Gilbert Keith Chesterton, English writer, is known for his published works on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction.
But did you know that he penned a hymn?
And did you know that the heavy metal band Iron Maiden used Chesterton’s lyrics in their recording “Revelations”?
“O God of Earth and Altar” was written in 1906. Its second verse contains clear references to the Litany from the Book of Common Prayer. The poem has been set to music more than once; but one popular version is sung to a lovely traditional English melody called “King’s Lynn”, arranged by R. Vaughan Williams in 1906.
But wait: There’s another version! Some of the lyrics from Chesterton’s poem introduce the song “Revelations” recorded by–no kidding!–the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Here for your musical education and information, is that song. (Warning: Turn your speakers down.)
Lest you think that Iron Maiden’s songwriter had had a conversion experience, let me explain: The succeeding verses deteriorate into what was apparently intended as a warning about the great dangers of religion.
Here, according to the Iron Maiden fan site (spellings uncorrected), are the meanings behind the second half of the song: