Who composed and wrote 'We Three Kings'?

Also known as 'We Three Kings of Orient are' the carol 'We Three Kings' was written and composed in 1857 for a New York Christmas pageant by John Henry Hopkins Jr., although it wasn't published until 1863 when it appeared in his Carols, Hymns, and Songs.


What is the story behind 'We Three Kings'?

The carol follows the story of the Three Wise Men (or Three Kings) as they travel to visit Jesus in Bethlehem and give him their three gifts of gold, frankincense and Myrrh. the three kings were also known collectively as Magi and individually as Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar.

The carol was designed for everyone to sing the first and fifth verse, while verses 2,3 and 4 would be sung solo by three different male voices to represent each of the three kings. However nowadays the solos are not usually observed and everyone sings the whole carol.

What are the lyrics to 'We Three Kings'?

1. 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.


2. Born a King on Bethlehem plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King for ever,
Ceasing never
Over us all to reign.
O Star, &c.


3. Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh:
Prayer and praising
All men raising,
Worship Him God on High.
O Star, &c.


4. Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;—
Sorrowing, sighing,
Bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
O Star, &c.


5. Glorious now behold Him arise,
King, and God, and Sacrifice;
Heav’n sings Hallelujah:
Hallelujah the earth replies.
O Star, &c.

Find more lyrics to your favourite Christmas carols hereTop image by Getty Images