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“I’m go­ing out to see my Fa­ther’s world…”

Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York, would say before he would take his walk.

It is believed that his walks into the  Niagara escarpments of Lockport, New York inspired Babcock to write the 19th century poem, “This is my Father’s World”. Later, the poem was set to music by  Franklin  Sheppard and has become a traditional American hymn since the early 1900s.

Howard Shore quoted the first seven notes of the hymn verbatim in his Shire theme from his music for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The dignity of the Shire may in part be due to the Franklin Sheppard theme.

An instrumental version is fittingly used in the Ken Burns documentary film, The National Parks.

In the video above, the hymn as been robustly re-orchestrated at Indiana Wesleyan. The reorchestration is controversial, but I found it mesmerizing and beautiful. I thank my friend, Bruce Kirby, for discovering it and sharing it with me. My apologies for the slight sync issue but it seems to be in the raw data. Nevertheless, it still carries the magnificence of Babcock’s inspiration.

This Is My Father's World

Part of the Niagara Escarpment in New York. The Niagara Falls are actually on this ledge as well.

The lyrics below are complete:

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: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.