Hymn Story: This Is My Father’s World

This Is My Father’s World was written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock in 1901.

          Babcock was a minister living in Lockport, New York. He enjoyed taking frequent walks along the Niagara Escarpment which provided a “panoramic vista of upstate New York scenery and Lake Ontario.”  Upon leaving for his walk, he would tell his wife Katherine, he was “going out to see the Father’s world”.

Maltbie D. Babcock

          After his death in 1901, Katherine published a compilation of his writings titled Thoughts for Every-Day Living.  The poem “My Father’s World” was included in this compilation and contained sixteen stanzas, each consisting of four lines each.

          Franklin L. Sheppard, a close friend of Babcock’s, set the poem to music in 1915. The tune, which was adapted from a traditional English melody he learned as a child, is called Terra Beata and means “Blessed earth” in Latin.

          The song is a reminder to savor and enjoy the beautiful world our Father has given us.

To all our Father’s–HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!


  • One of my favorite hymns. I didn’t know it was so recent. The melody sounds Celtic.

  • Jim Fox

    Can you explain the meaning of the “the music of the spheres” in “This is My Father’s World”? Thanks.

    • A sphere is defined as a point on a surface equidistant (at equal distance) from its center.

      So this probably refers to the intertwined relationship between the physical world and the structures of music. This creates a conscious awareness of spiritual qualities that are transmitted in the space through the composed sound.

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