The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hark! Hark! – The Notes of Joy

For Christmas Eve

Words: Andrew Reed, 1817.

Music: "Darwall's 148th;" “Grove;” “Portsmouth New;” "Warsaw" by Thomas Clark.

Meter: 66 66 88

Source: Andrew Reed, The Hymn Book Prepared from Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns (London: Ward and Co., 1842), #552, pp. 434-435.

Originally published in Andrew Reed, A Supplement to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns: Selected from the Best Authors, with Some Originals (G.H. Huttmann, 1817).

1. Hark! hark! the notes of joy
Roll o'er the heavenly plains,
And seraphs find employ
For their sublimest strains.
Some new delight in heaven is known,
Loud ring the harps around the throne.

2. Hark! hark! the sounds draw nigh;
The joyful hosts descend;
Jesus forsakes the sky,
To earth His footsteps bend:
He comes to bless our fallen race,
He comes with messages of grace.

3. Bear, bear the tidings round;
Let every mortal know
What love in God is found,
What pity He can show.
Ye winds that blow, ye waves that roll,
Bear the glad news from pole to pole.

4. Strike, strike the harps again,
To Great Emmanuel's name;
Arise, ye sons of men,
And all his grace proclaim.
Angels and men, wake every string;
Tis God the Savior's praise we sing.


Sheet Music "Croft's 148th" by W. Croft from Mary Palmer and John Farmer, eds., Church Sunday School Hymn-Book (London: Church of England Sunday-School Institute, 1892), #109.


Also found in:



From John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, 1907), pp. 953-954

Reed, Andrew, D.D., son of Andrew Reed, was born in London on Nov. 27, 1787, and educated for the Congregational Ministry at Hackney College, London. He was first the pastor of the New Road Chapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and then of the Wycliffe Chapel, which was built through his exertions in 1830. His degree was conferred by Yule College, America. He died Feb. 25, 1862.

As the founder of "The London Orphan Asylum," "The Asylum for Fatherless Children," “The Asylum for Idiots” "The Infant Orphan Asylum," and "The Hospital for Incurables," Dr. Reed is more fully known, and will be longer remembered than by his literary publications.

His Hymn Book was the growth of years. The preparation began in 1817, when he published a Supplement to Watts, in which were a few originals. This was enlarged in 1825; and entirely superseded by his collection The Hymn Book, prepared from Dr. Watts's Psalms & Hymns and Other Authors, with some Originals, in 1842 (Preface). His hymns, mostly of a plain and practical character, numbering 21, were contributed to these various editions, and were republished with those of his wife in the Wycliffe Supplement, 1872. The best known are "Ah Jesus, let me hear Thy voice” and ”Spirit Divine, attend our prayer." All Dr. and Mrs. Reed's hymns are anonymous in The Hymn Book, 1842, but are given with their names in the Wyclife Supplement, 1872. His hymns now in common use include, in addition to those annotated under their respective first lines :—

1. Come, let us strike our harps afresh. Praise.
Come, my Redeemer, come. Desiring Christ's Presence.
Gentle Saviour, look on me. Christ's protection Desired.
Gracious Lord, as Thou hast taught us. Public Worship.
Hark, hark, the notes of joy. Missions.
Holy Ghost, with light divine (1817). Prayer to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes given as "Holy Ghost, Thou light divine;" and again as "Holy Spirit, Light divine."
Listen, sinner, mercy hails you. Invitation. Generally given as "Hear, O Sinner, mercy hails you."
Rich are the joys of solitude. Retirement. Some-times given as "How deep and tranquil is the joy."
There [comes] is an hour when I must part. Death anticipated.
Ye saints your music bring. Praise of the Cross.

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