Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Two of the most beloved hymns with messages of God’s Creation and His majesty have been combined in this beautiful choral medley (available in both SATB and SSAA voicings),  “The Father’s Beautiful World.”  Following the sharing of the more contemporary history, you will find the history of the hymns, “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “This is My Father’s World.”  The more contempory story of “The Father’s Beautiful World” began with composer Travis L. Boyd’s desire to honor the life of a very special person and to bring glory to God in a way that she would have loved.  My Grandmama, Mary Winonah McCoy White, was a beautiful lady who loved the Lord.  She loved her family, her church family, many long-time friends, her students, and everyone she met.  She was a very unique individual who left behind a lasting testimony of faith in God, perseverance through trials, and love for others.

Nonah at nineteen

Grandmama was an inspiration to me in so many ways.   She graduated in 1919 from Lander College.  I have the watch that her parents gave her as a graduation gift.  I wore it on the day that Travis and I were married as my ‘something old’; and, many years later, the watch was given to me.  After she graduated from college, Nonah (as she preferred to be called) married my Grandfather, Thomas Britton White; and they had four sons.  My Dad, Harold, was the third of the four boys.  When my Dad was thirteen years old, his father had a heart attack and died.  The family owned a farm, and Granddad also worked at a bank.  My grandmother had two teen-age sons at the time of T.B.’s death, my Dad and his older brother, Averil.  Younger brother Lawrence was a pre-teen; and the oldest brother, Thomas Jr., was a newlywed.  Grandmother found a job teaching in an elementary school and did what had to be done in order to keep the family together, hold on to the farm, and provide for her sons.  It must have been a very challenging time for her.

Grandmama is holding my hand in her gloved hand to show her watch peeking out from under my sleeve.

Grandmama was always incredibly proud of her four sons and of their wives and families.  She kept in touch with everyone and always had news about the latest happenings in the family and extended family.  She had a way of welcoming people, making them feel comfortable, and just communicating love that was a rare gift.  When she flew to Oklahoma to visit my family, she would always have stories to tell when she got off the plane.  Basically, no matter who was seated by my Grandmama, they would find themselves opening up to her and telling her their life story.  If there were any confidences shared, Grandmama kept them to herself; but she would tell us about the “dear young woman” or the “nice businessman” who had been her travelling companion, where the new friend lived, and other basic details.  She was genuinely interested in people, and people responded to that.  I remember that once, when I was a teenager, I was so excited about her upcoming visit that I couldn’t help talking to my friends about her.  By the time she arrived, all of my high school friends were eager to meet her.  We all had a lovely visit with Grandmama one day after school, and my friends loved her.  They all said things like, “I see what you mean.  Your Grandma is cool!”

Once, when Grandmama was interviewed by a reporter for the Camden Chronicle for a series of articles on retired teachers, the reporter noted what became obvious to anyone who was around her for any length of time.  The primary word that was used to describe Grandmama in both the article and the title was “serene”.   I loved that description.  There were many words that the reporter could have chosen.  After all, the subject of his article was a very bright, well-read, and lively person, always on the go during her healthy years.  Even so, it was impossible to miss the serenity of confident faith in God that was the primary foundation of her life.  She visited shut-ins (those who were confined to their homes due to illness or old age) for so many years that most of them were younger than she was.  She wrote notes and letters, made visits, memorized scripture, travelled in the United States and in Europe, talked to friends and family on the phone, spent time with her nearby family, and journeyed west every year to visit family in Oklahoma and Arizona.  She was often asked to speak or give devotionals, she knew everyone in her apartment complex, she cooked incredible meals in the tiniest kitchen I have ever seen, and she drove her own car until her eyesight failed.

My Grandmama, Mary Winonoah McCoy White

When Travis and I married, Grandmama just loved and adopted him immediately.  She was so happy and excited when Travis was called to worship ministry, and she was still able to travel and come to visit us during the early years of Travis’ ministry at his first two churches.  She would tell us often, “That’s a great work you’re doing!”   We always knew that she was praying for us during those early years and Travis’ seminary years.  She signed every letter and card with, “Love and Prayers”.  Grandmama called our daughter “dear little Meredith” and just loved her to pieces.  After every hug, she’d say, “That was worth a million dollars!”.   She always made me feel very greatly loved and highly valued.  Grandmama and I wrote letters back and forth for years.   I could tell her anything.   She kept me updated with family news and continued to write letters even when she had almost no vision left, relying on a machine called a “Visual Tech”, which projected any paper that she was writing on (or book that she was reading) onto a screen, in a bright and greatly magnified form.   She actually wrote letters in this manner for several years, and I have kept all of her letters to me.

When Grandmama’s health began to fail, she moved from her apartment to a very nice nursing home.  She stayed active as long as possible.  One of the things that she did was to participate in a talent show for residents of the nursing home.  She won first place with her recitation of the lyrics for the hymn “All Things Bringht and Beautiful”, and I have the trophy that she was given.  When Grandmama passed away, our oldest son was one month old.   I was glad that my Dad had been in South Carolina visiting relatives at the time of Jared’s birth.  He was able to tell Grandmama in person about the birth of her newest Great-Grandson and give her some exciting family news to share in her last month of life.

Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church, my Grandmother’s church, is depicted in this painting of the church’s exterior.  The church family still worships in their historic santuary building, built in 1798.

After Grandmama went home to Heaven, Travis told me that he planned to do an arrangement of “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and dedicate it in memory of Grandmama.  He wrote a lovely new melody for the hymn lyrics that she knew so well and created an SATB choral arrangement.  The “All Things Bright and Beautiful”  choral anthem was sung for the first time at my Grandmother’s church, Lyttleton Street United Methodist, in Camden, South Carolina.  Their Adult Choir premiered the anthem on Mother’s Day the year after Grandmama’s passing.  Since two of Grandmama’s four sons and their families attended the same church, there were many family members in the congregation that day.

The choir loft of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church in Camden, South Carolina, was the location of the premiere of Travis' "All Things Bright and Beautiful" choral anthem.

The choir loft of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church in Camden, South Carolina, was the location of the premiere of Travis’ “All Things Bright and Beautiful” choral anthem.

Although a number of churches, including the Lyttleton Street church, have shared Travis’ “All Things Bright and Beautiful” choral anthem many times in worship, it was never published.

A couple of months ago, Travis took a fresh look at “All Things Bright and Beautiful”.   He was inspired to create a medley using a portion of that anthem and a portion of the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.”  The new anthem that resulted from his work contains portions of both hymns in a lovely choral medley and is called, “The Father’s Beautiful World”.   My Grandmother would be pleased to know that the lyrics which meant so much to her live on in a new arrangement with another of her favorite hymns.  We pray that “The Father’s Beautiful World” will touch many hearts with its message of the love and care that God has for His Creation.

NOTE:  Following the Anthem information found directly below, you will find histories and photographs related to the stories of both creation hymns, compiled by the author of this post for several websites, as noted.


“The Father’s Beautiful World” Choral PDF Master is available on our website’s “General Use Anthems” music page in both SATB and SSAA voicing for only $15.00, with NO “per copy” fee!

(You will have permission to make an unlimited number of copies …for your own choir and accompanists only).
Below you will find the video demo for the SATB Choral Anthem.  The demo for the SSAA voicing can be found on our website’s “General Use Anthems” page.
Click the photo above to go to our Worship Sounds Music website.

Click the photo above to go to our Worship Sounds Music website.

There is also a Solo Version of this song, available in 3 keys on our website’s “Vocal Solos” music page
.  At a cost of only $5.00 for the PDF Solo Master, you are granted permission to make copies for your soloist, accompanists, and rhythm section players.

FIND THE CHORAL VERSIONS OF “The Father’s Beautiful World”
Click the image at right to go straight to the Worship Sounds Music Website’s “General Use Anthems” music page, where you will find the video demos and purchasing links for both the SSAA and for the SATB versions of “The Father’s Beautiful World”.

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” (hymn lyrics)

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

Refrain (sung as desired between most verses)

[Most hymnals omit the following verse]

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Below, you will find some information about the history of both of the original hymns, with links to further information.

Cecil F. Alexander

The author of the hymn lyrics for “All Things Bright and Beautiful” was  Ce­cil Frances Al­exander (1818 – 1895).  The lyrics were first published in the book Hymns for Lit­tle Child­ren in 1848. Alex­an­der is thought to have writ­ten these lyr­ics at Mark­ree Cas­tle, near Sli­go, Ire­land.  (Further information about this location is provided following the stories of both hymns.)

Cecil Frances Humphreys was born in Dublin, but spent a good part of her later life in Londonderry and Strabane.  Her husband, William Alexander, himself a Derry man, was appointed Church of Ireland bishop of that city in 1867.  He later became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

Cecil Frances was a keen supporter of the Oxford Movement, and in 1848 published Hymns For Little Children, which includes three of the most popular hymns in the English language: “Once in Royal David’s City,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “There is a Green Hill Far Away.”  Charles Gounod, the composer of Faust, said that some of her lyrics “seemed to set themselves to music.”

A further selection of her works – hymns, tracts and poems – was published a year after her death.

The second line of the hymn lyrics was used as the title to James Herriot’s book All Creatures Great and Small, which was centered around a veterinarian practice in 1930’s Yorkshire in Northern England.  Subsequently it became the title of the film and television series.  Herriot used the rest of the lines of the refrain for titles of the books that followed: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, “All Things Wise and Wonderful,” and “The Lord God Made Them All.”

The most commonly used hymn tune for “All Things Bright and Beautiful” is known as Roy­al Oak.  It is a 17th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish mel­o­dy, which was ar­ranged by Mar­tin F. Shaw (1875 -1958) for use with the hymn text in around 1915.  There are several al­ter­nate hymn tunes for the “All Things Bright and Beautiful” lyrics.

  • Bright and Beau­ti­ful,
    Wil­liam H. Monk
  • Gerald,
    Lud­wig Spohr, 1834
  • Greystone, by
    W. R. Wag­horne, published in Songs for Lit­tle Peo­ple (Dan­i­el­son and Co­nant: 1905)


“This is My Father’s World” is a well-known Christian hymn, with lyrics written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858 – 1901), a minister from New York.  Born Au­gust 3, 1858, in Syr­a­cuse, New York, Maltbie died at age 42 on May 18, 1901, in Na­ples, It­a­ly.  He was buried in Oak­wood Cem­e­te­ry, Syr­a­cuse, New York.

Maltbie D. Babcock

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 been called into the min­is­try.

The Niagara Escarpment near Lockport, where Maltbie stood to admire his Father’s world.

His first pas­to­rate was at the First Pres­by­te­r­ian Church, Lock­port, New York.  While a pas­tor in Lock­port, 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 that 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.”  In 1886, he was called to Brown Me­mor­i­al Church, Bal­ti­more, Mar­y­land, where he of­ten coun­seled stu­dents at Johns Hop­kins Un­i­ver­si­ty.  As his fame spread, he was asked to preach at col­leg­es all over Amer­i­ca.  Bab­cock was not a great the­o­lo­gian or deep think­er, but he had a tal­ent for pre­sent­ing spir­it­ua­l and eth­ic­al truths with fresh­ness and ef­fect.  In do­ing this, he was aid­ed by his agile mind, wide range of knowledge, dra­ma­tic abil­i­ty, speech flu­en­cy, and mag­ne­tic per­son­al­i­ty.

Af­ter al­most 14 years in Bal­ti­more, 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 at the age of 42.

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 entitled Thoughts for Every-Day Living con­tained “This Is My Father’s World”. Bab­cock, of course, nev­er heard his fa­mous hymn sung.

(Sources:  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/b/a/b/babcock_md.htm)

The poem was set to music by Franklin L. Sheppard, who apparently did not want to call attention to himself and signed using his initials, rearranged as “S.F.L.” Most sources state that Sheppard adapted the music from a traditional English melody.   The original poem contained sixteen stanzas of four lines each.

Here is a portion of the beloved hymn lyrics:

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.

An instrumental version of “This is My Father’s World” is fittingly used in the Ken Burns documentary film, The National Parks, and the corresponding sponsorship slot for The Park Foundation.

(Sources:  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/b/a/b/babcock_md.htm and  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_is_My_Father’s_World )

The hymn tune for “This is My Father’s World” is known as “Terra Beata”.  It is thought to be a tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish mel­o­dy, ar­ranged by Frank­lin Lawrence Shep­pard as a setting for the text.  Frank­lin Lawrence Shep­pard was born on Au­gust 7, 1852,  in Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia.  Sheppard at­tend­ed Will­iam Few­smith’s Clas­sic­al School and the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­van­ia (val­e­dic­tor­i­an, 1872).  In 1875, he moved to Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts, to take charge of the found­ry for his fa­ther’s stove and heat­er man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny.  Franklin at­tend­ed the Zi­on Pro­test­ant Epis­co­pal Church in Bos­ton, but lat­er switched to Pres­by­ter­i­an­ism.  He event­u­al­ly joined the Se­cond Pres­by­ter­i­an Church in Bal­ti­more, Mar­y­land, and be­came pres­i­dent of the Pres­by­ter­i­an Board of Pub­li­ca­tions and Sab­bath-School Work.  In 1915, he ed­it­ed the Pres­by­ter­i­an song book, Al­le­lu­ia, published in 1915.  Sheppard died on Feb­ru­a­ry 15, 1930,  in Phil­a­del­phia,.

( Source: http://nethymnal.org/htm/t/i/tismyfw.htm)


Places of inspiraton for the two hymns:

A view of the Markree Castle grounds

Markree Castle, the likely place of inspiration for “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, is located in Collooney, County Sligo, Ireland and is the ancestral seat of the Cooper family, partially moated by the River Unshin.  According to some sources, Cecil F. Alexander wrote her famous hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful, while a guest at Markree in 1848.

In 1830, Col. Edward Joshua Cooper MP (1798-1863) eldest son of Edward Synge Cooper MP, and Ann, daughter of Henry Vansittart, Governor of Bengal, set up Markree Observatory in the castle grounds. For a number of years Cooper’s telescope was the largest in the world.

“The Observatory of Mr Cooper of Markree Castle was undoubtedly the most richly furnished private observatory known and was worked by Mr Cooper himself and by his very able assistant, Mr Andrew Graham.” (Royal Astronomical Society, 1851)

The observatory remained active until the death of Edward Henry Cooper MP in 1902.

The castle, as it exists today, dates from 1802, with exterior changes by the architect Francis Johnston and with some changes made, mainly to the interior, in 1896.  Today, Markree Castle operates as a hotel run by Charles and Mary Cooper, the 10th generation of the family to live there.
The 300-acre (1.2 km2) estate holds an array of wild life; from red squirrels, to otters, to kingfishers.

Pasture land with the Niagara Escarpement in the background

The Niagara Escarpment, the place of inspiration for “This is My Father’s World”,  is the most prominent of several escarpments formed in the bedrock of the Great Lakes basin. From its easternmost point near Watertown, New York, the escarpment shapes in part the individual basins and landforms of Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Michigan. In Rochester, New York, there are three waterfalls over the escarpment where the Genesee River flows through the city. The escarpment then runs westward to the Niagara River, forming a deep gorge north of Niagara Falls, which itself cascades over the escarpment. In southern Ontario, the escarpment spans the Niagara Peninsula, closely following the Lake Ontario shore through the cities of St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Dundas, where it takes a sharp turn north in the town of Milton toward Georgian Bay. It then follows the Georgian Bay shore northwestwards to form the spine of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island, as well as several smaller islands located in northern Lake Huron, where it turns westwards into the Upper Peninsula of northern Michigan, south of Sault Ste. Marie. It then extends southwards into Wisconsin, following the Door Peninsula through the Bayshore Blufflands, and then more inland from the western coast of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee, ending northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

(Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Escarpment )

The Niagara Escarpment stretches 450 miles from Wisconsin through Canada to Rochester and is most famous for Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge.  Its unique rock formations, shaped by sedimentary deposits and erosion, result in ecosystems that vary from deciduous maple forests and oak-hickory forests, to wetlands with cottonwoods and willows, to streams and waterfalls overlooked by cliff faces.

(from Western New York Land Conservancy website  http://www.wnylc.org/enews_files/enews106.html )

Lockport, where Maltbie Babcok lived when he took walks along the escarpment and was inspired to write the poem, “My Father’s World”, is a city  in Niagara County, in the Buffalo-Cheektowaga metro area.  It is the county seat.  The community  was named for the Erie Canal locks still in evidence here.



(A)  All Things Bright and Beautiful

You can view the entire book of poems by Cecil Frances Alexander, entitled “Hymns for Little Children,” in which the poem that became the hymn lyrics for “All Things Bright and Beautiful” was first printed, at this link:  http://archive.org/details/hymnsforlittlech00alex

Note:  Select the “Read Online” option.  You can turn pages using the arrows at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  “All Things Bright and Beautiful” can be found on pages 27 and 28, pictured below, along with the inside title page.

This is a photo of the inside cover page of “Hymns for Little Children,” in which “All Things Bright and Beautiful” was first published.


(B)  This is my Father’s World

The spoken words, poems, letters, sermons, and other writings of Maltbie Davenport Babcock, which include the poem “My Father’s World” (later serving as the hymn lyrics for “This is My Father’s World”), were collected, edited, and printed in 1902 in the book Thoughts for Every-day Living.   Babcock’s widow, Katherine Tallman Babcock, who compiled the volume, wrote that it was “printed in loving memory of one who lived what he taught.”

The inside title page of the book is below, as are pages 180 and 181, which contain the first 11 stanza’s of Babcock’s poem, “My Father’s World”.  Unfortunately, there was an error made in the photocopying of page 182, which contains the remaining stanzas.  The page is twisted, making the words unreadable.  You can access the book online in its entirety at http://archive.org/details/thoughtsforever00babcgoog

Note:  Select the “Read Online” option.  You can turn pages using the arrows at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  “All Things Bright and Beautiful” can be found on pages 27 and 28, pictured below, along with the inside title page.


(C)  The book, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, written by James Herriot, which was made into a movie and TV series, is still available on Amazon.  Herriot borrowed lines from the poem as titles to his books about a veterinarian in Yorkshire.  Here is the description of this particular book:

“The world’s most beloved animal doctor delightfully continues where he left off in All Creatures Great and Small with new adventures through the Yorkshire dales– and a whole new menagerie of memorable patients.
Young James, now married and working as a small-town vet, encounters a cast of extraordinary characters as he makes his way through the Yorkshire countryside tending to sick cattle, pregnant ewes, ailing dogs– and their eccentric owners. As always, Herriot’s warmth, humor, and singular view of life make us laugh and cry, as we marvel at the everyday miracles he creates.”
Here is the link to the Amazon listing for this book.   http://www.amazon.com/Things-Bright-Beautiful-James-Herriot/dp/0312966199


This post was written and compiled by C. Boyd


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