The 12 verses of "Crown Him with Many Crowns"

  • Sep 16, 2009
  • Our church has been focusing on the hymn "Crown Him with Many Crowns" for the month of September. There is some interesting background connected to this hymn, including how there got to be 12 verses.

    The song was originally penned in 1851 by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), a former Anglican turned Catholic. Bridges wrote six stanzas, based upon Revelations 19:12, “...and on His head were many crowns.”

    Godfrey Thring (1823-1903) was a devout Anglican clergyman who was concerned that this popular hymn was allowing Catholic theology to be sung by protestant congregations. And so he wrote six new verses.

    The 12 stanzas have been mixed and matched down through the years. Interestingly, of the six verses most commonly appearing in hymnals today, three were written by Bridges and three by Thring.

    Crown Him with Many Crowns — Bridges (1851):

    Crown Him with many crowns,
    The Lamb upon His throne;
    Hark! how the heavenly anthems drowns
    All music but its own:
    Awake, my soul, and sing
    Of Him who died for thee,
    And hail Him as thy matchless King
    Through all eternity.

    Crown Him the Virgin’s Son!
    The God Incarnate born,—
    Whose arm those crimson trophies won
    Which now His brow adorn!
    Fruit of the mystic Rose
    As of that Rose the Stem:
    The Root, whence mercy ever flows,—
    The Babe of Bethlehem!

    Crown Him the Lord of peace!
    Whose power a scepter sways,
    From pole to pole,—that wars may cease,
    Absorbed in prayer and praise:
    His reign shall know no end,
    And round His pierced feet
    Fair flowers of paradise extend
    Their fragrance ever sweet.

    Crown Him the Lord of love!
    Behold His hands and side,—
    Rich wounds, yet visible above,
    In beauty glorified:
    No angel in the sky
    Can fully bear that sight,
    But downward bends his burning eye
    At mysteries so bright!

    Crown Him the Lord of years!
    The Potentate of time,—
    Creator of the rolling spheres,
    Ineffably sublime!
    Glassed in a sea of light,
    Where everlasting waves
    Reflect His throne,—the Infinite!
    Who lives,—and loves—and saves.

    Crown Him the Lord of heaven!
    One with the Father known,—
    And the blest Spirit, through Him given
    From yonder triune throne!
    All hail! Redeemer,—Hail!
    For Thou hast died for me;
    Thy praise shall never, never fail
    Throughout eternity!

    Crown Him with Many Crowns — Thring (1874):

    Crown Him with crowns of gold,
    All nations great and small,
    Crown Him, ye martyred saints of old,
    The Lamb once slain for all;
    The Lamb once slain for them
    Who bring their praises now,
    As jewels for the diadem
    That girds His sacred brow.

    Crown Him the Son of God
    Before the worlds began,
    And ye, who tread where He hath trod,
    Crown Him the Son of man;
    Who every grief hath known
    That wrings the human breast,
    And takes and bears them for His own,
    That all in Him may rest.

    Crown Him the Lord of light,
    Who o’er a darkened world
    In robes of glory infinite
    His fiery flag unfurled.
    And bore it raised on high,
    In heaven-in earth-beneath,
    To all the sign of victory
    O’er Satan, sin, and death.

    Crown Him the Lord of life
    Who triumphed o’er the grave,
    And rose victorious in the strife
    For those He came to save;
    His glories now we sing
    Who died, and rose on high.
    Who died, eternal life to bring
    And lives that death may die.

    Crown Him of lords the Lord,
    Who over all doth reign
    Who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
    For ransomed sinners slain,
    Now lives in realms of light,
    Where saints with angels sing
    Their songs before Him day and night,
    Their God, Redeemer, King.

    Crown Him the Lord of heaven,
    Enthroned in worlds above;
    Crown Him the King, to whom is given
    The wondrous name of Love,
    Crown Him with many crowns,
    As thrones before Him fall.
    Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns,
    For He is King of all.


    Anonymous said...

    Will we get to sing Bridges' second verse at Christmas?!

    Troy Friesen said...

    I definitely see the link to Christmas in this verse but the language is so coded and "mystic", to use one of it's own words, that I think it would be difficult for people to sing with understanding. I keep re-reading it myself and still am not sure I'm understanding all the symbolism and poetic language.

    Anonymous said...

    Hmm, now look at November's Hymn of the Month. Maybe we don't always sing what we fully understand, ?!

    Post a Comment