1 Come, thou Almighty King,
help us thy name to sing,
help us to praise.
Father, all glorious,
o'er all victorious,
come and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.
2 Come, thou Incarnate Word,
gird on thy mighty sword,
scatter thy foes.
Let thine almighty aid
our sure defense be made,
our souls on thee be stayed;
thy wonders show.
3 Come, Holy Comforter,
thy sacred witness bear
in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art,
now rule in ev'ry heart,
and ne'er from us depart,
Spirit of power.
4 To the great One in Three
eternal praises be,
His sov'reign majesty
may we in glory see,
and to eternity
love and adore.
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #212
|First Line:||Come, Thou Almighty King, Help us Thy name to sing|
|Title:||Come, Thou Almighty King|
|Source:||English, before 1760; Source unknown, c. 1757, alt.|
|Copyright:||Public Domain; Public Domain|
st.3 = John 15:26
The anonymous text dates from before 1757, when it was published in a leaflet and bound into the 1757 edition of George Whitefield's Collection of Hymns for Social Worship. The text appears to be patterned after the British national anthem, "God Save the King." Filled with names for members of the Godhead, this song exhibits a common trinitarian structure, addressing God the Father (st. 1), God the Son (st. 2), and God the Holy Spirit (st. 3), concluding with a doxology to the Trinity (st. 4).
The text has often been attributed to Charles Wesley, since the leaflet also included a hymn text from his pen (“Jesus, Let Thy Pitying Eye"); however, "Come, Thou Almighty King" was never printed in any of the Wesley hymnals, and no other Wesley text is written in such an unusual mete
Beginning of worship; as a doxology (st.4)
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Come, Thou Almighty King. [Holy Trinity.] The earliest form in which this hymn is found is in 5 stanzas of 7 lines, with the title, "An Hymn to the Trinity," on a tract of four pages, together with stanzas 1, 2, 6, 10, 11, and 12, of C. Wesley's hymn on "The Backslider," beginning "Jesus, let Thy pitying eye," &c, thus making up a tract of two hymns. The date of this tract is unknown. It is bound up with the British Museum copy of the 6th ed. of G. Whitefield's Collection, 1757, and again with the copies in the same library of the 8th ed., 1759, and the 9th, 1760. In subsequent editions beginning with the 10th, 1761, both hymns were incorporated in the body of the book. M. Madan included it in the Appendix to his Collection in 1763, No. cxcv., and through this channel, together with the WhitefieldCollection, it has descended to modern hymnals. The loss of the titlepage (if any) of the above tract renders the question of its authorship one of some doubt. The first hymn in the tract is compiled, as indicated, from C. Wesley's hymn, "Jesus, let Thy pitying eye," which appeared in his Hymns & Sacred Poems, 1749, some eight years before the abridged form was given in G. Whitefield’s Collection. The hymn, "Come, Thou Almighty King," however, cannot be found in any known publication of C. Wesley, and the assigning of the authorahip to him is pure conjecture. Seeing that it is given, together with another hymn, at the end of some copies of the 6th, 8th and 9th ed. of Whitefield's Collection (1757, 1759 and 1760), and was subsequently em¬bodied in that Collection, the most probable conclusion is that both hymns were printed by Whitefield as additions to those editions of his collection, and that, as in the one case, the hymn is compiled from one by C. Wesley, so in this we have probably the reprint of the production of an author to us as yet unknown. Much stress has been laid on the fact that the late D. Sedgwick always maintained the authorship of C. Wesley, and that from his decision there was no appeal. The "S. MSS." show clearly that (1) Sedgwick's correspondence respecting this hymn was very extensive; (2) that he knew nothing of the British Museum copies noted above; (3) that he had no authority for his statement but his own private opinion Based on what he regarded as internal evidence alone; (4) and that all the Wesleyan authorities with whom he corresponded, both in G. Britain and America, were against him. His authority is, therefore, of no value. The evidence to the present time will admit of no individual signature. It is "Anon.”
The use of this hymn, both in Great Britain, the Colonies, and America, is very extensive. It has also been rendered into various languages. Original text, Lyra Britannica, 18G7, p. 656; Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, 1872.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
“His Sovereign majesty May we in glory see.”
“Come, Thou Almighty King” is an anonymous text that first appeared in print in a short pamphlet published by the Wesleys alongside one of Charles Wesley’s hymns. The British Museum contains a copy of this pamphlet bound with the 1757 edition of George Whitefield’s Collection of Hymns for Social Worship, as well as two later editions from 1759 and 1760. The fact that it appeared with Wesley’s hymn has led some to believe that Wesley wrote it, but this is doubtful. The hymn does not appear in any of the older Methodist hymnals, and Wesley never claimed it, nor did he write another hymn in the unusual meter of this one.
Similarities between “Come, Thou Almighty King” and the British national anthem “God Save the King” suggest that the hymn was written as a parody to that national anthem. There is a story that, during the American Revolution, some British soldiers surprised an American congregation on Long Island and ordered them to sing “God Save the King.” The Americans responded by singing the correct tune, but the words of “Come, Thou Almighty King.”
This text was written with five stanzas. The original second stanza, which addresses Jesus as our great military leader, is always omitted, but sometimes it is combined with the original third stanza. The four stanzas that remain contain other militaristic language, which is sometimes edited. Each of the first three stanzas is addressed to a member of the Trinity: God the Father (st. 1, fourth line), the Son (the “incarnate word,” opening line of st. 2), and the Holy Spirit (“holy comforter, opening line of st. 3). The fourth stanza concludes with a doxology to the Trinity.
This text was originally sung to the tune of the British national anthem (known now in the U.S. as AMERICA). In 1769, a new tune was written especially for this text for Martin Madan’s A Collection of Psalm-Tunes never published before, a music book sold to benefit the Lock Hospital, a London charitable institution. One of the hospital’s patrons, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, had asked Felice de Giardini, a popular Italian composer living in London, to write a new tune for these words, and ITALIAN HYMN was the result. Madan, the hospital’s chaplain, included the tune in his collection, and it became popular.
ITALIAN HYMN is so named because its composer was an Italian living in England. It is also known as MOSCOW, after the city where Giardini died, or TRINITY, after the theme of the hymn. Other uncommon names include FAIRFORD, FLORENCE, GIARDINI'S, or HERMAN.
For general use, this hymn is suitable for the opening of worship, or as a doxology. A couple of Sundays where it is especially appropriate are Trinity Sunday and Pentecost (with the focus on stanza 4).
“Come, Thou Almighty King” for handbells by Kevin McChesney has an interesting rhythmic underpinning all the way through. Victor Johnson has written a majestic concertato setting of “Come, Thou Almighty King” for choir, congregation, and organ, with optional brass, timpani, and handbell parts. Another setting of “Come, Thou Almighty King” by Michael Burkhardt alternates between the fully orchestrated use of the popular tune ITALIAN HYMN and an a capella rendering of the lesser-known tune NEW HAVEN. Lloyd Larson’s piano suite “Jesus Shall Reign” contains a classical prelude setting of ITALIAN HYMN.
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org