members tend to sell out quickly, in part because the internet allows one to know when they go on sale and buy them quickly. I also saw Roger Waters in London on the Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking tour (with Eric Clapton and Mel Collins in the band). This was purely by chance; we saw a billboard with an ad and managed to buy some tickets. Interestingly, a friend and I were actually hitchhiking through England at the time.

        It was an interesting trip. A very warm summer (early summer 1984), at least in England. We visited Stonehenge, which was not roped off as now. We went “just to see the stones”, and were surprised when we saw a few thousand people and tents nearby. We had no idea that there was some sort of solstice festival. As we were flexible, we stayed there a couple of days. There were many bands who had generators in the nearby woods with a long cable to provide power for their amplifiers. When the sun went down, the bands came out. There was some sort of semi-official stage, but most just played near their tents. Much sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll (or wine, women, and song); I’ll leave readers to guess which of those I partook of.

        Later, we visited a bloke in Birmingham who took us to a jazz club, where the resident trio (guitar, bass, and drums) had guests on keyboards and sax. He played clarinet (though not at the club) and is now Chair of the Department of Music at Duke University.

        I had often heard the story how the members of Black Sabbath used to be so poor that they had only one pair of decent shoes between them, which were worn by whoever needed them most. While in Birmingham we met someone who actually worked in the store where they came and bought shoes after finally making some money.

      • And, yes, I was at the “Roger Waters plays The Wall at the Wall” concert. There were some technical problems and I don’t think that many of the guests really work well in this context, but it was an interesting historical event to attend (just after the fall of the Berlin Wall). We drove to Berlin from Hamburg. There were some fences surrounding street lights, and we managed to climb up on top of the fence and get a reasonably good view of the stage, though it was a bit uncomfortable. Some brave souls even managed to climb up onto the top of the streetlights: a much better view, but rather dangerous methinks.

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