We plough the fields, and scatter

Representative Text

1 We plow the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand.
God sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes, and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us are sent from heav’n above.
We thank you, God, we thank you, God, for all your love.

2 You only are the Maker
of all things near and far.
You paint the wayside flower,
you light the evening star.
The winds and waves obey you,
by you the birds are fed;
much more to us, your children,
you give our daily bread. [Refrain]

3 We thank you, then, Creator,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time, and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
and what you most would welcome:
our humble, thankful hearts. [Refrain]

Source: Voices Together #747

Translator: Jane M. Campbell

Campbell, Jane Montgomery, daughter of the Rev. A. Montgomery Campbell, born in London, 1817, died at Bovey Tracey, Nov. 15, 1878. Miss Campbell contributed in 1861, a number of translations from the German to the Rev. C. S. Bere's Garland of Songs; or, an English Liederkranz, 1862; and also to his Children’s Choral Book, 1869. The best known and most widely used of these translations is a portion of "Im Anfang war's auf Erden," as the harvest hymn, "We plough the fields and scatter.” Miss Campbell also published A Handbook for Singers, Lond., Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, n.d. This small work contains the musical exercises which she taught in her father's parish school. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)  Go to person page >

Author: Matthias Claudius

Claudius, Matthias, son of Matthias Claudius, Lutheran pastor at Reinfeld in Holstein (near Lübeck), was born at Reinfeld, Aug. 15, 1740. An ancestor, who died as a Lutheran pastor in 1586, had Latinized his name, Claus Paulsen, to Claudius Pauli, and his descendants had adopted Claudius as their surname. Claudius entered the University of Jena, in 1759, as a student of theology, but being troubled with an affection of the chest, and finding little attraction in the Rationalism of Jena, he turned his attention to law and languages. After a short visit to Copenhagen, as private secretary to a Danish count, he joined in 1768 the staff of the Hamburg News Agency (Adress-Comptoirnachrichten). Removing to Wandsbeck, near Hamburg, he undertook i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: We plough the fields, and scatter
German Title: Wir pflügen und wir streuen
Author: Matthias Claudius (1782)
Translator: Jane M. Campbell
Meter: D with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: All good gifts around us
Notes: Spanish translation: See "Aramos nuestros campos" by Ernesto Barocio
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 145:16, Ezek. 34:26-27
st. 2 = Ps. 104, Acts 14:17
st. 3 = Gen. 8:22

Matthias Claudius (b. Reinfeld, Holstein, Germany, 1740; d. Hamburg, Germany, 1815) grew up in the home of a Lutheran pastor and studied briefly for the ministry at the University of Jena. During his twenties and thirties he seems to have forsaken the faith, influenced by the rationalistic thought of the time. He became seriously ill in 1777, and this crisis was instrumental in returning him to his childhood faith. He worked briefly as commissioner of agriculture and manufacture of Hesse-Darmstadt (1776-1777) and in 1778 was appointed an auditor of the Schleswig-Holstein Bank in Altona. Most of his life was spent as a journalist, editor, and writer on general culture, much of it as editor of Der Wansbecker Bote (The Wansbeck Messenger).

Claudius also wrote many devotional poems, of which this is the only one in common use as hymn text. Originally a poem in seventeen stanzas with a refrain that began "Im Anfang war's auf Erden," the poem was the peasants' song in Claudius's sketch "Paul Erdmann's Feast," published in Asinus omnia sua secum portans (1782). It was popularized in various nineteenth-century German hymnals where it appeared with fewer stanzas, often beginning with Claudius's third stanza "Wir pflugen und wir streuen.”

The English text is based on Jane Montgomery-Campbell's free translation of his original stanzas 3, 5, 7,9, 10, and 13, first published in Charles S. Bere's A Garland of Songs (1861). Campbell (b. Paddington, London, England, 1817; d. Bovey Tracey, South Devon, England, 1878) was proficient in both music and German. She translated a number of German hymns into English, which were first published in Charles Bere's Garland of Songs, or an English Liederkranz (1862) and his Children's Chorale Book (1869). The writer of A Handbook for Singers (undated), Campbell also taught singing to the children in her parish school, St. James in Paddington, where her father was rector.

The text affirms that, while we need to plow the land and sow the seed, it is God who provides the increase; he sends the rain and the sunshine to produce a harvest. God also sustains his creation, for "all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above." Thus praise bursts from our "humble, thankful hearts."

Liturgical Use:
Harvest thanksgiving; as a hymn of creation; the final stanza as an offertory hymn.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



WIR PFLÜGEN (named after the incipit of Schulz’s original third stanza) was published anonymously in the Hanover collection Lieder für Volksschulen (1800). But it was credited to Johann A. P. Schulz in Lindner’s Berlin songbook Jungenfreund (1812). The harmonization by John B. Dykes (PHH 147)…

Go to tune page >



You have access to this FlexScore.
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...
Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
The Cyber Hymnal #7227
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #456
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)


Instances (1 - 57 of 57)
TextPage Scan

African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #579

Ambassador Hymnal #147


Ancient and Modern #290

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #801


Breaking Bread (Vol. 39) #597

Church Family Worship #509

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #47

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #577

TextPage Scan

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #229


Common Praise (1998) #258

TextPage Scan

Common Praise #275

TextPage Scan

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #719

Complete Mission Praise #732

TextPage Scan

CPWI Hymnal #725


Evangelical Lutheran Worship #680


Evangelical Lutheran Worship #681


Glory and Praise (3rd. ed.) #703

Hymnal #96

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #290

Hymns and Psalms #352

TextPage Scan

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #284

TextPage Scan

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #292

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #229

Hymns of the Christian Life #574

Hymns of the Saints #76

Hymns Old and New #534


Journeysongs (2nd ed.) #644


Journeysongs (3rd ed.) #611

Libro de Liturgia y Cántico #492

TextPage Scan

Moravian Book of Worship #453

Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #659

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #725

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #456

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #17


Santo, Santo, Santo #488


Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #561

Sing Glory #311

Singing the Faith #130

TextPage Scan

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #240

The Baptist Hymnal #689

TextPage Scan

The Book of Praise #807

The Christian Life Hymnal #592

The Covenant Hymnal #655


The Cyber Hymnal #7227

TextPage Scan

The Hymnal 1982 #291

Page Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #59

TextPage Scan

The New English Hymnal #262


The Presbyterian Hymnal #560


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #935


Together in Song #130

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #714

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #551

TextPage Scan

Voices Together #747

TextPage Scan

Voices United #520

TextPage Scan

Worship and Service Hymnal #514


Worship in Song #44

生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #448

Include 391 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us