A fitting recessional this Sunday, for a day when the scripture focuses on seeds and planting.
There’s a well-known version by John Rutter that is popular with choirs. This version, using more familiar music by William Chatterton Dix, predates it.
“For the Beauty of the Earth” is a Christianhymn 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.
You can hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s stirring rendition above.