I’m sure you know the kind of song that just pops into your mind when you hear a few bars. Sometimes it’s one that ‘gets stuck in your head’ all day. This hymn, is one of those! But in all the best ways .
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!
The words of this song come easily to my mind whenever I hear the title. When I was a young child we learned this song in my elementary school music class and the words have stuck with me ever since. A bit of a cross between a patriotic song and a hymn, it was written by Baptist minister Samuel Francis Smith in 1832.
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This song is often considered America’s national hymn and is very well known. The words were reportedly written in thirty minutes, on a rainy day, while Smith was a student at Andover Theological Seminary. The United States was just over fifty years old and really emerging as the continental power. He wrote the song out of his desire to create a national hymn invoking national pride and asking God for his favor.
While the words were new, the melody was very popular at the time. It was most commonly known as the melody for a British song, “God Save the King”. However, it had also been used across Europe by some pretty well known composers, namely Beethoven and Haydn.
We’re doing our normal listening and copy work with this hymn. My daughter is also learning how to play this song on her violin as her ‘fun song’ for her current level of Practice Monkey’s Suzuki violin lessons. She is having a lot of fun and excited to learn such a familiar song. I hope to share a video of her performing the song in a few weeks but she wanted a bit more practice time before we videoed her work.
I also am excited to share with you that we are collaborating with Nana from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels who is doing a great painting to go along with this hymn tomorrow. To check out the art lesson from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels you need to be a You Are An Artist Clubhouse Member! This brand new lesson is a part of their Summer Art Camp and one of many courses that are included in the You Are An Artist Clubhouse membership.
Hymn Study Resources:
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Hymn Study Fact Sheet
My Country ‘Tis of Thee Copywork
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5 thoughts on “Hymn Study: My Country Tis of Thee”
So many of the hymns have interesting histories, don’t they? As a Canadian, I like to point out to folks at church that they have the words wrong to this one – it’s supposed to go . . . “God save our gracious queen . . .” LOL But seriously, I love Rev. Smith’s lyrics as well!
That made me laugh!
That’s cool that she is learning to play it on the violin! I remember learning to see this song in elementary school, too.
I love when we get to sing this in church. I really need to get better at hymn study, but I think that’s another season for now.