The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Three Kings From Persian Lands Afar

Words: Die Könige, Peter Cornelius (1824-74), 1859, Weihnachtslieder, 1871 trans. H. N. Bate
Compare: The Kings ("Three Kings had journey'd from lands afar")

Music: Peter Cornelius, arr. Sir Ivor Atkins

A very free translation of Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, Philipp Nicolai, 1597

1. Three Kings from Persian lands afar
To Jordan follow the pointing star:
And this the quest of the travellers three,
Where the new-born King of the Jews may be. 
Full royal gifts they bear for the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

How brightly shines the morning star!
With grace and truth from heaven afar
Our Jesse tree now bloweth. 

2. The star shines out with a steadfast ray;
The kings to Bethlehem make their way,
And there in worship they bend the knee,
As Mary’s child in her lap they see; 
Their royal gifts they show to the King; 
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

Of Jacob’s stem and David’s line,
For thee, my Bridegroom, King divine,
My soul with love o’erfloweth.

3. Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
The Kings are travelling, travel with them! 
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
Shall lead thy heart to its resting place. 
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
Offer thy heart to the infant King. 

Thy word, Jesu, Inly feeds us,
Rightly leads us, Life bestowing. 
Praise, O praise such love o’erflowing.

In some versions, the chorus is omitted.

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