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#38: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Felix Mendelssohn composed the tune to this song in 1840, but the original tune was a solemn one written by Charles Wesley at the inception of the carol one hundred years earlier in 1739. The lyrics have changed as well. The original lyrics by Wesley read “Hark, how all the welkin [heaven] rings,” but his colleague George Whitefield changed this line to the one we know today. Mendelssohn’s song was originally part of a cantata commemorating printer Johann Gutenberg. The music familiar to us was applied to the lyrics 15 years after Mendelssohn’s composition by W.H. Cummings, an English musician.

Lyrics

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the 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 the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son 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
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

2 Responses to “#38: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”

  • You have been given a great gift and you are giving a great gift. In a hectic holiday season, as I searched for something else – I found you. And what was chores and schedules and shopping and Santa Claus became once again a blessed time. There are no words to thank you sufficiently.

  • Justin Reeve:

    I appreciate that, Donna, and thank you. Sometimes it’s nice to just step back a minute and reflect on the true meaning of the season.

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