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Updated 01/08/2020


Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You

Henry Van Dyke (1852 – 1933) wrote the hymn, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You" while staying at the home of Harry A. Gar­field at Williams College, Massachusetts. Van Dyke attended Princeton University, and then served as pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Seventeen years later, he returned to Princeton as a professor of English literature. Afterward, he held a number of eminent posts: American ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg, moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, Commander of the Legion of Honor, and President of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He chaired the committee that compiled the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship in 1905, and helped prepare the revised in edition in 1932.

The music is the “Hymn to Joy,” from the 9th Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven; adapted by Edward Hodges. Hodges’ musical gift showed itself at an early age; by 1819, he was playing the organ at St. James’ Church in Bristol, and at St. Nicholas’, 1821-1838. He al­o had an interesting mechanical bent, and spurred several technical improvements in organ design. He composed a number of services and anthem pieces, and Cambridge University awarded him a doctorate in music in 1825.

Hodges eventually emigrated, accepting a post at the cathedral in Toronto, Canada, in 1838. The next year, he be­came music director at Trinity Parish in New York City. He became the organist at Trinity Church when it opened in 1846 (the church had its organ built to his specifications). He retired for health reasons in 1859, and returned to his native England in 1863.


Lyrics by Henry Van Dyke


Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.