One of Lynch's favorite poets and writers, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1844-1889) wrote this poem, titled simply "Hymn", in 1906 and inspired this relatively straightforward hymn tune by Lynch.


FVM 1008O God of earth and altar (Unison or SATB, optional accpmt.)
 Duration: 2:30 minutes
 Text: G.K. Chesterton
 Music: Francis L. Lynch © 1983
 View Sample Page | Listen


Text: Chesterton had the hymn tune Aurelia ("The Church's One Foundation") in mind when he wrote this.

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation
Of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.