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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Liturgical Verse Hymn - Latin-hymnus derived from the Greek hymnos, "to sing", is a song of praise of a god or hero. In pagan verse hymn refers to a "prize song" to the gods or heroes and the oldest hymn is an epic verse to the Delphic Apollo. It shows up a little later in distiches and the lyrical verse of Alcaeus, Anacreon and Pindar. The Latin hymnus narrows down the definition to a song in the praise of God. Saint Augustine in commenting on Psalm 148 defines a hymn it this manner: "Know ye what a hymn is? It is a song with praise of God [cantus est cum laude Dei]. If thou praisest God and singest not, thou utterest no hymn, if thou singest and praisest not God but another thing, thou utterest no hymn. A hymn then containeth these three things, song [cantus] and praise [cum laude] and that praise of God [Dei]." Doxology 1674 by Thomas Ken,