Kings Day

Here is one of my favorite hymns.  It’s for Epiphany (or Kings Day, as it is known in various parts of the world). Kings Day is the day commemorating the arrival of the magi-kings from the East and their adoration of the Christ Child. Kings Day always falls on Jan. 6, the day after the last day of Christmas, and in many cultures it is the day (rather than Christmas) on which children receive presents. As one of my South American friends tells me, children must leave grass and water outside their doors for the kings’ camels as they pass by.

The hymn below was written by Godfrey Thring, and it is set to the wonderful tune “King’s Weston.” The tune was made famous by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and it’s one of many available here, though regrettably not available on Youtube.

From the Eastern Mountains

From the eastern mountains, pressing on, they come,
Wise men in their wisdom, to His humble home;
Stirred by deep devotion, hasting from afar,
Ever journeying onward, guided by a star.

Refrain:
Light of life that shineth ere the worlds began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten every heart of man.

There their Lord and Savior meek and lowly lay,
Wondrous Light that led them onward on their way,
Ever now to lighten nations from afar,
As they journey homeward by that guiding star.

Light of life, etc.

Thou Who in a manger once hast lowly lain,
Who dost now in glory o’er all kingdoms reign,
Gather in the heathen who in lands afar
Ne’er have seen the brightness of Thy guiding star.

Light of life, etc.

Gather in the outcasts, all who’ve gone astray,
Throw Thy radiance o’er them, guide them on their way.
Those who never knew Thee, those who’ve wandered far,
Guide them by the brightness of Thy guiding star.

Light of life, etc.

Onward through the darkness of the lonely night,
Shining still before them with Thy kindly light.
Guide them, Jew and Gentile, homeward from afar,
Young and old together, by Thy guiding Star.

Light of life, etc.

Until every nation, whether bond or free,
’Neath Thy starlit banner, Jesus, follows Thee.
O’er the distant mountains to that heavenly home,
Where nor sin nor sorrow evermore shall come.

Light of life that shineth ere the worlds began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten every heart of man.

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About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love traditional poetry.
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