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For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies.
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.
2 For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light,
“For the Beauty of the Earth” is a Christian hymn by Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917).
Pierpoint was 29 at the time he wrote this hymn; he was mesmerised by the beauty of the countryside that surrounded him. It first appeared in 1864 in a book of Eucharistic Hymns and Poems entitled “Lyra Eucharistica, Hymns and Verses on The Holy Communion, Ancient and Modern, with other Poems.” It was written as a Eucharistic hymn – hence the title of “The Sacrifice of Praise”, the refrain “Christ, our God, to Thee we raise, This, our sacrifice of praise”, and as is seen throughout the original text of 1864, especially the last two lines which had replaced the Refrain in verse 8. This is how it appears in the ‘English Hymnal’ of 1933, with the two exceptions, that Pierpoint’s last two lines which had replaced the Refrain after verse 8, were omitted and the Refrain sung instead, and the first two words of the last line in verse two “sinking sense”, in common with all other hymnbooks was modified to “linking sense”. The text was more radically modified by the publishers of “Hymns Ancient and Modern” for the 1916 Hymnbook, so it could serve as a general hymn.
The tune most widely used for this hymn is the same tune used for William Chatterton Dix’s “As with Gladness, Men of Old,” a Christmas carol composed five years prior but not released publicly until three years after Pierpont. (Although the tune is known traditionally as “Dix” in deference to William Dix, it was originally composed by Conrad Kocher in 1838.) Other tunes used are: “Warden” by James Turle (1802-1882) – as appeared in the 1916 Hymns A&M Standard, and “England’s Lane” by Geoffrey Turton Shaw (1879–1943) as it appeared in the English Hymnal.