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Updated 12/27/2019


Angels from the Realms of Glory

"Angels from the Realms of Glory" was written by Scottish poet James Montgomery. Montgomery (November 4, 1771 – April 30, 1854) was a Scottish-born hymn writer, poet and editor. His writings reflected concern for humanitarian causes such as the abolition of slavery and the exploitation of child chimney sweeps. He was raised in and theologically trained by the Moravian Church.

The song was first printed in the Sheffield Iris on Christmas Eve 1816, though it only began to be sung in churches after its 1825 reprinting in the Montgomery collection The Christian Psalmist and in the Religious Tract Society's The Christmas Box or New Year's Gift.

Before 1928, the hymn was sung to a variety of tunes, including "Regent Square" by Henry Smart, "Lewes" by John Randall, and "Wildersmouth" or "Feniton Court" by Edward Hopkins. In the United States, "Regent Square" is the most common tune. In the United Kingdom, however, the hymn came to be sung to the French carol tune "Iris" (Les anges dans nos campagnes, the tune used for "Angels We Have Heard on High") after this setting was published in the Oxford Book of Carols. Sometimes the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" refrain is even sung in place of Montgomery's original lyric: "Come and worship Christ the new-born King".  


Lyrics by James Montgomery

  Angels, from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:

Refrain: Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light:

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star:
Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In his temple shall appear.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you—break your chains:

Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father's throne,
Gather all the nations to him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

All creation, join in praising
God the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising,
To th'eternal Three in One: