The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

There Came Three Kings

Alternate Title: There Came Three Kings From Eastern Land

For Christmas

Words: Es führt' drei Könige Gottes Hand

Music from Köln Gesangbuch, 1623
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer

Source: Carol #470, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

1. There came three kings from eastern land,
Star-led by God's Almighty hand,
To Christward thro' Hierusalem,
Unto the crib at Bethlehem.
     God, thither to our footsteps guide,
     To serve that Babe at every tide.

2. Within the star, so great and sheen,
A golden crowned Child is seen;
His sceptre was a cross of gold.
His face like sunlight to behold.
     God, ever now to man below
     Light from you blissful star bestow.

3. From Morning-land, in haste the while,
They journey many a hundred mile:
O'er hill and dale, in frost and snow,
By land, by water, on they go.
     God, may the roadway never be
     Too rough and hard that leads to Thee.

4. Why, Herod, honour so the kings?
Their minds are set on other things:
Forth from the stately court in speed
They to the lowly crib proceed.
     God, see we never swerve aside,
     But keep Thy path, whate'er betide.

5. No sooner come within the stall
Then down upon the knee they fall,
And offer Him, in order meet,
Gold, myrrh, and incense passing sweet.
     God, take our gifts, or great or small,
     Heart, soul, life, limb, name, substance - all.

6. By frankincense the three proclaim
That God Almighty is His Name;
Myrrh to the Son of Man they bring,
But gold in token of the King.
     God, keep us steadfast in this creed,
     From heresy and schism freed.

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Sheet Music from Charles L. Hutchins

There_Came_Three_Kings_470.gif (161523 bytes)

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1902, Revised And Enlarged Edition, 1929), Carol #20
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Also found in G. R. Woodward, ed., The Hymns and Carols for Christmas-tide (London: H. Grice, 1897), Carol #27, pp. 35-36. There was an extra verse at the end of the carol in this version:

Our Lady fain her guests did greet,
E'en bade them kiss her Infant sweet:
Viaticum, I wot full well,
To guide them home, o'er frith and fell.
     God, when the vale of death we tread,
     Give us that day this heavenly Bread.

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