This series of song-a-week postings will conclude with Epiphany. And of course, the only music for this week is We Three Kings. Written in 1857, We Three Kings was one of the first home-grown, American Christmas hymns to find wide popularity. Its author and composer, John Henry Hopkins, Jr., was the head of music at the Episcopal Seminary in New York City. He composed the hymn for a Christmas pageant at the seminary, but for a number of years it was sung only in family gatherings, before its inclusion in a published collection in 1862. This carol is still popular during nativity plays, as it is one of the very few settings of this part of the story!
Star of wonder … still proceeding. Do we still follow?
Incense … prayer and praising. Is our worship never ceasing?
King and God and sacrifice. Is our desire to behold Him!
During these weeks of Epiphany may we pursue, and be guided to, the perfect Light.
We three kings of Orient are; Bearing gifts we traverse afar, Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light. Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain Gold I bring to crown Him again, King forever, ceasing never, Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I; Incense owns a Deity nigh; Prayer and praising, voices raising, Worshiping God on high. Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone cold tomb.
Glorious now behold Him arise; King and God and sacrifice; Alleluia!, Alleluia!, Rings through the earth and skies.