Joy To The World

The lyrics of ‘Joy To The World’ were written by English minister and hymn-writer Isaac Watts. The text was first published in 1719 in Watts’ collection ‘The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.’

In the century after its debut, “Joy to the World” was printed with music several times, but none of these tunes were related to the one we use today.

The tune we know today has an interesting genesis. It was published at least four times in Britain around 1832–1833, entitled ‘Comfort’, and credited as ‘author unknown’. (The third phrase of the melody is similar to the opening strains of the second movement, ‘Comfort Ye’, of Handel’s Messiah – probably why the tune was called ‘Comfort’ and later associated with Handel.) The tune travelled across the Atlantic, where in 1836 the composer, music educator and banker Lowell Mason wrote a slightly amended version of it, gave it the title ‘Antioch’, credited it as “arranged from Handel” and paired it with the lyrics of “Joy to the World”. Thus, America’s most-published Christmas hymn was born.

Bainigí taitneamh as!

The original text:

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

In verse 2, line 2, I change ‘men’ to ‘us’. I leave out verse 3.

Leagan Gaeilge:

“Joy To The World — Hymnology Archive”. 2022. Hymnology Archive.

“Joy To The World – Wikipedia”. 2022. En.Wikipedia.Org.