The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

For Christmas Day

Version 2, Abridged

Luke 2:8-14

Words: Hark! How All The Welkin Rings, alt.,
Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739
Amended by
George Whitfield (1714-1770), 1753
Martin Madan (1726-1790), 1760
And Others

Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833),
Also found in William Sandys, Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music (London: John Russell Smith, 1852), pp. 278-9.

1. Hark! the Herald Angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King,
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinner reconcil'd.

Chorus
Hark! the Herald Angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King.

2. Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With the angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem. Chorus

3. Christ by highest Heaven ador'd,
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a Virgin's womb.1 Chorus

4. Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings. Chorus

5. 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. Chorus


Versions on this site include:

Also found in Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), pp. 118-119, who had these notes to the carol's text:

1. A broadside copy, printed at Hayle in Cornwall, gives another verse after this, but the lines appear to have been copied from some local hymn-book:

Veil'd in Flesh the Godhead he,
Hail th' incarnate Diety;
Pleas'd as man with man appear,
Jesus our Immanuel here.

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Deb sent an email which provided this option to the above verse, which she felt was a bit easier to fit to the tune:

Veil'd in Flesh the God-head, He,
Hail th' incarnate Diety;
Pleas'd as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Im-man-u-el. Chorus

Sylvester's note concerning the carol:

This carol possesses none of the elements of the old legendary carols, yet, as one of the oldest and most popular religious hymns, a place is accorded to it here. Each Christmas it is invariably presented to us, with other favorites, by the singers and chapmen.

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

Sylvester also has the older version of this same carol: Hark! All Around The Welkin Rings

Additional verses from The Hymnal. New York: James Pott & Co., 1889, #51, pp. 40-41:

4. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the Incarnate Deity,
Pleased as Man with man to dwell;
Jesus, Our Emmanuel!

5. 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.

6. Risen with healing in His wings,
Light and life to all He brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace.

Note that verses 4 and 5 have counterparts in Version 1 of this carol; verse 6 is new. There was no refrain in this version.

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