Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Representative Text

1 Jesus Christ is ris'n today, Alleluia!
our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

2 Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heav'nly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

3 But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
now above the sky He's King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Source: Hymns to the Living God #168


Jesus Christ is risen to-day. Easter. This version of the anonymous Latin hymn, "Surrexit Christus hodie," is first found in a scarce collection entitled:—
Lyra Davidica, or a Collection of Divine Songs and Hymns, partly new composed, partly translated from the High German and Latin Hymns; and set to easy and pleasant tunes. London: J. Walsh, 1708.
Of the history of this collection nothing is known, but the character of its contents may perhaps lead to the supposition that it was compiled by some Anglo-German of the pietist school of thought. The text in Lyra Davidica, 1708, p. 11, is as follows :—
"Jesus Christ is risen to day, Halle-Haile-lujah. Our triumphant Holyday Who so lately on the Cross Suffer'd to redeem our loss. “Hast ye females from your fright Take to Galilee your flight To his sad disciples say Jesus Christ is risen to day. “In our Paschal joy and feast Let the Lord of life be blest Let the Holy Trine be prais'd And thankful hearts to heaven be rais'd."
…The oldest Latin text known is that given by Mone, No. 143, from a Munich manuscript of the 14th century. This manuscript does not contain stanzas 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 (enclosed in brackets above). Of these stanza 6,11 are found in a Breslau manuscript, cir 1478; and stanzas 4, 8, 10 in the Speier Gesang-Buch (Roman Catholic), 1600…. The modern form of the hymn appears first in Arnold's Compleat Psalmodist, 2nd edition, pt. iv., 1749, where the first stanza of 1708 is alone retained, and stanzas 2 and 3 are replaced by new ones written without any reference to the original Latin. This recast is as follows:—
Jesus Christ is ris'n to-day. Hallelujah. Our triumphal holyday Who did once upon the Cross Suffer to redeem our Loss. "Hymns of praises let us sing Unto Christ our heavenly King Who endur'd the Cross and Grave Sinners to redeem and save. "But the pain that he endured Our Salvation has procured How above the Sky he's King Where the Angels ever sing."
Variations of this form are found in several collections. The following is in Kempthorne's Select Portions of Psalms, &c. 1810:—
Hymn lxxxii. "Benefits of Christ's Resurrection to sinners. "Rom. iv. 25. "For Easter Day. "Jesus Christ is ris'n to day; Now he gains triumphant sway; Who so lately on the cross Suffer'd to redeem our loss. Hallelujah. "Hymns of praises let us sing, Hymns to Christ our heav'nly King, Who endur'd both cross and grave, Sinners to redeem and save. Hallelujah. "But the pains, which he endur'd, Our salvation have procur'd; Now He reigns above the sky, Where the angels ever cry Hallelujah."
The next form is that which was given to it in the Supplement to Tate & Brady. This was added to the Supplement about 1816. This text is:—
”Jesus Christ is risen to-day, Our triumphant holy day; Who did once, upon the cross, Suffer to redeem our loss. Hallelujah, "Hymns of praise then let us sing Unto Christ our heavenly King: Who endur'd the cross and grave, Sinners to redeem and save. Hallelujah. “But the pains which He endur'd Our salvation hath procur'd: Now above the sky He's King, Where the angels ever sing. Hallelujah."
To this has been added by an unknown hand the following doxology:—
"Now be God the Father prais'd, With the Son from death uprais'd, And the Spirit, ever blest; One true God, by all confest. Hallelujah."
This doxology, from Schaff’s Christ in Song, 1870, p. 198, is in the Hymnal Companion and one or two other collections. Another doxology is sometimes given, as in Lord Selborne's Book of Praise, 1862, Taring's Collection, 1882, and others, as follows:—
"Sing we to our God above—Hallelujah! Praise eternal as His love; Hallelujah! Praise Him all ye heavenly host, Hallelujah! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Hallelujah! "
This is by C. Wesley. It appeared in the Wesley Hymns & Sacred Poems, 1740, p. 100; again in Gloria Patri, &c, or Hymns to the Trinity, 1746, and again in the Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. iii. p. 345. The above text from Tate and Brady's Supplement, cir. 1816, is that adopted by the leading hymn-books in all English-speaking countries, with in some cases the anonymous doxology, and in others with that by C. Wesley. It must be noted that this hymn sometimes begins:— “Christ the Lord, is risen to day Our triumphant holy day." This must be distinguished from:— "Christ the Lord, is risen to-day, Sons of men and angels say," by C. Wesley (p. 226, i.); and, "Christ the Lord, is risen to-day, Christians, haste your vows to pay:" a translation of "Victimae Paschali” (q. v.), by Miss Leeson; and, “Christ the Lord, is risen to-day, He is risen indeed:" by Mrs. Van Alstyne (q. v.). Another arrangement of "Jesus Christ is risen to-day " is given in T. Darling's Hymns, &c, 1887. This text is stanza i., ii., Tate & Brady Supplement, with a return in stanza i. lines 3, to the older reading; and stanzas iii., iv. by Mr. Darling. It may not be out of place to add, with reference to this hymn, that the tune to which it is set in Arnold, and to which it is still sung, is that published with it in Lyra Davidica. The tune is also anonymous, and was probably composed for the hymn. The ascription of it by some to Henry Carey is destitute of any foundation whatever, while Dr. Worgan, to whom it has been assigned by others, was not born until after the publication of Lyra Davidica. [George Arthur Crawford, M.A.] --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



EASTER HYMN originally appeared in the John Walsh collection Lyra Davidica (1708) as a rather florid tune. Tempered to its present version by John Arnold in his Compleat Psalmodist (1749), EASTER HYMN is now one of the best and most joyous Easter tunes. Composed by Paul Sjolund (b. Minneapolis, MN,…

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LLANFAIR is usually attributed to Welsh singer Robert Williams (b. Mynydd Ithel, Anglesey, Wales, 1781; d. Mynydd Ithel, 1821), whose manuscript, dated July 14, 1817, included the tune. Williams lived on the island of Anglesey. A basket weaver with great innate musical ability, Williams, who was bli…

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