Hymn Story

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).

About earthstonestation

promoting environmental education, protecting all species and preserving the wild places with art, music and storytelling.
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13 Responses to Hymn Story

  1. mabbsonsea says:

    Reblogged this on mabbsonsea and commented:
    I’ve re-blogged this from earthstonestation – an inspiring and beautifully composed blog. It’s a beautiful hymn and the music in the post is a beautiful tune, beautifully played. Too many beautifuls there, but – a harp and concertina in church – I mean – hey – it doesn’t get much better. Thanks, Dohn.

    • So glad you appreciated this. One of my favorite hymns and inspirations. As you say the musicians are great – a penny-whistle, violin, concertina and harp – For the beauty of the earth, Mahalo.

  2. VenusVee says:

    “Sun and Moon and stars of Light” Ahh I love it. 🙂

  3. My Aloha to all for your comments, mahalo. For the Beauty of the Earth, for the glory of the skies,for the love that from our birth,over and around us lies.

  4. Next to “Be Thou My Vision”, this is one of my favorites. What a beautiful rendition. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Candy says:

    I have always loved this piece, but never remember its name nor the words unless in front of me in the church hymnal; Especially since I do not attend as I used to. I was delighted when it turned up as an instrumental on a recent “colonial American” music CD I bought and very similar to your post. Thanks for sharing this and the history behind it.

  6. J M Naszady says:

    This is the sweetest version of this hymn I have ever heard! I remember it in church during my younger years. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my site!

  7. winsomebella says:

    So beautiful…”

  8. A beautiful presentation of this sweet hymn. Thanks for posting it.

  9. Paul says:

    Great way to start my morning. Thanks!

  10. Carmen says:

    Thank you

  11. grahammb says:

    As soon as I read your post, the hymn’s tune started running in my head. I had no idea about the history of the song, so thank you. What a great post to read first thing in the morning!

  12. Cathy says:

    Lovely! I haven’t heard this for many years… very moving.

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