The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The King of Kings

Words: Miss Geneviève Irons

Music: Rev. R. F. Smith
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, Complete Edition, 1894), Carol #121

1. The King of kings His Royal Court is keeping
In yonder stall where ox and ass are fed;
While earthly kings in palaces lie sleeping,
On coarsest straw th'Almighty makes His bed.

2. No purple here is seen, no pomp of splendour,
Rude swaddling bands enfold each sacred Limb,
Yet shepherds knee, their silent praise to render,
And Seraphs wondering, chant their carol-hymn,

3. The gentle stars in solemn courses wending,
Throw their soft lustre o'er the manger-shed,
With Jesus' sleeping smile their radiance blending,
Till one bright halo circles round His Head.

4. Angels with folded wing, and breath abated,
Gaze trembling upon that Little One,
Must on their God's Great Glory Incarnated,
And worship Jesus, God and Mary's Son.

5. Earth does not heed, though Heaven itself rejoices,
While myriads swell the "Gloria" sung on High,
No echo can they find 'mid earthly voices,
Save Mary, singing her sweet lullaby; --

6. Mary, and those who love with her to ponder
On mysteries half-seen, yet half-concealed,
Longing to know -- yet willing still to wonder,
Waiting in faith, till all shall be revealed.

7. Such souls alone can contemplate the Glory,
Which, darkling, breaks upon their eager sight,
True hearts which own the Incarnation story,
Need to ask no greater sigh, -- no clearer light.

8. They must in Faith, -- and He in Mercy shineth,
They gaze in silence, -- and the darkness flies;
"Emmanuel" on Mary's heart reclineth,
He sleeps, -- He wakes, -- Behold the Day-Star rise!

Note from Chope:

When, as in verses 4, 5, and 6, the first syllable is accented, the first crotchet should be omitted, and the voices come in on the first beat of the bar. A little care in the division of syllables will make every line run smoothly. See Edition E or F.

Sheet Music from Chope

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