#92 This is my Fathers World

Words by Maltbie D. Babcock, 1901 (1858-1901)

Music by Franklin L. Sheppard, 1915  (1852-1930)


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!


     This hymn was written by Maltbie Babcock. While a pastor in Lockport, New York, Babcock liked to hike in an area called “the escarpment,” an ancient upthrust ledge near Lockport. It has a marvelous view of farms, orchards, and Lake Ontario, about 15 miles distant. It is said those walks in the woods inspired these lyrics. The title recalls an expression Babcock used when starting a walk: “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.” Babcock attended Syracuse University and Auburn Theological Seminary. He ranked high as a student and participated in both athletic and musical activities. Tall, broad shouldered, and muscular, he was president of the baseball team, an expert pitcher, and a good swimmer. He played several musical instruments, directed the school orchestra, and played the organ and composed for it. He was a singer and leader of the glee club. He could do impersonations, was clever at drawing, and had a knack with tools. He was also an avid fisherman. He might have become a professional musician had he not chosen the ministry. Bab­cock was called to the prestigious pastorate of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Henry Van Dyke. Babcock had been there only 18 months when he made a trip to the Holy Land. While overseas, he died of brucellosis. Though Babcock published nothing during his life, his wife Catherine collected and published many of his writings after his untimely death. A volume of his poems contained This Is My Father’s World. Babcock, of course, never heard his famous hymn sung.


Franklin Sheppard composed the tune, TERRA BEATA in 1915. He claimed that it was a traditional English tune he had learned from his mother. There is a known English folk tune named ROSPER, to which it bears a strong resemblance in six of its eight lines. Sheppard was a foundry man, making stoves and heaters, and served as the music director of his church.