This canticle was composed by Francis in 1224, after a night of extreme physical and emotional pain and it is one of the most important works of Italian literature.
The canticle isnt written in lines, but it is rhythmic prose work, divided in groups of two, three or five versicles, like the psalms of the Bible. It hasnt got just a religious value, but also a literary value.
Theres a continuous repetition of the words Laudato si and Francis writes also about the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. The water is very useful, precious and pure; the fire is beautiful and strong and it lights up the night; the air supports the creatures; the earth gives the nourishment with its colourful fruit.
The canticle of brother sun was written in Umbrian vulgar/vernacular with a simple language. The text is rich of assonances and repetitions and it celebrates the praises of God through every creature. Like the Brother Sun, everything is good and perfect and it symbolizes the omnipotence and the mercy of God. Beyond natural elements, even pain and death are ways to reach eternal life.
Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore, Tue so' le laude, la gloria et l'honore et omne benedictione. Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano, et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare. Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Laudato sie, mi' Signore cum tucte le Tue creature, spetialmente messer lo frate Sole, lo qual è iorno, et allumeni noi per lui. Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore: de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione. Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Laudato si', mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle: in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate Vento et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo, per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento. Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sor Aqua, la quale è molto utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.
Laudato si', mi Signore, per frate Focu, per lo quale ennallumini la nocte: ed ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra, la quale ne sustenta et governa, et produce diversi fructi con coloriti flori et herba. Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Laudato si', mi Signore, per quelli che perdonano per lo Tuo amore et sostengono infirmitate et tribulatione. Beati quelli ke 'l sosterranno in pace, ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Laudato si' mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale, da la quale nullu homo vivente po' skappare: guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali; beati quelli ke trovarà ne le Tue sanctissime voluntati, ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male. Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate e serviateli cum grande humilitate. Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.
The canticle has two parts: 1.In the first part there are the thanks to the Lord for all things created by him. 2.In the second part stands out the forgiveness, the acceptance of lifes pains and the praise of people that are in the grace of God. He didnt write, like Jacopone da Todi (an important poet of the same age), a love text for a woman but his love was for God.
In the text he called the elements of nature with some personification like brother or sister; for example: Brother Sun is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor, Sister Moon and the stars are precious and beautiful, Sister Water is very useful, humble, precious and pure and Brother Fire is beautiful, cheerful, powerful and strong. All the same St. Francis doesnt praise God only for the good things he had created for the human beings, but also those people who forgive in the name of love. On the contrary he condemns those people who will die because of mortal sins they committed in the past.
Towards the end of the canticle, theres a very important phrase: Sora nostra morte corporale, da la quale nullu homo vivente po skappare, which it means: The corporal death is our sister and no one cant escape from it. St. Francis is not scared of death, but he is happy because thanks to death his soul will have a direct connection with God. At the end of the canticle theres an invitation to praise and love God with humility and sincerity.