Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=65856
39 messages

Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are

07 Jan 04 - 09:22 AM (#1087892)
Subject: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Sheila

Could someone please give me a definitive answer as to a word in the chorus of this carol? I've seen "Star of wonder, star of------- (light, night, might").   Thank you. Sheila


07 Jan 04 - 09:29 AM (#1087900)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Uncle_DaveO

Not an answer to Sheila's question, but the following comes back to me:

We three kings of Orry and Tarr....

Dave Oesterreich


07 Jan 04 - 11:58 AM (#1088006)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Raedwulf

Naaah! Surely it's:

We three Kings of Orient are,
One in a taxi, one in a car,
One on a scooter bibbin' 'is 'ooter
Followin' yonder star...


However, to be more or less boring, a quick Google turns up this, which hopefully answers Sheila's question.


07 Jan 04 - 12:07 PM (#1088014)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST

Sheila - yes.

Depending on the exact version you have - any of those words are correct.


07 Jan 04 - 12:09 PM (#1088017)
Subject: Lyr Add: KINGS OF ORIENT
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Sheila - here's the text from the Oxford Book of Carols. You can find a MIDI at hymnsite.com - but Hymnsite has "star of light," while the Oxford Book of Carols (OBC) has "night." OBC has some other differences from what I'm used to, but I think we can trust OBC as a legitimate source. The 1940 Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America has the same text, but the 1982 Hymnal has slight differences (but both say "night," while the Baptist hymnals say "light").
-Joe Offer-

Kings of Orient
Text & Music: John H. Hopkins, Jr., 1820-1891
Tune: KINGS OF ORIENT, Meter: 88.446 with Refrain

  1. We three kings of Orient are;
    Bearing gifts we traverse afar
    Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
    Following yonder star:
    Refrain:
    O star of wonder, star of night,
    Star with royal beauty bright,
    Westward leading, still proceeding,
    Guide us to thy perfect light.


  2. [Melchior] Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,
    Gold I bring to crown him again -
    King forever, ceasing never,
    Over us all to reign:
    (Refrain)

  3. [Caspar] Frankincense to offer have I;
    Incense owns a Deity nigh;
    Prayer and praising, all men raising,
    Worship him, God most high:
    (Refrain)

  4. [Balthazar] Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
    Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
    Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
    Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
    (Refrain)

  5. Glorious now, behold him arise,
    King, and God, and sacrifice!
    Heav'n sings Alleluya,
    Alleluya the earth replies:
    (Refrain)


Notes: This carol is one of the most successful modern examples. It was both written and composed (c. 1857) by Dr. J.H. Hopkins, Rector of Christ's Church, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, who died at Troy, New York, in 1891.


07 Jan 04 - 03:11 PM (#1088104)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST

Thanks all. I would assume the word is "night" in keeping with the rhyme scheme of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th lines of each verse. Funny, after all these years, I always sang "light" without thinking of it, or thinking that it was the same word as ending the 4th line.


07 Jan 04 - 03:11 PM (#1088105)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Joe Offer

Here's the entry in the 1940 Hymnal Companion:
    The text and tune of this Epiphany carol were both composed by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., in 1857, and first published in his Carols, Hymns, and Songs, 1863. It is given here without alteration of either text or harmonies. The composer has achieved the folk-song idion so completely that he has often been mistaken as the arranger only. The carol was adopted in the Hymnal of 1916, when a section devoted to carols was first introduced.


07 Jan 04 - 03:59 PM (#1088156)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Cool Beans

Bibbin his hooter?? That doens't sound like a safe thing to do on a scooter. But really, what does it mean? Inquiring Yanks want to know.


07 Jan 04 - 04:06 PM (#1088167)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: gnomad

Bibbin..etc, (bippin in the version I've come across) just means sounding the horn. We do do a few relatively normal things here, even in Hul9 and environs.


07 Jan 04 - 04:22 PM (#1088183)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST

of course some people sing "guide us to thy perfect sight" - so "Star of Light" would not be repeating oneself.


07 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM (#1088253)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: The Fooles Troupe

Of course, The Goon Show did the send up of the singers being gradually beingeliminated (three kings, two kings) and the last one singing "Noel" - does anyone know whether this was a Spike Milligan Creation or Adoption?

Robin


07 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM (#1088304)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Susan of DT

See the rubber cigar version in the DT


07 Jan 04 - 06:40 PM (#1088311)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Bat Goddess

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod hymnal from the '60s says "might."

(I think. At least that's how I remember it. The books waaaaaay up on the shelf . . .)


07 Jan 04 - 09:11 PM (#1088415)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Regina Phalangee

We three kings of Orient are
John in a taxi
Paul in a car
George on a scooter bibbin his hooter
Following Ringo Starr


08 Jan 04 - 12:40 AM (#1088476)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Long discussion at Hymns and Carols of Christmas We Three Kings

Kings of Orient is the original title, as given by Joe. Like Bat Goddess, I remember we always sang 'might' rather than 'night' in our school Christmas performances, thus it still 'seems' the best choice to me.

The New Oxford Book of Carols and 1916 Episcopal Hymnal give the order as Gaspard, Melchior and Balthazar. The Oxford Book of Carols (and others) give Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar.

The discussion says that without checking the original publication (Hopkins 1863, Carols, Hymns and Songs), no connection, if any, can be taken between the verses and the kings.


08 Jan 04 - 04:59 AM (#1088531)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Steve Parkes

For "bippin", read "pipping"; or if you prefer, "beeping".

Id have expected "light" to be more apposite for the star: after all, it was extemely bright. All stars are normally only visible at night ... but then, all stars give off light, I suppose. Pity we can't ask Hopkins what he had in mind when he wrote it: maybe he had a better idea, but couldn't rhyme it!

Steve


08 Jan 04 - 07:17 AM (#1088592)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST

We four lads of Liverpool are
Paul in a taxi
John in a car
George on a scooter beeping his hooter
Following Ringo Starr.


08 Jan 04 - 10:56 AM (#1088690)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Nigel Parsons

"We three men in Trafalgar Square
Selling nickers at threepence(pronounced 'thruppence') a pair
So fantasic, no elastic.
Come and buy a pair"


From school Circa 1961


Nigel


08 Jan 04 - 11:04 AM (#1088695)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: SINSULL

For those who won't:
We three kings of Orient far
Tried to smoke a rubber cigar.
It was loaded
It exploded
God rest ye merry gentlemen...


08 Jan 04 - 11:29 AM (#1088709)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: PoppaGator

Instead of "God rest ye merry gentlemen," I remember going straight fom "it exploded" to "We TWO Kings of Orient are..." and then cracking up laughing.

Couldn't go much further anyway -- "We One King" wouldn't make any sense at all, changing "are" to "am" would screw up the rhyme sceme, etc.

(I was writing a post similar to this yesterday when I lost connection to Mudcat.)


08 Jan 04 - 11:31 AM (#1088711)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST

I one King of Orient am
trying to smoke a rubber kazam
it was loaded
it exploded...


"Si-i-i-lent Night..."


08 Jan 04 - 11:52 AM (#1088722)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge

I `ad those Three Kings in my cab once. They`d all been shopping up in Oxford Street. I asked `em what they`d got and they says gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus. I said "Dunno what `ed do with that lot. `ed be far better off with a pack of nappies and a Babygrow!"


08 Jan 04 - 06:04 PM (#1088989)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Raedwulf

"We one King of Orient am" works - never heard of the Royal We?

The important question, though, is - what happens to the two that reduces them to one? Only we've got a complete song if that can be determined...


08 Jan 04 - 10:36 PM (#1089164)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Sheila

I regret that this thread has turned into a comical vein. My query was sincere and I'm sad to note the turn it has taken. My sense of humor, I'm afraid, goes in other directions. Thanks to you who helped me out in the early messages. Sheila


08 Jan 04 - 11:42 PM (#1089187)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Arkie

Sheila, don't take offense. Some folks come to Mudcat to get information, some to provide help when they can, and some just to play. Sometimes they manage to do all three.


09 Jan 04 - 03:11 AM (#1089241)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: fat B****rd

Great carol, I prefer the Roland Kirk version.


09 Jan 04 - 06:54 AM (#1089309)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: The Fooles Troupe

Yes, some make us laugh at the display of their wit, and others only make it half way...


09 Jan 04 - 01:20 PM (#1089533)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

We three kings and Foolstroupe's post caused me to look up 'half' in "The Devil's Dictionary," where Bierce tells of the theologists who argued as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves.


09 Jan 04 - 01:29 PM (#1089536)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: PoppaGator

Sheila, sorry. I hope the thtread included all the info you wanted in addition to all the sillness.

Raedwulf: You're right about the royal "We," I suppose. What happened to the absent kings? Eliminated by exploding rubber cigars, of course!

fat B*****d, amen to you re: Roland Kirk's version. Was lucky enough to hear it on the radio at least twice last month.


09 Jan 04 - 01:33 PM (#1089538)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,MMario

Sheila - please don't be offended - just as in face to face conversations A question was asked - an answer was given which certaininly seems knowledgeable and worthy; and the conversation then turned to other subjects.


09 Jan 04 - 06:19 PM (#1089704)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Raedwulf

Sheila - I'm pretty sure you got a good answer. I know, beneath the silliness, I gave you the best answer I could find. As for the rest, well, this is Mudcat & you'd best come equipped with a sense of humour (especially if it's a serious question!)

Right. Having got the serious out of the way... Where's the verse that starts "We two Kings of Orient are..." - I need this, I kid you not!!


09 Jan 04 - 11:36 PM (#1089797)
Subject: RE: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

From university I remember the start of a parody:
We three kings of orient are
Servicing maids we travel afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Practicing droit de seigneur.


11 Nov 16 - 04:50 AM (#3819801)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Raedwulf

Thirteen years dead, but what the heck... The subject of the first carol you can remember cropped up in discussion with friends, and I had to confess that the first one I can recall was the "bibbin'" parody I gave at the top. However, that led to Rubber Cigars & about 20 seconds of (no doubt not entirely sane) thought, and answering my own long ago question, in keeping with the Official version, I offer you...

We Three Kings of Orient are,
Tried to smoke a rubber cigar
It was loaded
It exploded...

We Two Kings of Orient now,
Hid behind a nearby cow
It was loaded
It exploded...

We One King of Orient am,
Looked suspiciously at the lamb
It was loaded
It exploded...

God rest ye merry gentleman
Or
Silent night...

As you prefer! I'm sure others here can do better... ;-)


11 Nov 16 - 09:46 AM (#3819852)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Senoufou

We always sing "Star of night" in church. (Church of England)
I just love it, as our organist is brilliant, and pulls out all the stops for the last verse. Makes the whole (12th Century) church vibrate!

In Norwich UK, according to our young neighbour, the children still sing

"We three kings of Anglia Square
Selling ladies' underwear.
They're fantastic, no elastic.
Seventy pence a pair."


11 Nov 16 - 06:23 PM (#3819973)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Joe_F

N.B. There is no authority, scriptural or other, for believing that the Magi were three, or kings. Three is a convenient number (one per gift) if you are drawing a picture or writing a song, and kings are a pleasant reminder that the baby is King of kings. The notes in my Bible, however, say the Magi were probably astrologers, and if you want to imagine a dozen of them, you are within your rights.


11 Nov 16 - 06:47 PM (#3819979)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

There's a nice "Far Side" cartoon of the fourth King being turned away for only bringing cake!


12 Nov 16 - 04:26 AM (#3820040)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: Iains

http://www.amiright.com/misheard/song/wethreekingsoforientare.shtml


12 Nov 16 - 06:02 AM (#3820053)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link

Quite right joe f . I have also heard the suggestion that they magi were influential men from Babylonia perhaps influenced themselves from Daniel and the Jewish community succeeding him which provided the expectation of the coming king from the scriptures. The idea of their being kings may come from Isaiah 60 v 3      And the Gentiles shall come to thy light , and kings to the brightness of thy rising                This would also fit with the supernatural perhaps star appearing in the east and guiding them somehow to Bethlehem


12 Nov 16 - 06:19 AM (#3820057)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Three Kings of Orient Are
From: GUEST,Senoufou

I watched a programme the other night which suggested that the 'three kings' represented the three different branches of Christianity, namely African, Eastern and European. This would explain why one of the wise men is often depicted as black. Their existence might therefore be merely allegorical.