Scripture Verse

I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters, and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! For our Lord God almighty reigns. Revelation 19:6


Words: Au­thor un­known.

Music: Ita­li­an Hymn Fe­li­ce de Gi­ar­di­ni, in The Col­lect­ion of Psalm and Hymn Tunes Sung at the Cha­pel of the Lock Hos­pi­tal, 1769 (🔊 pdf nwc). De Gi­ar­di­ni wrote the mu­sic spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for this hymn.

Alternate Tune:

  • America The­saur­us Mu­sic­us, 1744 (🔊 pdf nwc)
Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Origin of the Hymn

This hymn is cre­dit­ed to Charles Wes­ley on ve­ry slight evi­dence that he is the au­thor.

While it has long been one of the most po­pu­lar and wide­ly used hymns among Am­eri­can Me­tho­dists, Eng­lish Me­tho­dists, strange­ly enough, have ne­ver giv­en it a place in any of their of­fi­cial hym­nals…It was wri­tten…to be sung to the fa­mil­iar tune to which God Save the King and My Coun­try, ’Tis of Thee are sung.

A brief his­to­ry of the cir­cum­stan­ces un­der which this na­tion­al hymn orig­in­at­ed will ex­plain why in all pro­ba­bi­li­ty the au­thor of this no­ble Chris­tian lyric…chose to re­main un­known.

The first two stan­zas of this na­tion­al an­them of Eng­land ap­peared as a song For Two Voic­es in a pub­li­ca­tion ti­tled Har­mon­ia Ang­li­ca­na, which, though not dat­ed, is sup­pos­ed to have been pub­lished in 1743 or 1744.

These stan­zas are al­so known to have been ex­is­tence in La­tin at that time and to have been used as a La­tin Cho­rus in a con­cert giv­en by the or­gan­ist of the Cha­pel Roy­al in 1743 or 1744.

On Sep­tem­ber 28, 1745, this now fa­mous Eng­lish song is known to have been sung in Dru­ry Lane Thea­ter, Lon­don, in hon­or of King George, and a few days lat­er at Co­vent Gar­den. At both plac­es it awak­ened tu­mul­tu­ous ap­plause.

The fol­low­ing month (Oc­tob­er, 1745), the mu­sic and words, as sung in both play­hous­es, were pub­lished in the Gen­tle­man’s Ma­ga­zine, with the third stan­za…add­ed.

It was thus caught up and sung by ev­ery­bo­dy, and in due course of time, by vir­tue of its wide­spread po­pu­la­ri­ty ra­ther than by any of­fi­cial ac­tion, it came to be rec­ogn­ized as the na­tion­al hymn of Eng­land.

Nutter, pp. 2–3


© 1992 Pat Marvenko Smith

Come, Thou al­migh­ty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise!
Father all glo­ri­ous,
O’er all vic­to­ri­ous,
Come and reign over us,
Ancient of Days!

Jesus, our Lord, arise,
Scatter our en­emies,
And make them fall;
Let Thine al­migh­ty aid
Our sure de­fense be made,
Our souls on Thee be stayed;
Lord, hear our call.

Come, Thou in­car­nate Word,
Gird on Thy migh­ty sword,
Our pray­er at­tend!
Come, and Thy peo­ple bless,
And give Thy Word success,
Spirit of ho­li­ness,
On us des­cend!

Come, ho­ly Com­fort­er,
Thy sac­red wit­ness bear
In this glad hour.
Thou who al­migh­ty art,
Now rule in ev­ery heart,
And ne’er from us de­part,
Spirit of pow­er!

To Thee, great One in Three,
Eternal prais­es be,
Hence, ev­er­more.
Thy so­ve­reign ma­jes­ty
May we in glo­ry see,
And to eter­ni­ty
Love and adore!