Friday, December 24, 2010

Poetry Friday: Hark how all the welkin rings

Two years ago I posted Charles Wesley's Christmas hymn, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." This year I found a more complete version, with the wonderful original opening line: "Hark, how all the welkin rings." Welkin is an old English word meaning heavens, or just sky. I wonder if anybody sang it this way this Christmas.

I am sad that some of these verses are never sung any more. For Haiti in 2011, I'm asking God, "Now display thy saving power, Ruin’d nature now restore."

For Christmas Day

by Charles Wesley

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconcil’d!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb!

Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleas’d as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Immanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen 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.

Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruin’d nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup, at A Year of Reading.


Janet said...

"Welkin." I love that. Thanks for posting this.

Merry Christmas, Ruth.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thank you for posting all these verses! My favorite one that is seldom sung is this:

"Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head."

Blessings on you and on Haiti in 2011!!

Mary Lee said...

I've heard the first 6, but not those last 4 verses. Thanks. I second your wish for Haiti. And now, whenever I look up, I'll know I'm looking to the welkin.

David Upton said...

We had an explanation of the same version, and were handed the words at our Boxing day Communion Service, with an explanation of the correct meaning of "Mild", which has also been changed in use since this hymn was written. Thank you for sharing this with us all. May the Lord give to Haiti the desires in your (and many others') heart.