Keeping the Hymns Close By

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Author – Matthew Bridges, 1800 – 1894, and Godfrey Thring, 1823 – 1903
Composer – Sir George J. Elvey, 1816 – 1893
Written  in 1851

…and on His head were many crowns…Revelation 19:12

“Crown Him with Many Crowns” is the combined effort of two English clergymen, each of whom desired to write a hymn of exaltation to our suffering but now victorious Lord. The original form of this hymn was written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges and consisted of six eight-line stanzas. He thought of this hymn as a sermon in song, based on Revelation 19:12,”…and on His head were many crowns.” He called his hymn, “The Song of the Seraphs.”

The original six stanzas mention six crowns: “Crown Him…the Lamb upon the throne” (stanza one) drawn from Revelation 22:1; “Crown Him the Virgin’s Son” (original stanza two); “Crown Him the Son of God” (original stanza three); “Crown Him the Lord of Love” (original stanza four); “Crown Him the Lord of Peace” (original stanza five); and “Crown Him the Lord of Years” (original stanza six).

Twenty-three years later a new version of the hymn with six stanzas was composed by Godfrey Thring. Godfrey published it in his collection Hymns and Sacred Lyrics (1874).”Crown Him with Many Crowns,” became a six-verse hymn that was written twice!

Over the years, these twelve stanzas have become intermingled in the hymnbooks, with editors mixing and matching the verses. Some hymnals combine a stanza of Thring’s text with three from Bridges’ original.

DIADEMATA (meaning “crowns”), is the tune that was written especially for this text by Sir George Elvey, a noted organist at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England where British royalty attend Easter Sunday service and royal occasions. It was published in the Appendix of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1868.

Here are the first lines of all twelve verses, the first six by Bridges, the last six by Thring:

Stanza 1:         Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne…
Stanza 2:         Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born…
Stanza 3:         Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side…            Stanza 4:         Crown Him the Lord of peace,. Whose power a scepter sways…
Stanza 5:         Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time…           Stanza 6:         Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, one with the Father known…
Stanza 7:         Crown Him with crowns of gold…
Stanza 8:         Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began…            Stanza 9:         Crown Him the Lord of light…
Stanza 10:       Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave…
Stanza 10:       Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave…
Stanza 11:       Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign…
Stanza 12:       Crown Him the Lord of heaven, enthroned in worlds above…

Taken from Then Sings My Soul Keepsake Edition  by Robert J. Morgan Copyright © 2011 Robert J. Morgan. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson

Used by permission from “History of Hymns” by Dr. C. Michael Hawn, Director of the Sacred Music Program and Distinguished Professor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Taken from Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions