For the Beauty of the Earth

Raunds Community Choir are currently learning the John Rutter version of the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth.

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint wrote the words of this rather lovely hymn. Not a lot is known about him other than he was born in Bath in 1835 and was a grammar school boy who attended Queen’s College, Cambridge, and then taught Classics. He also wrote poetry, mainly inspired by the natural world, and published several collections.

The hymn was originally written for the celebration of the Eucharist, and the original refrain was:

Christ our God, to thee we raise,
This our sacrifice of praise

Which echoes the biblical story of Christ’s sacrifice. Over the years the words have changed to be more of a thanksgiving hymn.

Historically it was sung to the tune composed by Conrad Kocher for the hymn As With Gladness Men of Old and I enclose a link to that version, which is also rather beautiful, for comparison.

For the Beauty of the Earth – Kocher

For the Beauty of the Earth – Rutter