The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hark! All Around The Welkin Rings

Version 2
Compare Hark! All Around The Welkin Rings - Version 1

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), pp. 122-123.

1. Hark! all around the welkin rings,
Bright Seraphs hail the morn,
That ushers in the King of Kings,
That saw a Saviour born.

Chorus:
Ye people on earth, your voices now raise,
To Christ our Redeemer, in carols of praise,
Hallelujah! praise the Lord, hallelujah!

2. Then shining heralds from on high
These joyful tidings bear,
With acclamations down the sky,
And humble shepherds hear;

3. "Glory to God, and peace to men,"
The heavenly choir did sing;
Let earth repeat the sound again,
And hail the new-born King.

4. This is the day our Lord did choose
To visit mortal man;
And from the bands of sin to loose
All those that trust in Him.

5. Lord Jesus, let thy kingdom spread
Through all the earth below;
Let every land thy wonders read,
And thy salvation know.

6. Hosanna! let all the earth and heaven
Salute the happy morn;
Today the promis'd child is given,
And God himself is born.

Sylvester's Note:

The use of the old Saxon word welkin, for heaven, or the sky, indicates the probable age of this piece. The term was occasionally used in poetry as late as the reign of Queen Anne.

 Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

Sylvester also reproduces a later revision of this same carol: Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity. London: John Camden Hotten, 1868:

This is a West of England carol. It was included by Davies Gilbert in the second edition of his collection of Ancient Christmas Carols (1823), and is still to be found on the common broadsides.

Sheet Music from Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1894), Carol #61
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Editor's Note

Also found in A Selection of Carols, Pieces, and Anthems, Suitable for Christmas. (London: W. Kent and Co.; Penzance: F. Rodda, ca. 1872), with a few changes indicated by verse and line; differences are italicized or by strike-through:

Chorus:
Ye people on earth, your voices now raise,
To Christ our Redeemer, in carols of praise.

2.2. The joyful tidings bear

4.3. And from the bonds of sin to loose

5.2. Through all the world below

5.3. Let land to land thy wonders read

6.1. Hosanna! let all the earth and heaven

6.4. And Christ himself is born

This hymn is distinguished from another well-known hymn with a similar title, Hark! All Around The Welkin Rings (1739) by Charles Wesley, which was eventually morphed by editors into Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

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Hark! All Around The Welkin Rings - Chope

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