We Three Kings Of Orient Are - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

We Three Kings of Orient Are was written by an American clergyman, John Henry Hopkins Jr, and was first published in 1863.  Also known as the Quest of the Magi, it tells the story of the three kings' (or wise men's) journey to visit the baby Jesus.  Each brings his gift - Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh respectively.  I wonder what instrument it was first played on?  Perhaps the pipe Organ?  Anyway, it works a treat on guitar.  If the key I've presented it in doesn't work for you, just move your capo up the fretboard a little - for example, if you put your capo at the 5th fret, the song will shift into D minor.  Strum the chords lightly - I'd suggest using a light plectrum, and try to capture some of the lilting 6/8 rhythm.

Chords

Capo at 1st Fret

Verse

Am                          E7       Am

We three kings of Orient are

Am                        E7       Am
Bearing gifts we travel afar.

C                G               C               F
Fields and fountain, moor and mountain,

Dm            E7         Am
Following yonder star.



Chorus

G C                          F          C

O star of wonder, star of night,

C                         F           C
Star with royal beauty bright,

Am             G            F           G
Westward leading, still proceeding,

C                          F          C
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Lyrics

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we travel afar.
Fields and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

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

Born a babe on Bethlehem's plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again;
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.

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

Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.

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

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

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

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

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

Other Christmas Carols