'For the Beauty of the Earth'
Folliot Sandford Pierpoint, a 19th century poet and graduate of Queens' College, Cambridge, was responsible for penning the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
C. Michael Hawn, professor of Church Music at the Perkins School of Theology, wrote in November 2014 that the hymn was originally meant to serve as a communion hymn.
“Alterations made to the hymn and approved by the author made it useful for a broader range of liturgical occasions,” Hawn explained. “The original eight stanzas have been pared down to six for The United Methodist Hymnal.”
“Each stanza paints a picture of gratitude embodied in some aspect of God’s creation: the earth (stanzas 1 and 2), the senses (stanza 3), 'human love' (stanza 4), the Church – in the original, 'thy Bride' – (stanza 5), and the gift of God as manifest in Christ (stanza 6).”
Hawn added that the two stanzas have “themes characteristic of historical and theological views of hymns written by Church of England hymn writers, the martyrs and prophets, and the Virgin Mary and the incarnation.”