Christmas Songs

By: Gail Cohen & Gilbert DeBenedetti

'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Gifted composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote the spirited musical undercurrent that propels the hymn "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." This melody was once part of a cantata that he had written in 1840 and dedicated to the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg.

In 1855, W. H. Cummings became convinced that the music deserved lyrics. He matched Mendelssohn's melody with words that had been written by Charles Wesley in 1739. Despite extensive editing of the song's first line, this hymn bore the trademark phraseology of Wesley, the renowned Methodist poet.


"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" Lyrics

1. Hark! The herald angels sing

Glory to the new born King

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled.

Joyful all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies,

With angelic host proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Hark! The herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King.

2. Christ by highest heaven 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 with men as man to dwell,

Jesus our Immanuel!

Hark ...

3. Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Life and light 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 ...

Christmas sheet music: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar -- the three Biblical wise men -- were given new musical recognition with the song on our next page, "We Three Kings of Orient Are."