Friday, July 10, 2020

My Country Tis of Thee -Postcard Friendship Friday #514

My Country ‘Tis of Thee is a patriotic hymn written in 1832,by Samuel F. Smith.  At the time he was a student at Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts.

Shockingly, the melody traveled around Europe in several variations, including “God Save the King.” Even Beethoven and Haydn used the music in some of their own compositions.

Samuel Smith loved America and he was driven to create a national hymn for the United States. One rainy day, he wrote the this anthem--it only took him 30 minutes! The first three verses encourage and invoke national pride, while the last verse was specifically reserved as a petition to God for His continued favor and protection of the United States of America.

The following are Samuel Smith’s original lyrics for “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”:
    My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside Let freedom ring! My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills, Like that above. Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees Sweet freedom's song; Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break, The sound prolong. Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom's holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.
This wonderful old hymn was first performed on July 4, 1832 at the Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Remarkably.  Five hundred Sunday school children sang the piece at a memorable Independence Day celebration.

Samuel F. Smith became a Baptist minister.  He was also a noted author, and journalist. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1801. He was later a student at Harvard and served as a translator for various foreign languages. He received his theological training at Andover Theological Seminary starting in 1830. He later married Mary White Smith and they had six children.

In addition to writing My Country 'Tis of Thee, Smith wrote over 150 other hymns. These hymns were compiled into a Baptist hymnal, The Psalmist.

Smith died on November 16, 1895.  I wish I could have met this talented man.

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, dear Friends.

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