Twelve Days of Christmas Carols- Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

There’s quite the story behind “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  Originally written by Charles Wesley, this hymn was meant to be made up of ten stanzas, each with four lines.  Even more, it was originally intended to be sung to “Easter Hymn” (that’s the tune for “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”).  Just think of how long that would be, ten stanzas and four alleluias in each one!  To make it even more complicated, the famous opening lines (and thus the title!) used to be totally different.  Wesley wrote, “Hark, how all the welkin rings, ‘Glory to the King of kings.'”  George Whitefield, another famous Methodist and associate of the Wesleys, didn’t like those words, presumably because people had already forgotten what “welkin” meant, and so he changed them to what we have today.  This didn’t necessarily make sense on every level, particularly in light of the fact that “the Herald Angels” did not, in fact, sing “glory to the newborn king.”  Actually, they didn’t even sing at all! Continue reading