Friday, 27 March 2015

"O Beautiful for Spacious Skies" Composer: Katharine Lee Bates, 1859-

Miss KATHARINE LEE BATES, professor of English Literature in Wellesley College, is the author of this hymn. She wrote it in 1893 while on a Western tour that brought her first to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The patriotic impressions made upon her mind by the wonderful White City she bore westward with her as she journeyed to Colorado; and when at last she stood on the summit of Pike's Peak and beheld the far-spreading panorama below and the spacious skies above, her soul was stirred by the thought of the greatness and the God-given destiny of America. These lines were set ringing in her heart, and into a noble poem she has woven the beauties of that mountain-top vision: 

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 

For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 

Each verse is crowned with a prayer that to the physical beauty of her native land God may add the highest moral beauty: 

America ! America ! 

God shed His grace on thee, 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 

From sea to shining sea ! 

Horatio Parker, one of the greatest of contemporary American composers, wrote the music, "America the Beautiful," to which this hymn is set; though it is frequently sung, and most effectively, to the tune "Materna" 


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