November 29, 2008

For the Beauty of the Earth

You probably never heard of Folliot Sandford Pierpoint. One beautiful spring day in 1864 Folliot was out walking the countryside, admiring the blue sky reflected in the ocean, the ambling Avon River with its brilliant array of flowers so striking. He was overwhelmed with what God had created. There in the fields he began to write a poem.

He was a Cambridge graduate, a teacher and minister. But poetry was his long suit. The poem he wrote that day 150 years ago has circled the globe and is known in many lands as one of the finest songs of thanksgiving ever written. Here are five verses of "For the Beauty of Earth.


"For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise

For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night
Hill and vale, and tree, and flower, sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise

For the joy of ear and eye, for the heart and mind's delight
For the mystic harmony linking sense to sound and sight
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent child
Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise

For each perfect gift of Thine to our race so freely giv'n
Graces human and divine, flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n
Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise


Little else is known about Folliot Sandford Pierpoint. Church musicians agree that "For the Beauty of the Earth" is one of the finest hymns ever written giving thanks.