For the Beauty of the Earth
Folliot Sandford Pierpoint was taking a walk one late Spring day, in the lovely countryside near his home in Bath, England. The year was 1864 and Pierpont a 29 year old poet was awestruck and overwhelmed at the beauty of nature that surrounded him. He sat down on the spot and wrote For the Beauty of the Earth . Not only does Pierpoint thank God for this beautiful creation, but also for family, friends and other gifts of this world, this earth, this planet.
Are you familiar with this hymn? I may have heard it as a youth but on that I’m not clear. The first I do remember was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was sung as an invocation on the early morning of All Species Day for a ceremony to celebrate all the creatures with whom we share the earth. That moment struck a chord that resonates within me still. There are hymns of faith, songs of love and loss, ballads, blues but songs that celebrate the beauty of earth are few. I often hum to myself while walking and think back to that morning on the Santa Fe Plaza when Pheasant, River Otter, Mountain Sheep and all the other species raised their voices with this hymn of grateful praise.
There are several modern arrangements of the music to accompany this hymn that have become quite popular. To my ear they sound sentimental and sappy. I prefer something that is more meditative and reflects the time period of when it was first written. The original composition for this hymn, called Dix was written in 1838 by Conrad Kocher.
The Sam Levine Celtic Band performing at Woodmont Christian Church, Feb.21,2010. Sam Levine (Pennywhistle), Cindy Wyat (Celtic Harp), Jeff Taylor (Concertina), David Angell (Violin).
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