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Hark! the herald angels sing

Hark! the herald angels sing. Charles Wesley* (1707-1788). First published in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739) as one of five hymns in the same metre (77.77) for the great festivals of the Christian year, entitled ‘Hymn for Christmas Day’. It had ten 4-line verses, beginning ‘Hark, how all the welkin rings/ ‘Glory to the King of kings’ [with a misprint, ‘Kings of kings’ in line 2; see Example 1].   Example 1: Hymns and sacred poems. Published by John Wesley, M. A. Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford; and Charles Wesley, M. A. Student of Christ-Church,... (London, 1739).   There have been many alterations to the words, most famously to the first line. That change dates from George Whitefield*’s...

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