Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Words by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn Felix Mendelssohn composed The energetic tune to which we now sing “Hark!

Words by Charles Wesley,

music by Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn composed The energetic tune to which we now sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” in 1840 as part of a cantata commemorating printer Johann Gutenberg. Fifteen years later, an English musician, W. H. Cummings, applied Mendelssohn’s musical phrases to a hymn written in 1739 by Charles Wesley. (“Hark, how all the welkin [heaven] rings” was how Wesley wrote the line; fortunately, a colleague substituted the opening line we know and sing today.) The devout Wesley composed about 6,500 hymns in the course of his life. He and his equally devout brother, John, who founded Methodism in England, might have been dismayed by the sprightly character of the music, but their text would have pleased Mendelssohn, who always felt that his tune deserved a “merry subject.”

Click here to listen to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled.”

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies.

With the angelic host proclaim,

“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored;

Christ the everlasting Lord!

Late in time behold Him come,

Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see.

Hail the incarnate Deity.

Pleased as man with man to dwell,

Jesus, our Emmanuel!

Hark! The herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled.”

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies.

With the angelic host proclaim,

“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings,

Ris’n with healing in His wings.

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.

Hark! The herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled.”

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies.

With the angelic host proclaim,

“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Popular Videos