Hungarian National Crown This time around in my weekly series, “Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth” I’ve selected “Crown Him with Many Crowns, which dates to the mid/late nineteenth century. The lyrics are by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring with music by George Elvey. My recollection of this one is relatively simple… I don’t remember either liking or disliking it as a youngster, but I do remember singing it a lot. Whether it was someone’s favorite or whether my memory is playing tricks on me I couldn’t actually say. I do remember the organ seeming extra-loud by the end, and the last notes fading out just as we finished singing “Lord of All!”

The lyrics for this one actually have a bit of a story, and I suspect that others will recall different verses from it. What actually happened was that Bridges wrote and published the hymn in 1851 with six verses. In 1874, Thring feared the hymn had too much Roman Catholic theology and wrote six new verses for it. They were published separately, but over time, the twelve verses became intermingled in various hymnbooks, different editors apparently selecting different sets of verses, often three from each. Below, I quote both versions, with the verses (I think) I remember from my youth in bold… actually only four verses in total. It could be I don’t recall two of the verses in the hymnbook we used, or that the hymn-leader’s habit of announcing which verses we would sing and which we would omit for each song has occluded my memory of some of them.

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.

I like this last verse as a fitting end to the hymn… can you hear the organ fading in the background?

Share This

Share this post with your friends!