THIS IS MY FATHER’S WORLD written in 1901
This well-known hymn was written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901), a minister from Lockport, New York. He took frequent walks along the Niagara Falls overlooks to enjoy the upstate New York scenery and Lake Ontario, telling his wife he was “going out to see the Father’s world”.
Shortly after his death in 1901 (at age 42), his wife published a compilation of Babcock’s writings entitled, Thoughts for Every-Day Living. This poem, “My Father’s World” was included. The original poem had 16 stanzas of 4 lines each.
The poem was set to music in 1915 by Franklin L. Sheppard, choosing only 3 verses of the 16, putting it to a tune entitled “Terra Beata” (Latin for ‘Blessed Earth’). Most sources state Sheppard adapted the music from a traditional English melody he learned from his mother as a child. Shepherd, a close friend of Babcock, who apparently did not want to call attention to himself and signed using his initials rearranged as “S.F.L.”.
Read this hymn, and – today – spend time looking closely at the world God has placed you in.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!