Hark! The herald angels sing, or Hark, how all the welkin rings,
Glory to the newborn King; or Glory to the King of kings
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! or Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
This verse is largely forgotten
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Written by Charles Wesley in 1739. The original tune was a slow solemn one and the hymn was not particularly popular. Whitefield changed the first line from how the welkin rings, to hark the herald angels sing. This was a better understood expression. The tune we sing this hymn to today, came from Felix Mendelssohn who wrote music to help celebrate the 400 yr anniversary of the Gutenberg press. A section of that music was adopted for Hark the Herald Angel's Sing. This upbeat tune has made Hark the Herald Angels Sing the popular Christmas song that it is today.
Originally this hymn was 10 verses of four lines each, but this was changed to verses with 8 lines. Wesley wasn't happy with the changes Whitefield made, and Mendelsohn didn't want his tune used for religious music. but none the less.. a much loved Christmas hymn was created. :)
A moment in History.
Woodland Prairie Christmas Unit Study.
Powerline Productions: Colonial Christmas.