We Three Kings of Orient Are, the Song and the Story

Reverand John Henry Hopkins Wrote The Quest of the Magi, the song better known as We Three Kings of Orient Are

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Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr. was an author, book illustrator, stained glass window designer, clergyman and editor of the New York Church Journal. He wrote We Three Kings for an 1857 Christmas pageant put on by the General Theological Seminary of New York City. In 1863, he also published the Christmas Carol in his book Carols, Hymns and Song.

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We Three Kings, also known as The Quest of the Magi is based on a story from the Bible, telling of men who traveled a long distance (most likely from Persia), guided by a star to see the child Jesus, the promised Messiah.

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And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-2)

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We Three Kings

O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light.

We three kings of Orient are bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star.


Born a king on Bethlehem's plain, Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I. Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising, Worship Him, God on high.

Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise, King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia! Sounds through the earth and skies.


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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen